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Stella Rimington, a former head of MI5, encourages the British to spy on their neighbours.

The Telegraph‘s head of books, Gaby Wood, spoke with Ms Rimington at the paper’s Hay Festival, where the spymaster’s latest novel The Geneva Trap is making its debut.

Rimington said:

The community has the responsibility to act as the eyes and ears, as they did during the war … where there were all these posters up saying the walls have ears and the enemy is everywhere … There have often been indications in the community, whether it’s Muslim or anywhere else, that people are becoming extremists and spouting hate phrases.

Most English men and women know how this would work. Suspected ‘far right wing’ sympathisers would be rounded up by the lorryload — anyone who supports England as a country. Everyone else? Never mind.

Funny, isn’t it, how we never had appeals like this when the IRA were active. These calls only came about when Labour were in power and sometime after the Millennium. A few Labour councils in northern England offered cash for information. Some of my drone-like colleagues at the time said they’d gladly shop a neighbour for £50 — the sum one of these councils was offering. I can well imagine they would have as they mentioned locals with whom they had grievances or merely disliked. Not a good policy for ‘social cohesion’ or liberty.

With all due respect to Ms Rimington, this is a slippery slope, one we’d be well advised to avoid.

People in East Germany say to this day that the Stasi — also left-wing — never really disappeared. Some are local councillors. Other are retired with active contacts in the police and local government.

As for drone strikes, Rimington had an interesting answer (emphasis mine):

Drones are a weapon of war and at the moment they’re being operated by security services.

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