January 28, 2005
The whole civlil liberties thing is getting wildly out of control in the UK:
Family and friends of terrorist suspects held under house arrest could be subject to tough sanctions even though they have not been accused of a crime, it was disclosed yesterday.
Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said people living with those subject to executive control orders could be banned from using the telephone or internet and searched every time they came home.
Anybody want to dig out their copy of Gulag Archipelago and track down the sentences for "family members of Article 58 offenders"? This is Stalinism, so grossly offensive that Clarke should be fired immediately for even mentioning it in public. The State wants the power to strip search (and it will be strip searches, believe me) a 14 year old girl as she enters the house of her father for no reason that they can prove in court? No, I’m sorry, this is a step too far. Get the pitchfolks out of the hay boys, sharpen the mattocks, we’re going to need to pay a little visit to our Lords and Masters and remind them who actually runs this country, us, the freeborn citizenry, and it should continue to be run in our interests.
(Did you notice the little piece at the bottom of the article? However, house arrest could be used only for alleged members of al-Qa'eda and associated groups because the measure would almost certainly involve derogating from aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights. That means Gerry Adams is in the clear.)
The cornerstone of whatever freedoms we have managed to accumulate over the past millenium or so is the right to a trial by jury, with the associated presumption of innocence and Habeus Corpus. Everything else, and I do mean everything, that we enjoy, prosperity, freedoms of speech, association, property, are all reliant on this one base, and now they want to take that away from us.
Aux Armes Citoyens, Aux Armes !!
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» Recent commentary on the House Arrest proposals from James Hammerton's Blog
...It does not matter that the intent of the politicians may be benign, the above points will hold. This process is making Britain vulnerable to tyranny. [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 2, 2005 11:37:16 PM
Am a little disturbed that Tory support for ID cards seemed to inspire much more blogging fire than this - which seems to me much, much, much worse. ID cards are perfectly compatible with government under law - even if they're not necessary, impractical, overexpensive, and will make life less flexible - but this simply is not: it is a proposal for the creation of arbitrary powers, the likes of which we haven't seen here since before Catholic Emancipation.
Posted by: Blimpish | Jan 28, 2005 9:40:02 AM
The reason that Tory support for ID cards receives so much opprobrium is that it differs in its autoritarian illiberalism only in the matter of scale.
It's not just ID cards, it's also the database linking everything in the background. What is that gong to store? What checks and balances will there be? We already have the example of the East German Communists for what can happen. This child is too bright and questioning - ban him from higher education. (This sort of thing routinely happened).
Add in the insistence on biometric ID and we are heading towards a state-wide DNA database. Just imagine what this future could mean. Don't waste any money on this person - her DNA suggests she has a weak heart and won't get past her 30s. And this person has DNA suggestive of a violent temper, medicate them to keep them calm. And so on.
So damn right we aren't happy about ID cards. I don't need a license from the state to allow me to exist. That sort of thing is for authoritarian countries where true liberty never took hold.
Posted by: David Wildgoose | Jan 28, 2005 10:11:06 AM
Sadly this is the latest and most serious in a whole series of attacks on civil liberties that has been going on since the Tories were last in power.
E.g. Howard proposed ID cards, curbs on jury trial and attacked the right to silence when he was Home Sec. Labour have ramped up the pace, and even introduced an enabling act last year (the Civil Contingencies Act 2004).
The govt has trampled over civil liberties and the rule of law for much of the past decade. They appear to be getting away with it too.
And now we're getting house arrest of suspects and their cohabitants, and restrictions on anyone who visits them.
Has it become too late to stop and reverse the slide into a police state yet? I hope not, but each time the ratchet is turned up a notch, the path back becomes more costly.
God help us if in the current political climate a serious and prolong recession should bite, along with a terrorist bombing or two. The jackboots could get their chance to use the full force of these powers then.
Posted by: James Hammerton | Jan 29, 2005 4:10:39 PM