Wednesday, November 09, 2005

High principles and low politics

It is surprising to read this in the Daily Mail, but encouraging. Tony Blair, a lawyer married to an eminent civil rights lawyer, is deliberately and cynically removing fundamental freedoms to win favour with tabloid editors and voters of authoritarian leanings. The Mail's editor is sending a hostile signal. His readers ARE those authoritarian British voters.

Our ancestors fought for these rights. If we lose them, we will not get them back without fighting again. Are we ready for that? Bearing in mind that the preceding sentences might be in breach of the proposed new laws, exactly how would we fight?

European neighbours from civilised countries; some with great traditions of democracy, lived under decades of totalitarian rule because it was impossible to organise effective resistance to police states with fewer resources, both technical and legal, than our government is now putting in place. They might not be free today if their rulers had not been impoverished by the implosion of their ludicrously-organised economies. If we allow detention without trial - on the say-so of a policeman or politician, we may have to wait for one of the world's top 5 economies to collapse. That could take a while.

In the meantime, we will lose the freedom from fear we have always enjoyed in dealing with authority. Annoy them and they will have the power to destroy our livelihood on a pretended suspicion. Initially (until the next Blair "reform") they will have to justify themselves to a judge. But they won't need evidence to suggest we are guilty; just enough to give grounds for "suspicion". The spin-masters behind the "dodgy dossier" won't find that hard.

I really hope this is a turning point for the better in British history. The opinion polls suggest otherwise, but if there are enough men and women of judgement and principle in the House of Commons tonight, there is still a faint hope.

High principles and low politics | the Daily Mail

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