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More Plans For UK Internet Snooping Bill Revealed In Queen's Speech

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the hidden-in-a-footnote dept.

Communications 114

TheGift73 writes "By far the most controversial bill discussed in the Queen's speech today has to be the 'Draft Communications Bill' which '...will allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, like texts and emails, flexible to changes in technology, such as the Internet. This will apply UK wide.' The Queen's Speech has set out the government's legislative plans for the next year." El Reg has the skinny on the CCDP related parts. From their article: "It's unclear if those 'strict safeguards' mean that a warrant, for example, would be needed before spooks could access such data. The rough proposal appeared to only fuzzily indicate that such protection for British citizens would be provided, however."

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Cameras (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941077)

I though they had enough cameras to see everything everyone sends or reads anyway?

Other strange note at the end of her speech... (5, Funny)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941083)

Near the end of the speech the queen also was heard to say "We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia."

Re:Other strange note at the end of her speech... (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941909)

This all sounds like bad news, but on the bright side there won't be any reduction in the chocolate ration this year.

Re:Other strange note at the end of her speech... (1)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942235)

What you mean, chocolate rations were never so big before!

Re:Other strange note at the end of her speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39942989)

i thought we were at war with oceania

Re:Other strange note at the end of her speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39944753)

Near the end of the speech the queen also was heard to say "We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia."

Are those the East Asians who settled in Normandy, tumbled over into England,
and became known as the Normans?

No, thats right, those were men from North!

A

Al Ked for jeres forbrydelse mod A?

Damn elderly. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941095)

They don't understand the internet, they shouldn't be making decisions about it. Can't we retire this queen, and get a new one?

Re:Damn elderly. (5, Informative)

Necroloth (1512791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941157)

The Queen is given the speech to read... she is merely stating the objectives of the current party (or coallition in this case). Got nothing to do with her net abilities or knowledge.

Re:Damn elderly. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39945475)

So you are saying that ther speach of Her Majesty starts like this:

"We are supposed to read this bullshit speach of My government tonight because We are not realy the Queen, We are government Bitch. In exchange for enslaving you even more, the government says I can keep a big chunk of the taxes of my subjects so I can buy this lovely blue hat I have seen on eBay, because that is only thing The Royal Head is good for..."

I am not British so i do not pretend to understand your fascination with royal family (to me it seems like their only purpose is to generate content of gossip yournals) and why you can not keep them in reasonable form like in Sweeden or Belgium.

Re:Damn elderly. (1)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941259)

Sure, which one do you think will do better, Camilla or Kate?

Re:Damn elderly. (4, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941813)

Sure, which one do you think will do better, Camilla or Kate?

How about electing a leader? The whole concept of kings and queens is a throwback to genetic memory, these people are no better at leading the country then the people who empty the bins in the street would be.

Re:Damn elderly. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39942143)

Sure, which one do you think will do better, Camilla or Kate?

How about electing a leader? The whole concept of kings and queens is a throwback to genetic memory, these people are no better at leading the country then the people who empty the bins in the street would be.

The UK already elects a leader - The Prime Minister (who runs the country). Head of State in the UK (the Queen, currently) is a mostly ceremonial role (minimal power that could be taken away by Parliament at any time) unlike the USA where the President has actual power.

Re:Damn elderly. (5, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942691)

The UK already elects a leader

No we don't. We elect MPs, not the leader.

The PM is chosen by the conservative party as they created a majority by forming a coalition - only 32% of the nation using the FPTP system elected the conservatives in to government.

This would make some of the most corrupt governments in the world happy to have such unfair systems. UK still uses it.

Re:Damn elderly. (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943247)

only 32% of the nation using the FPTP system elected the conservatives in to government.

Hrm... don't know if you noticed or not, but the Conservatives weren't elected into government. They also got 36% of the vote.

The 2005 election was more warped. Labour got 35% of the vote, and 55% of the seats. Nearly two third of the voters did not want Labour, and they formed a majority government.

If anyone's confused by this, it's essentially what happens when you have more than two parties and lots of places with first past the post elections. This [abehnisch.com] is a decent page to see some of the anomalies - that first graph is why the Lib Dems are pushing for electoral reform.

Re:Damn elderly. (2)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942521)

The UK is a backwards country when it comes to politics. No elected leader for the House of Commons, and we use First Past the Post (FPTP) to elect our Members of Parliament. Our second chamber, the House of Lords is no elected at all, but reform was included in the Queen's speech to have elected peers using Sing Transferable Vote (STV).

The House of Commons using FPTP and Lords STV is ridiculous. One chamber elected by the most worst and unfair voting system, the other by a fair proportional representation.

The Commons are totally autonomous to the Queen. The Queen has no powers when it comes to government.

Not as bad as Belgium politics though.

Senators of seniority are unelected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39943341)

Or, rather, it's not possible to get them out of the job after a while and you have to wait for them to die or stop trying.

The US president is not voted for, only candidates give up for voting on are put in, but then you have die-hard Reps and Dems who will vote for a dead stoat if it ran under the right banner.

The queen's sole power is the one to dissolve or accept the government.

She could have done that to the Labour party since even though some would automatically cry "no" because it's a monarchy doing it, so few voted FOR Labour that all she'd have to do is "Nope. Try again. And properly this time" and enough would feel it right that they'd accept it.

Re:Damn elderly. (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 2 years ago | (#39946141)

The Queen has no powers when it comes to government.

Bullshit.
Not only does she appoint and fire all the cabinet ministers (including the PM, whom she meets every wednesday at 6pm), there is also that little thing called:
Royal Prerogative
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Prerogative_in_the_United_Kingdom [wikipedia.org]

Re:Damn elderly. (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942767)

With posts like these it makes me wonder how we lived without internet back in the 1800s.

Damn Brits. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941417)

Arent you people just supposed to say "yes your highness", go do everything she just told you and STFU?

Re:Damn elderly. (2)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941769)

They don't understand the internet, they shouldn't be making decisions about it. Can't we retire this queen, and get a new one?

For French values of 'retire'.

Jolly good. (3, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941137)

It's always nice to see a Royal Monarch, decked in the spoils of war, complain about organized crime.
As above, so below.

Re:Jolly good. (1, Insightful)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941169)

You do know that she has no part in the writing of the speech or on its content? Her role is purely a ceremonial one.

Re:Jolly good. (5, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941261)

Well...

She has a weekly audience with the prime minister, and it's not known what's said behind those closed doors.

So, if you want to believe she keeps her role separate from politics, then there's no evidence to contradict that view.
But also, if you want to believe she takes a keen interest, and nudges the government to do what she wants, there's no evidence to contradict that either.

It is true that if a government gave her a speech she really didn't agree with, she'd be obliged by convention to read it -- or spark a constitutional crisis.

This will all become more interesting when Charles becomes king, since he's much more forthcoming about his own political views.

Re:Jolly good. (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942217)

"This will all become more interesting when Charles becomes king, since he's much more forthcoming about his own political views."

If and when Charles becomes king, I become a republican. I suspect I'm not alone.

Re:Jolly good. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942583)

Could be worse. Be thankful there are two monarchs-to-be keeping Harry away from the throne.

Re:Jolly good. (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942783)

He wears Nazi uniforms, sounds like he has character.

Re:Jolly good. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943313)

We do not discuss it with outsiders.

Re:Jolly good. (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942603)

Sounds like you're already a republican. The whole principle of monarchy is that the succession is decided by birth.

Re:Jolly good. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943569)

While true, there's a marked rise and fall in support for republicanism depending on how intelligent or stupid the monarch and likely monarch appear to be. For example, pretty much the only reason that Spain still has a king while Greece doesn't, is that the Spanish king won a lot of public approval by shepherding the transition away from Francoism, so was kept, while the Greek king hedged his bets and did nothing useful during the military dictatorship there, so got axed (though fortunately for him, not, as in previous eras, with a literal axe).

Re:Jolly good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39943233)

This will all become more interesting when Charles becomes king, since he's much more forthcoming about his own political views.

And really stupid.

Re:Jolly good. (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941711)

I think his point is that it's silly to have a ceremonial role, where the "ceremony" undermines or mocks the non-ceremonial part.

Imagine US Congress passing some new pro-civil rights legislation, and at a purely ceremonial press event, the new law were announced by a guy wearing a Gestapo uniform or KKK robe.

Re:Jolly good. (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942237)

You do know it's written on Sheep Hide AKA Velum and so it takes about 3 days for the damn ink to dry

Re: Her role is purely a ceremonial one. (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942647)

Except for the 500 million dollars net worth, plus 100 million per year, the military being commanded by royalty and nobility, the tax exemptions, the slight difference between slapping the Queen and being slapped by the Queen, and a hundred things more, her role is purely ceremonial.

El Reg link (3, Informative)

Sara Chan (138144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941197)

The link in TFS to El Reg is missing. It should be http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/09/queen_speech_ccdp/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:El Reg link (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941359)

Ah, The Register; IT's equivalent of The Sun.

It's nice having a UK IT news source. I just wished they stuck to IT more often.

Brace yourselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941201)

Here come the "This sucks for the UK but here's a list of all things wrong with the USA!" threads.

Re:Brace yourselves (-1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941341)

I know. Isn't is terrible how those Ameridumbs all think that they're not worse than the rest of the world?

Re:Brace yourselves (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941863)

Isnt it terrible that the American stock market is only ever down these days because you cunts cant get your shit together?

Re:Brace yourselves (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942537)

I mostly see people mocking the UK for letting the Queen rule the country, thus demonstrating they have no understanding of how our government works

Whatever you do, don't CC Theresa May (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941297)

on all your email. In particular, don't use this list of addresses [wired.co.uk] . OK?

Re:Whatever you do, don't CC Theresa May (3, Informative)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941413)

If you CBA reading the article [wired.co.uk] (shame on you), here are the addresses you're being pointed at:

parliamentaryteam@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Ministers.HO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
mayt@parliament.uk
sharkeyj@parliament.uk
office@maidenheadconservatives.com
public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

How's that supposed to work? (1)

haeger (85819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941331)

Any decent criminal would use TOR or similar service, and the only data the ISP will be able to provide will be an encrypted bitstream, which will be difficult to decrypt.

So, since they're not interested in finding the criminals, why do they feel the need to spy on law abiding citizens?

Re:How's that supposed to work? (4, Interesting)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941555)

Because it is never about law enforcement.
If the .GOV wanted to stop crime they would have been spending money on the police force instead of dropping coppers like hot potatoes left right and centre.
Burgled? Here's an incident number for the insurance claim. Go away and stop trying to make us work. We don't have the resources to follow this up.
Assulted? Try to match one of these well dressed, smiling prettily, gentle looking men in these pictures to the snarling, pissed up lout that bottled you in the pub two weeks ago without being able to see the CCTV of the incident. Go away and stop trying to make us work. We don't have the resources to follow this up.
Your car was TWOC'd? Here's an incident number for the insurance claim. Go away and stop trying to make us work. We don't have the resources to follow this up.

Oh they put a few quid into "terrorism" but only because that in itself creates an air of terror in the public. Justifying more money being diverted to scanners, cyber squads and legislation like this which benefits a few well dressed guys with big computer dreams who know that selling IT to people who don't get it, especially in the .GOV is a licence to print money.
See NHS, schools, waste disposal, speed calming, CCTV, missile defence and a multitude of other election claims for more evidence.

Screw you Westminster; you take our tax with promises of making everyone's life better, then give it to your friends. Blue, Yellow or Red, you're all lying thieves.

Re:How's that supposed to work? (3, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942119)

It's all about preventing protests and rebellions.

It protects the rich elite from common folk. NOTHING ELSE!

Re:How's that supposed to work? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39945353)

Burgled? Here's an incident number for the insurance claim. Go away and stop trying to make us work. We don't have the resources to follow this up.

Then you need a new Mayor and a new Police Chief. [sj-r.com] My house was burglarized last April while I was at work. My bank called and asked if I was missing checks, because someone had tried to catch a forged one. When I got home my back door had been kicked open and a bunch of stuff was missing, including a full book of checks.

After taking the report the cop went to the bank and viewed the security camera video and got a license plate number and the guy's face, saw him on a porch twenty minutes later and arrested him.

The next day detectives interviewed my neighbors to see if they'd seen anything.

Assulted?

You're right about that. You're as likely to be arrested as the guy who assaults you, unless there are witnesses willing to talk to them or there's a camera.

Oh they put a few quid

You're British? Man, was I wrong, I thought you guys had better cops than we do.

Screw you Westminster; you take our tax with promises of making everyone's life better, then give it to your friends.

Yep, that's pretty much how things are done in Springfield and Chicago and East St. Louis.

Re:How's that supposed to work? (1)

progician (2451300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941559)

Heeeey, you forgot about the non-decent criminals. This is basically nothing else but a selective breeding of criminality. Any criminal, who organises their crime without the proper privacy tools, would be arrested. And perhaps it would be somewhat good if they could go a bit further. They could just randomly arrest citizens if they don't use proper privacy tools.

Re:How's that supposed to work? (1)

Mithent (2515236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941595)

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of criminals weren't very technologically savvy, to be fair. Not that that should mean the authorities have the right to intercept communications without good reason.

Re:How's that supposed to work? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942005)

You severely overestimate the skills of most criminals. It's just not like the movies, where a slick team of dudes headed by George Clooney hacks into high tech security systems and routes their phone traffic through several anon VoIP proxies with 256 bit encryption.

Not to say that the legislation is not annoying and overreaching, but most criminals are not smart enough to elude a competent and well-funded police force using current laws and technology - but that last part is the real problem here. As has been shown by recent events, if you have enough money you simply buy the police's silence (and get them to actively lie for you about the existence of evidence), if you're a peon then the system is simply too inefficient to really do much with you if you get caught.

Witness the sense of entitled rage that people express when they get stopped for no insurance now while driving and the police can actually seize the car right there, instead of issuing the totally ineffective 'producer' document that essentially enabled people to drive tax and insurance free and just deal with the minor inconvenience of being told to prove they're insured t a police station within 7 days - which of course they didn't do; they just screw up the ticket when the cop is gone and carry on. Now that the police can simply take the car at the roadside the criminals are getting indignant and actively angry with sayings like "you can't do that! you have no right to take my car!" in the most breathtaking displays of entitlement ever seen. They also don't understand that the police have access to computers and databases and will argue in the face of a networked computer system that can look things up easily.

We've bred in a culture of "the police can't do anything to you, and anything they *do* do inconvenience you is not fair on you!" mentality in the UK that is gradually being dismantled.

I don't pretend to think everything they're doing to further this end is the right thing (for example, this sort of snooping bill) and various other things, but it's getting gradually better and better (despite whatever the shadow-cabinet-of-the-moment tires to say about crime to attack whatever current cabinet is sitting).

As if this hothouse flower would know... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941337)

....anything about tech.

Re:As if this hothouse flower would know... (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 2 years ago | (#39947077)

She's forgotten more than I ever knew about repairing combustion engines.

Parasites (1, Funny)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941397)

What the British people see in their monarchy, I'll never know. I do know that until Britains stop shelling out $60 million (about 40 million Pounds) per year tax dollars to keep up the properties and lifestyle of these royal idiots http://www.royal.gov.uk/TheRoyalHousehold/Royalfinances/Sourcesoffunding/Overview.aspx [royal.gov.uk] , they have no right making fun of the US's fascination with celebrity. At least we don't directly pay ours with tax dollars and our celebrities pay taxes. If the Queen's just a "figure head" and only reads what's written by the Tories, we could have Britney Spears give an annual speech to the senate for a lot less cash and roughly equal mental capacity.

Re:Parasites (1)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941607)

How do you go about removing the monarchy at this point? Most of our governance system would need changing. A lot of people dislike the monarchy but there has never been a choice to not have it. There is also the fact (and I hate this arguement) that the monarchy charactorises Britain, I have even heard arguements that they bring in revenue through tourism but I have not seen much evidence for this.

The monarchy has at least been stripped of almost all power. The Queen isn't really even a figurehead, just a tradition.

Re:Parasites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941657)

The evidence is the number of tourists outside Buckingham Palace and the like.

Re:Parasites (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943035)

The evidence is the number of tourists outside Buckingham Palace and the like.

You would have to demonstrate that those tourists wouldn't go to Buckingham Palace if its resident was no longer the head of state.

The building would remain, just as hundreds of "heritage" buildings do. It might even become more accessible to the public.

If it's deemed that rituals like the Changing Of The Guard brings in tourists worth more than the cost of the exercise, then they could continue, no problem.

As if to demonstrate the principle, the Tower Of London is maintained by a non-subsidised organisation, paid for by donations, sponsorship and the tourists who pay to visit (and use the gift shop, cafe etc.).

Re:Parasites (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942405)

"how do you go about removing monarchy???"
"the monarchy is just a tradition"

well fuck, sounds like you could just cut the flow of money and leave them off to live whatever wealth they already accumulated, paying taxes on their profits from whatever business they turn their cash into.

doesn't effect tourism much, imho either. the place would be a tourist attraction anyhow, because of the history.
and if the monarchs had to actually work for that tourism money they might bring more of it to britain.

but this article doesn't really reveal anything anyways nor does the speech - "queen gives a scheduled speech written by government that goes blablablabla" would have been an apt title, free speech meaning nothing in the context. if she had written her own speech where she would have sworn to uphold secrecy of correspondence, then THAT would be real news, now she is just throwing that away and saying she'll uphold free speech laws which are inequal about who can say who fucked who - literally.

Re:Parasites (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942447)

"how do you go about removing monarchy???" "the monarchy is just a tradition"

well fuck, sounds like you could just cut the flow of money and leave them off to live whatever wealth they already accumulated, paying taxes on their profits from whatever business they turn their cash into.

doesn't effect tourism much, imho either. the place would be a tourist attraction anyhow, because of the history. and if the monarchs had to actually work for that tourism money they might bring more of it to britain.

but this article doesn't really reveal anything anyways nor does the speech - "queen gives a scheduled speech written by government that goes blablablabla" would have been an apt title, free speech meaning nothing in the context. if she had written her own speech where she would have sworn to uphold secrecy of correspondence, then THAT would be real news, now she is just throwing that away and saying she'll uphold free speech laws which are inequal about who can say who fucked who - literally.

With a half billion dollars, if she can't pay for her lifestyle herself, she should sell some properties. http://www.therichest.org/celebnetworth/politician/royal/queen-elizabeth-net-worth/ [therichest.org]

Re:Parasites (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943321)

How do you go about removing the monarchy at this point?

With the least constitutional change necessary? Probably by going with the German model - just exchange the Queen by a President elected by popular assembly, with the same constitutional functions the Queen has at the moment. Much cheaper, gets elected.

Re:Parasites (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39945597)

Republic: http://republic.org.uk/ [republic.org.uk] campaign for that.

I might be a member, I can't remember. I went to their protest during the wedding last year, anyway, and they seem to be getting more press and attention because of the jubilee (and the ever-encroaching threat of King Charles III).

Your statement about tourism has been answered, but also remember the *huge* income from the "Crown Estate" -- land that "belongs" to the royal family, and from which they are allowed to keep all the income. The Duchy of Cornwall is one big example, but there's also lots of land in big cities that would, in a republic, create revenue for the Treasury.

Re:Parasites (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 2 years ago | (#39947293)

Your statement about tourism has been answered, but also remember the *huge* income from the "Crown Estate" -- land that "belongs" to the royal family, and from which they are allowed to keep all the income.

That's not true. The profit from the Crown Estate goes to the Treasury and part of it (about 4%, going by the figures on Wikipedia) is returned as the Civil List. Of course, that's all about to change because of the Sovereign Grant Act 2011 [legislation.gov.uk] .

Re:Parasites (5, Insightful)

progician (2451300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941625)

To be completely precise, British people are fascinated by celebrities as much as Americans. One of this celebrity happens to be the queen and co. And, as an interesting note, the royal family happens to be celebrity in many countries, including the USA. There's no "us and them" here.

Re:Parasites (1)

Mithent (2515236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941661)

The counter-argument would be that less than £1/year/person is a small price to pay for the international relations and tourism benefits they and their properties bring. That, I suppose, is up for debate.

Re:Parasites (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942281)

It is, indeed, up for debate: the pressure group Republic refutes the claim. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/Win%20the%20argument/index.php [republic.org.uk]

A comedian (probably either Mark Steel or Jeremy Hardy I reckon) counters the 'good for tourism' argument by picturing a foreign tourist in Paris, admiring the view from the Eiffel Tower -- "It's a nice view, but I can only feel it would be improved by there being an unelected head of state".

Re:Parasites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39947059)

I would actually say there's a lot to be said for a head of state that has little power. Otherwise you get tossers like Blair being able to actually veto laws they don't like instead of being beholden to the public.

Re:Parasites (1)

AntmanGX (927781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941819)

And I bet they bring in at least ten times that due to tourism [reuters.com] (not that I entirely trust those figures, but the point still stands).

Don't get me wrong, I don't care at all for the royals, but to say they are a waste of money is miles off the mark.

Re:Parasites (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942207)

Convert the palace into a brothel and there'd be 100x more tourists

Re:Parasites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941883)

£60 million?

Chump change, and merely a drop in the ocean of the £700+ billion annual public spend. (http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/)

To be honest, I'd rather take the money of the dole scroungers living off benefits - it would save siginificantly more - and probably gain more if they had no option other than going out and getting a job.

Re:Parasites (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942111)

The question is whether they bring in more than $60 million in tourism - certainly a debatable topic and hard to pin down an exact figure.

If you think Britney could replace what the Queen does (in respect to the public engagements, state events, foreign visits and diplomatic stuff etc) even 20% as well as she does it (and has been doing so for 50 years now) then you don't give her enough credit. I say this from the standpoint of knowing that it's not the most difficult job in the world and that she's extremely privileged, and also that I'm certainly no royalist by any stretch of the imagination.

Re:Parasites (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39945635)

Why does it have to be about the money?

If it costs us *more* I'd still rather have an elected head of state.

No doubt a dictatorship would also be cheaper to run. None of those expensive elections...

Re:Parasites (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39945737)

We do have an elected head of state - the Prime Minister. Well, to be accurate, we have an elected ruling party since each political party chooses its own leader.

The monarch is an entirely ceremonial position.

Re:Parasites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39942633)

It's not so bad once you stop looking at it as a tax to support the monarch and more as a 50p per person/per year insurance policy against having a president Thatcher or president Blair for instance. It was bad enough having a sociopathic twat of a war-criminal who could bullshit for the nation in charge for 10 years but now the tosser has announced his desire to return to politics, 50p to keep him away from a supreme executive position seems like a fucking bargain.

Re:Parasites (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942903)

So essentially you don't believe in democracy? Assuming a progressive voting system (and yes, I know that's a big ask), the country gets the president it wants.

In any case, presumably if one were to replace the UK monarch with an elected head of state, that elected figure would have an equally ceremonial role -- cutting ribbons, greeting foreign dignitaries, waving at tourists and so on.

Re:Parasites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39942687)

The 2012 UK budget showed £682 billion in expenditures. That 40 million is a drop in the ocean and arguably offset by the economic benefits of having madge and family to show to tourists. I'm not a royalist, and right now I don't see any good reason to get rid of the royals. That of course could change if Charles takes the throne, giving us a head of state with a sideline as a peddler of snake oil. Imagine Obama giving psychic readings over the Internet, for substantial amounts of cash, and you get the idea.

Anyway, we're perfectly entitled to make fun of celebrity obsessed people, but in no way justified in believing that the UK is much different. Watch a bit of British telly or take a glance at the magazines down the local newsagents - celebrity bullshit all over the place. The main saving grace of the UK is that our nutjobs aren't quite as lively in the cause of replacing science textbooks with bibles, but certainly there are those who'd like to see that change. Oh, and it's "Britons".

Re:Parasites (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942803)

That 40 million is a drop in the ocean

Well, it could instead finance 15,000 public sector workers (at a rather generous £40K each) at a time when we're busily freezing salaries and cutting pensions, while gnashing and wailing about unemployment figures...

Re:Parasites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39945583)

Well, it could instead finance 15,000 public sector workers (at a rather generous £40K each) at a time when we're busily freezing salaries and cutting pensions, while gnashing and wailing about unemployment figures...

Well, you've obviously taken a look at the overall figures here and come to the conclusion that the economy would benefit more from having 15,000 additional public sector workers, and very highly paid to boot. Personally I'd prefer to know whether or not having the royal family contributes positively towards the nation, either economically or through other means.

Re:Parasites (4, Insightful)

stevencbrown (238995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39946857)

I'm British, and I personally fully support the Queen's role in this country. Leaving aside the tax dollars to support them (which I would reckon is probably offset by tourist spend on people coming to see the royal sights), her role is invaluable. Even though she doesn't have direct powers, providing that stability and consistency is, for me, a necessary role when dealing with the lizard like politicians that we have.

I dread to think how silly the forming coalition bun fight from a couple of years ago would have been - the media were in hysterics about a coalition, who it should be - having someone who has seen loads of prime ministers and governments come and go at the heart of the process is very useful.

Our alternative would be an directly elected head of state. The thought of a President Blair (which he tried his best to be) swanning around is nauseating - give me a figurehead like the Queen any day of the week.

Free speech? (4, Interesting)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941421)

Ironically a couple of sentences earlier in The Queen's Speech, she read the sentence that "The government will protect freedom of speech." How can you do that when you're spying on people, and wanting to know what they say at all times? Never accept the line they are pushing that, oh, we'll only log the from, to and date/time headers. They will store the entire email, storage is dirt cheap and cost is irrelevant when you can rely on the taxpayer to throw unlimited money at pet projects.

Earlier today politicians said that tired out line "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." I didn't hear them say that when they were using the courts to stop their crooked expenses claims from becoming public knowledge.

The facts are simple, the state is VERY afraid of the free exchange of ideas, and are doing whatever it takes to stop people from doing something like kicking corrupt politicians out of office, or holding corrupt companies to account.

Re:Free speech? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941519)

Ironically a couple of sentences earlier in The Queen's Speech, she read the sentence that "The government will protect freedom of speech."

This phrase shows just how backwards monarchy is. Free speech is not something the government protects. Free speech is something that protects you from the government. If the government can decide which speech to protect, you don't really have free speech at all.

Re:Free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941889)

This phrase shows just how backwards monarchy is.

I completely agree with you about free speech, but how does this relate to monarchy?

Re:Free speech? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942463)

Ignorant forigners who fail to understand that, while the Queen delivers the speech, she doesn't actually write it. She is just speaking on behalf of the government, and it's the elected* politicians who decide what she says.

*Mostly. The Lords have a say too.

Re:Free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39941951)

You DO realise the monarchy has no power at all, don't you?

You may as well say that government is backwards, because the Queen has very little say in this.

Re:Free speech? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943227)

Not to disagree -- the queen does have very little say in this -- but in absolute pedantic fact, the monarchy has all the power.

God chooses the monarch. The monarch chooses a government -- it happens that nowadays she uses an election to choose. The government handles the details of running the country for the monarch. This is why it's called "Her Majesty's Government". This is why the Queen opens parliament. This is why the newly elected prime minister has to go to the queen and ask her permission to form a government.

Now, for all practical purposes, the monarch can't openly pull rank on the government -- because the monarchy only survives by public consent, and I think even the most strident modern monarchist would change their tune if the queen started dictating.

Re:Free speech? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942181)

Well, you can't blame the monarchy - she does not write the speech, it is provided to her by the government and she simply reads it out.

It's also worth noting that the UK has no written Bill of Rights/Constitution, although this hasn't seemed to be an impediment over the past thousand years or so. I know many Americans are amazed that the UK hasn't collapsed in a giant fireball due to the lack of such a written document.

I think it's (the US Constitution) one of the most important pieces of paper (well, several pieces of paper) ever to have writing put on them in terms of the history of modern democracies, but when the UK government says it will "protect free speech" it doesn't really mean much since they're really talking about the idea of free speech rather than an actual documented set of freedoms laid out in a written constitution.

I mean, we have the Magna Carta, but we've sort of just muddled along from there and done ok.

Re:Free speech? (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39944423)

Actually, England *does* have a Bill of Rights [legislation.gov.uk] , written in 1688 and mostly still in force. Unfortunately, the only free speech that protects is the Freedome of Speech of MPs, which is increasingly being abused for political gain.

England also does have a written constitution; unfortunately, it's scattered across hundreds of Acts of Parliament, and Court judgments. There are advantages and disadvantages to not having a codified, supreme constitution; for starters, we don't have people wandering around with assault rifles claiming they're part of a well-regulated militia needed to protect the country from invaders.

That said, the UK does now answer to two "higher powers" in a sense, the EU and the ECHR, both of which offer some protection for freedom of expression (a slightly broader idea than just freedom of speech).

Re:Free speech? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39945711)

The UK also has the Human Rights Act (the UK act), which codifies the ECHR into law -- "British"* law, enforced by a British court. I think it's an excellent set of rights, but unfortunately, the Daily Mail doesn't like it.

* English & Welsh, whatever

Re:Free speech? (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942761)

Hell, it isn't even free. They charge an awful lot in "protection money" for that service.

Re:Free speech? (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943091)

This phrase shows just how backwards monarchy is. Free speech is not something the government protects. Free speech is something that protects you from the government. If the government can decide which speech to protect, you don't really have free speech at all.

Well, in a sense the government does protect free speech, in that it's the power of the state (police, courts, prisons etc.) which stops someone who didn't like what I said from threatening / assaulting / murdering me. Without that, the only people with free speech would be the strongest.

Re:Free speech? (1)

AntmanGX (927781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941881)

Earlier today politicians said that tired out line "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

Even more ironic when you take in to account that the government are trying to prevent the details of the overhaul of the NHS from being published [bbc.co.uk] .
Nothing to hide, eh? Talk about double standards.

expert advice (2)

gramty (1344605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941563)

When put to our expert panel of vendors^H^H^H^H^H^H^H advisors they said.. "Oink Oink.. scoffle scofffle..snort.. TERRORISTS!.. psst! got a lovely non-exec possition put aside for after the next election.."

Re:expert advice (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942233)

Funnily enough, the terrorism scare tactic doesn't really work so well here.

After the July 7 bombings in London people were out the next day at the bus stop looking at their watches and tutting and muttering that the bus was late while they dragged the exploded carcass of the last one away on a truck.

While the threat of "zomg terrorism" has been used to justify a lot of questionable policy, it's not the magic grease that makes it slide through unopposed.

Re:expert advice (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942491)

This is Britain. We survived the Blitz. We will not be scared by some wannabe-terrorist with a few bodged-together bombs.

Re:expert advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39943463)

Yes, that was some heroic sitting there getting bombed you did. Britain is a feudal state set up to protect the rich at the expense of everyone else, always was and always will be. While that stiff upper lip was getting blown off by the huns your betters were laughing it up in the countryside. These laws are to control the hoi polloi, and for no other reason.

Re:expert advice (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942935)

We're also desensitised to middle-east terrorists, we have had to live with some from Ireland for many years.

Terrorism happens, we're human, someone will always have a grudge. We just need to get on with our lives.

Draft Communications Bill??? (2)

vuke69 (450194) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941729)

More like Daft Communications Bill.

Warrants not needed (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39941801)

If Rupert Murdoch says its OK, its OK.

"By far the most controversial"? (4, Insightful)

Kijori (897770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39942371)

Is this really "by far the most controversial bill" discussed in the Queen's Speech?

This is a controversial matter; it's also an important one. But the Queen's speech also discussed the reform of the House of Lords - a fundamental constitutional change which has led to a schism in the government. And it didn't suggest any change to the austerity program or welfare system, despite there being a lot of popular pressure to move away from austerity-only to focus on economic growth. Both of those questions are more controversial than the outlined surveillance bill.

I know that this is an important matter, and particularly important to people on Slashdot, but let's not lose perspective: this was not (unless I missed it) even discussed by Ed Miliband (the leader of the opposition party) when he criticised the legislative agenda. It's not the most controversial, or indeed important, measure announced.

Re:"By far the most controversial"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39947217)

Ed Miliband was a member of the previous regime, who tried to introduce ID cards. He's probably in favour of snooping.

God save the Queen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39942445)

AND HER FACIST REGIME.

It's sad how this becomes more and more relevant.

encrypt (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39943213)

encrypt, encrypt and encrypt.

The Queen's Speech (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39945243)

Did they film a sequel or something?

Re:The Queen's Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39946319)

It's a series. There's one episode a year.

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