Mick Hume of the London Times makes the point that Clark’s funny and insightful critique is hardly that of an extremist, however.
His book is less a militant's pamphlet than a protest on behalf of respectable Brits about the absurdities of the surveillance society. He is appalled that while millions are herded on to a DNA register, police cannot take samples from terrorist suspects on control orders. “It is bizarre to think,” he writes, “that the Government is planning to let credit agencies advertise the contents of our bank accounts — yet will not allow police forces to name convicted criminals.” Clark is most dismissive of the bureaucratic pointlessness of the “virtual” police state, with cameras that nobody watches taking pictures that nobody can use. He observes that the “peculiar effect of surveillance, both on us and our leaders” is that “it gives the impression that everything is under control, when in fact it isn't”.
So, if not a “virtual” police state, does Clark seek a “real” one… none at all…or none-of-the-above. His views, like those of most, are decidedly more interesting and complex. And of course it's true, when it comes to our security and privacy, we can do better…and should.