We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Inactive for now

Just to state the obvious, White Rose is inactive. This is due to a simple lack of time on the part of the main contributors. Work, life, other blogging… alas White Rose is currently a ‘blog too many’.

Quite possibly WR will be reactivated at some point in the future as Gawd knows the need for it has not gone away.

TTFN.

What is the Home Office up to now?

At first sight, this story is incomprehensible.

Secret terror courts considered

Special courts sitting in secret for pre-trial hearings in terror cases are being considered by the Home Office.

Forget the justice of the process–secret hearings with Home Office-selected advocates and judges–for a moment. What would the value of this be? If an actual trial must still take place under normal conditions, what’s wrong with normal committal proceedings, which rarely require much in the way of presentation of evidence?

There must be a prosecutorial advantage to be had, now or later, or the Home Office would not consider it. Is this a staging post to something more? A piece of impossible kite-flying for some bait-and-switch? Or is it a way to evade other procedural safeguards?

(A speculative example of the last: The Special Judge says there’s a case to answer. The accused is remanded in custody. A trial will take place when the prosecution is ready. Reporting restrictions are in place, to avoid prejudicing a future trial. But further evidence-gathering takes a very long time. In effect one has indeterminate imprisonment with a radically lowered burden of proof. There may be no opportunity to test the evidence. But there can be no public disquiet. No one will care, because next to no one will know–and those who do will be bound to secrecy.)

Up and down… and up again tomorrow

For those who have already visited White Rose earlier today and noticed that the article One for the heart, is missing. It was written for someone else and forwarded to me for information only. We hope to get it cleared with the publication for which it was originally destined and aim to re-post it tomorrow. Apologies to those who were inconvenienced.

The RFID Scanner

For those who have not yet noticed, there is a new blog set up by one of our illustrious contributors, Trevor Mendham – the RFID Scanner. I guess the name is self-explanatory. Please read the suberb summary and arguments about RFID in the sidebar…

Technical problem

We are having some problems with the White Rose comments system (as in “it is completely buggered up” sort of problem). This has been caused by the installation of some comment anti-spam defenses over on Samizdata.net, which shares server space and some system resources with White Rose.

We hope to have the comments up and running again soon. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Update: Fixed! The comments are now working fine once again

Welcome to White Rose

Welcome to White Rose, a protest blog collective which looks at the issue of personal freedom and privacy and their erosion in the UK.

Why another blog when Samizdata.net has been increasingly drawing attention to the undermining of individual freedom and privacy? The reason is in the differing objectives. Samizdata.net is about meta-context and changing the way people view their world.

White Rose is about bringing together people from across the political spectrum to oppose invasive government, with specific focus on civil liberties. Its aim is to stimulate debate, offer practical ways to oppose and resist measures that deny personal liberty and encourage practical alternatives to problems that do not abridge individual’s freedom.

During the last year and a half I have become more aware, and more concerned with the stealthy New Labour transformation of the country that I have come to respect and admire. Many qualities of venerable British institutions have been ‘reformed’ out of recognition and, in my opinion, certainly not for the better.

Another disturbing factor is the lack of awareness by the British public of the fundamental changes that their country has been undergoing and the dire consequences these will have on their lives and personal freedom.

Some of the changes originate within the successive governments’ toxic mixture of discredited ideologies and spineless disregard for truth and reality. New Labour, however, has perfected the ‘virtual reality politics’ where facts are spinned until they fit their world-view and policies. Other tectonic changes to the fabric of British society are coming from the EU and reinforced by the government’s drive to let EU engulf the UK.

There are worthy organisations such as Privacy International, Liberty, Statewatch and others, who have been campaigning for the protection of civil liberties and fighting the good fight on a daily basis. We bow to their expertise and presence in the mainstream media and do not intend to duplicate their labours. Nevertheless, we would like to offer them a higher soapbox on which to stand in the blogosphere.

Having been an editor and contributor to Samizdata.net for some time, I have experienced first hand the scope and power of the blogosphere. By power, I mean the blogosphere’s ability to spread ideas, concepts and generate debate. In Samizdataspeak – its meme distribution potential. Recently there have been examples of bloggers reaching into the ‘real world’ but however gratifying this may be, I would not want to base my expectations of White Rose’s success on them.

The idea is to harness the interest of those individuals in the blogosphere (both bloggers and their audiences) who are concerned about erosion of civil liberties by the state. Our objective, ambitious though it may be, is to create a platform and a resource that may eventually extend its reach well beyond the blogosphere.

The motivation is to rally the Anglo part of the blogosphere to chronicle what is happening in the UK and help us make our voices heard. Again, why did we not choose to do this on Samizdata.net? Because it has a particular character and personality, with clearly stated opinions, which may not be palatable to everyone. In fact, we know they are not. However, in this battle we need people from across the political spectrum who oppose the state’s heavy handed imposition on individual freedom. Please join us here on White Rose.

Contributing bloggers can either post here exclusively or cross-post, linking back to original articles on their blogs. That means you can blog as normal and there is no the dilemma of posting either to White Rose or your own blog… you can do both. If things go well, the extra exposure from White Rose could be considerable… The objective is to extend White Rose’s contributors’ reach beyond the blogosphere into the mainstream debate.

White Rose editors are God and God moves in mysterious ways. We welcome erudite and interesting contributions but would like to avoid rants, sweeping generalisations and unfounded statements. Please help us to make a good case against the government’s attempts to strengthen its hold over the civil society.

Contact: email Gabriel Syme at gabriel at samizdata dot net or Perry at pdeh at samizdata dot net.