* Big Brother and The Mark of the Beast
Microchip Implants for UK mentally ill planned *
By George Jones, Political Editor
Last Updated: 2:55am GMT 17/01/2007
Radical measures for tackling crime - ranging from monitoring the
behaviour of the mentally ill with implanted radio chips to hormone
injections for sex offenders — are to be considered by the Government in
a wide-ranging policy review ordered by Tony Blair.
The Prime Minister said yesterday that Labour had to renew its sense of
leadership and energy as voters were getting bored with the party after
10 years in power.
He disclosed that he intended to stay in power until at least June to
oversee a policy review aimed at ensuring that a "new New Labour" agenda
would take the Government into the next election after he had left No 10.
The Cabinet Office published four policy review documents outlining the
"big questions and choices" facing society in the next decade.
Cabinet ministers, civil servants and the public, through so-called
citizen forums, will be asked to express a view.
Mr Blair asserted his grip on the Government's forward policy agenda as
his most likely successor, Gordon Brown, flew to India for an official
The Chancellor has indicated that he will not be bound by the reviews
and has blocked Mr Blair's attempts to extend them to his own area of
Mr Brown clearly wants a decisive break with the Blair legacy and has
already started setting out his priorities, including spending more on
education, a less overbearing state and a different style of government.
The policy review programme, which Mr Blair told his monthly Downing
Street press conference had generated "real enthusiasm" across
government, will be seen as his attempt to ensure that Mr Brown does not
backtrack when he takes over.
The Prime Minister dismissed calls from some senior Labour figures to
speed up his departure to allow Mr Brown to revitalise the Government
before important elections in Scotland and Wales and English councils in
He gave the strongest indications yet that he intends to stay in office
until the summer.
Asked whether he would be at a summit of European Union heads of
government in Brussels on June 21, he responded without hesitation: "Of
His comments came after David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, told
The Daily Telegraph that Labour would have to "defy political gravity"
to win a fourth successive election and urged Mr Brown to adopt a "bold"
Mr Blair said he agreed with Mr Miliband's stark analysis of Labour's
mid-term difficulties. But provide the Government did not retreat, "we
will come through this and come through it with the renewed sense of
leadership and energy".
The options explored in the four documents dealing with public services,
the role of the State, energy and the environment, and crime, justice
and cohesion, are not Government policy but are intended to "facilitate
They show how the Government is thinking and its readiness to look at
contentious and radical policies that have been tried abroad.
The most controversial paper dealing with law and order acknowledges
that there will have to be "trade-offs" between liberty and security as
technology and profiling are used to reduce crime.
It acknowledged that two thirds of the public believe crime is rising.
People were less confident in the criminal justice system after
experiencing it, while re-offending rates remained "stubbornly high".
While burglary had fallen, mugging had risen with the expansion of
portable high-tech gadgets, and new crime opportunities such as identity
theft and internet crime.
The policy paper confirmed the Government's objective of creating a
surveillance society despite Mr Blair's denials of a "Big Brother"
state. It said new anti-crime measures include face and voice
recognition, a DNA database, identity cards, microchip monitoring and
satellite surveillance — and confirmed that Britain has the most public
CCTV systems in Europe.
It highlighted ways other countries have intervened to tackle crime and
drug addiction — though it stresses such ideas "are not presently
policies under consideration by the UK Government".
America is said to be "favourably disposed" towards preventing drug
addiction through heroin and cocaine vaccination. It is also considering
"more sophisticated" monitoring techniques, including a trial of "radio
frequency identification chips" for the mentally ill.
Options for regulating behaviour include the use of legal restrictions
on television beer adverts in use in over half of Europe. In Denmark,
sex offenders are given hormone injections, while Dutch police recently
sent text messages to warn citizens of an escaped paedophile.
Public sector unions are likely to be alarmed by suggestions of private
and voluntary sectors playing an increasing role — such as the 14,000
bail bondsmen and thousands of bounty hunters who ensure defendants get