Speech given by Theresa May, home secretary, in parliament on Thursday*
“My right honourable members of parliament have been so taken in by this scandal over state snooping that they have even demanded we debate it here in the House of Commons today. Well let me tell you, I agree. It’s an outrage that the intelligence services don’t have more snooping powers than they do.
“So I’m glad for this opportunity to see who can invent the most frightening justification for ever more maniacal surveillance. And as I have said many times in the past, I can imagine some pretty gruesome things. So you’d better have your sick bags.
“But let us not forget these are sensitive matters. That’s why I’ve got some of our most artful establishment entertainers working on it, like the former deputy prime minister and our pals down at the RUSI club for ex-servicemen. We will all have a good laugh when they do their routine later in the summer.
“I have meanwhile asked for more serious proposals to drawn up and presented in secret. I trust you understand that you will not be allowed to see them. But I can assure you it will show the security services have come up with some ingenious ways to watch the poor to make sure they stay in their place. We are doing all we can to ensure you are safe from them. But we must also ensure these safeguards are necessary and proportionate. Because its not necessary that we snoop on the honourable members of this house. But we will have increase the proportion of snooping we do on that lot outside.
“As I have said before, these essential powers are essential. If you need any more proof than that, I would like to point out there are more terrorists than ever. We are certainly arresting more terrorists suspects then ever. And that’s not just because we are hoovering up more surveillance data than ever.
“As has been shown by the latest figures from our twenty-year campaign bombing rag-heads, the threat from terrorism is serious and it is growing. And now, a little more than 10 years after our armies really started wreaking havoc in the Middle East, the prospect of our deranged victims inflicting retaliatory attacks is better than ever.
“This is great news for a our security services, who have been waiting for just such an opportunity to show how well their latest surveillance apparatus tracks malcontents and outsiders. And its great news for the contractors who run our internment and immigration camps too.
“Although this does suggest we are deranged lunatics who shouldn’t be trusted with power, it is important to note that it is we who hold power. It is therefore entirely predictable that we will regulate that power only very loosely. I hope therefore the honourable members, who mew appreciatively whenever anyone mentions the security services, will be especially pleased to learn I have put one of the Old Boys from the Club in charge of regulating our power. He has assured me he will do it very loosely.
“As he said, getting this stitched up will just be a formality. He has already written a very long and reassuring report that will raise few objections. Because should anybody really be bothered to read it, they will find its silken verbiage so mesmeric that they will have forgotten about it entirely the moment they put it down.
“It is worth remembering, however, the key recommendation from his report: “These essential powers are essential for maintaining our essential power, which is essential, because it is essential that we maintain our essential power.”
“That is why, alongside the reassuring noises I am making today, I have slipped through a package of measures that will allow our spooks to do as much snooping as they have grown accustomed to doing, which is essentially as much as they can get away with, which was quite a lot because it was secret, and quite a lot more than they ever thought was going to be legal.
“On the legislative framework, our spooks have communicated through our Old Boy from the Club that it is about time we made it legal so they can spend more time snooping and less time trying to figure out whether it is legal or not. Not that they were ever really bothered whether it was illegal. But our man recommends that it is about time we changed the law so it suits them more clearly. And you can feel more assured in your mewing.”
* as imagined by Mark Ballard