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October 04, 2004

Contrast and Compare With The Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act in the US has come under a lot of criticism, some of it justified, some not. Compare and contrast it with this list of what has happened in the UK over the same time period:

Jury trials to be abolished where there is a risk of intimidation or in complex serious fraud cases; the ancient rule of double jeopardy dispensed with; the proposed introduction of compulsory ID cards; a huge extension in CCTV camera coverage; the "snooper's charter", which allows a wide range of government bodies and quangos to watch over people, check on what they are doing and monitor their communications by collecting personal details about the use of phones and e-mails; an assets recovery agency that allows the civil courts to take away the wealth of people suspected of making their money from crime, even if they have not been convicted of anything; a new law to make incitement to religious hatred a criminal offence (dropped three years ago amid fierce criticism, but recently resurrected); the European arrest warrant, which allows for fast-track extradition for such non-existent crimes as "xenophobia"; the so-called Henry VIII provision in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act, which allows the Home Secretary to amend any provision; and plans in the draft Mental Health Bill to lock away people with psychopathic personality disorders who may attack someone, but have not done so as far as we know.
Last, but by no means least, is the Civil Contingencies Bill, currently before Parliament. Strictly speaking, this is not a Home Office measure, but it vests in the Home Secretary extraordinary powers for use in an emergency.
If ministers are satisfied that an emergency "threatening serious damage to human welfare, the environment or the security of the United Kingdom" has occurred, they can lay regulations - without prior approval of Parliament - to override existing laws. That could involve the requisition, confiscation or destruction of property without compensation and restrictions on the free movement of people.

Note that last one, the Civil Contingencies Bill. "serious damage to...the environment".
There are those, Greenpeace, Moonbat, Friends of the Earth, the usual suspects, who would say that we are already doing serious damage to the environment. Ergo, we are in such an emergency. Similarly ergo, we are no longer in a free country. Our property, our very freedom of movement are now at the whim of the Home Secretary.
What a wonderful and happy place we are building after 1997, Year Zero of the Project. A thousand years of Common Law, a milleniuim in which England, then Britain, led the world in the slow crawl to a free and liberal society, all abolished in a mere 7 years.

October 4, 2004 in Politics | Permalink


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» Patriot Act Hyperventilation from George Gaskell
In all the left-wing hysteria over the Patriot Act (which, not surprisingly, has included a stream of outright lies about the courts' interpretations of it), Tim Worstall has noticed the hitherto unnoticed goings-on across the pond. Scary stuff. So far... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 4, 2004 2:46:39 PM


Anglo-Saxon common law is one of the reasons why the Anglosphere prospers while other cultures lage. Getting rid of jury trials and double jeopardy -- what good can come of that? I'm perplexed by the full-on rush toward cultural suicide in Britain. Do people there not understand that Anglo-Saxon culture has produced many worthwhile achievements, including the legal system?

Tim Worstall adds: Sadly, apparently not many people have noticed. I currently live in a Napoleonic Code country and please, dear God, don't let the UK and US adopt that.

Posted by: Irene Adler | Oct 4, 2004 6:50:42 PM