In amongst the principled arguments against excessive surveillance, we at Big Brother Watch have always mounted two additional, practical points: that all this surveillance often doesn't work, and it absorbs capital that might have been spent in other, more productive ways.
Both authoritarian opponents and purists on our own side have sometimes criticised us for this. But surely it's obvious that:
1) Not one aspect of our ubiquitous surveillance network, erected to watch all of us all the time, just in case, has done anything to protect Londoners in this, our hour of greatest need; and
2) In an environment in which only a finite pot of capital exists to spend on any given portfolio, that tremendously expensive network soaked up vast amounts of capital - at least some of which might have been spent on training more police officers to deal with these situations?
By Alex Deane