With little fanfare, Revenue officials have now been given the right to intercept phone calls, e-mails and letters, and to bug homes and private vehicles. The powers were granted under the 'Serious Crime Act' that was rubber stamped in October, and come into force via a 'commencement order'.
As usual, these new powers follow on the heals of pledges by Gordon Brown to tackle the growth in warrantless violation of our privacy by the state. Such is New Labour's lust for tyranny, they even manage to sneak such powers into completely unrelated legislation, such as the Crossrail Bill.
Elsewhere, as noted by numerous libertarian bloggers, one of the Government's advisers is calling for smokers to pay for a licence to purchase tobacco products. At the moment, this seems unlikely to happen. The Government uses these so-called advisers and the überstatist think-tanks to tout the more outrageous suggestions that spring from their evil pavlovian creed of control. This allows the Government to noisily dismiss such hateful proposals, whilst quietly implementing other equally hateful, but slightly less provocative measures. Nevertheless, the direction of travel remains the same.