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May 16, 2006

Blair and Civil Liberties

Sheesh.

“We cannot allow violent or drug-abusing offenders to be put back out on the street again without proper supervision and, if necessary, restraint.

Err, yes, we can. It’s called having served your sentence.

Lovely conclusion to the piece:

WHY IS TONY BLAIR PARTICULARLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE?

Because of a series of rulings adverse to the Government in its efforts to tackle the threat of terrorism: the Belmarsh case that suspects cannot be held without trial; the law lords’ ruling in December saying that evidence obtained by torture is inadmissible; and the ruling on the Afghan hijackers

IS ALL THIS DOWN TO THE ACT?

No. Judges were making rulings that infuriated ministers before the Act came into force and are likely to continue to do so

Worth repeating the old mantra. Human Rights, whether expressed through statute or the Common Law, are there to protect us. No, not from our fellow citizens, although they may have that effect. They are to protect us from the Government, the State. The lesson of the 20th century is that we have far more to fear from them than anyone else.

May 16, 2006 in Law | Permalink

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Comments

"The lesson of the 20th century is that we have far more to fear from them than anyone else."

Amen to that!

Posted by: JohnJo | May 16, 2006 8:59:33 AM

The lesson of the 20th century is that we have far more to fear from [the State] than anyone else.

Sigh.

Number of Britons killed by the British state in the 20th century: taking in police violence, executions, Bloody Sunday and so on, say ten thousand. (about 10-15 hanged each year before abolition, so that's being generous).

Number of Britons killed by foreigners in the 20th century: in the two world wars alone, over a million.
Number of Britons killed by other Britons in a private capacity in the 20th century: roughly 60,000. (13,000 between 1981 and 2000 alone).

The lesson of the 20th century seems to be "we have far more to fear from the Germans than our fellow citizens, and far more to fear from our fellow citizens than from the State."

The figures don't bear you out, I'm afraid. Not like it's the first time that has happened, by any means.


Tim adds: That million in wars was just because the people of Germany started to, as individuals, come and kill people? Or was there State action involved there?

Posted by: ajay | May 16, 2006 6:02:05 PM

Don't shift the goalposts. When you wrote "the State" above you meant our state. The British State. The Government. Now you're changing the terms to make "the State" mean "any state, anywhere".

Weasel words.

Tim adds: Really? I meant specifically The British State when I said The State? Interesting that you can mind read at this distance.

Posted by: ajay | May 16, 2006 6:34:00 PM

Anyway, "deaths" is merely one reason to fear the state. The chilling effects of this, to keep people in line, mean an overall reduction of freedom. The Soviet Union didn't kill so many people after Stalin died, but hardly anyone would argue that the Soviet State wasn't to be feared by its people.

For example, the fear of arrest will stop people wearing "bollocks to Blair" T-shirts. Not many people need to be arrested pour encourager les autres.

K.

Posted by: Kay Tie | May 16, 2006 7:45:52 PM

I meant specifically The British State when I said The State?

Here's your words: "Human Rights, whether expressed through statute or the Common Law, are there to protect us. No, not from our fellow citizens, although they may have that effect. They are to protect us from the Government, the State."

1. Your entire post is about the Government (that is, the UK government) being prevented from doing things by human rights law. It's also conventional to mean "the UK government" by saying "the Government". Therefore, in this post, "the Government" means "the UK government".

2. By saying "the Government, the State" you imply that the two are synonymous for the purposes of this post.

3. So, by 1 and 2, the UK government = the Government = the State.

You then say: "The lesson of the 20th century is that we have far more to fear from them than anyone else."

Now, this has a slight grammatical slip - you use the plural pronoun "them" to refer to the singular noun "the State" - but I'll let that go.

Substituting the noun for the pronoun, your final sentence is "The lesson of the 20th century is that we have far more to fear from [the State] than anyone else."

Or, by 3: "The lesson of the 20th century is that we have far more to fear from [the British Government] than anyone else."

If you'd meant "all governments" then you would have written something like "The lesson of the 20th century is that we have far more to fear from state actions than anyone else". Which is, of course, obviously true.

Posted by: ajay | May 17, 2006 11:37:00 AM