Now then, you lot at the back who affect not to hear the crunch of the jackboot on the gravel drive outside your window, sit up and pay attention for once! For, as Edmund Burke wrote in 1777, ‘The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.’

Is it not enough that the UK is already far and away the country with the highest degree of CCTV surveillance by The State?

Is it not enough that, for the purpose of detecting relatively minor infractions of the law, The State plans to record your each and every car journey?

Is it not enough that the State plans to reduce the lives of each one of you to electronic code in a chip on a piece of plastic, a chip stuffed with information about your earnings, your health, your DNA, your credit-worthiness, your educational achievements, your marital status, your criminal record, your benefits, your address and the value of your home and every last detail of your existence?

Is it not enough that a Minister speaks with approval of a Judge’s demand that every Citizen of and every visitor to this land shall be forced to give his or her DNA to the State which will keep a record of it for ever?

Is it not enough that the State has given the right to thousands of Jobsworths to enter your home at will and without any sort of warrant?

Is it not enough that the State plans to send thousands of poorly trained inspectors into your homes so that they might decide if you have made improvements that have raised its value so that they might squeeze ever yet more money out of you in Council Tax?

Is it not enough that the State plans to place details of every child born within The Realm on a computer database, which will be updated with each and every detail of their lives as and when it happens?

Is it not enough that the Metropolitan Police have now decided that no march will be allowed “within one mile of Parliament” while MPs were in session?

Is it not enough that you may now be arrested simply for reading out the names of those who have died in Blair’s wars?

Then ponder this: from today the police, the security services, the tax authorities, 475 local councils, and a host of other organisations, including the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health, the Immigration Service, the Gaming Board and the Charity Commission will have the right to delve pretty well at will into the home and mobile telephone records of every British citizens and every business. By so doing The State will be able to track your every move, not just those made by motor vehicle but, through mobile telephone records, of each and every movement that you make on foot, whether that be to your Bank, to a public convenience, to a political meeting, to a brothel, to the pub, to a demonstration, to your mistress, to your solicitor or to your mother.

In due course, by 2009, the Government plans to extend the rules to cover internet use: the websites we have visited, the people we have emailed and telephone calls made over the net.

If you are wont to opine: “if you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear”, you will, of course, remain supine and do nothing.

If you think, in a moment of utter wilful blindness, that this is all about ‘law and order’ or ‘good administration’ or ‘catching tax dodgers’, then you too will remain supine and do nothing.

If, however, you think that, one day, a government less benign than the present bunch of control freaks who would order our every doing might come to power, then ponder for a moment what you might or ought to do. In this free world, it is for you to decide on these matters and for you to decide what course to take if you incline to the view that they are both un-British and sinister. But, whatever you decide, do something.

And ponder this:

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.

– Louis Brandeis