Wednesday 31 October 2007

Trick or Treat From This Latter-day Locke

Evidently stung by having been caught out re-hashing other people’s speeches, Gordon Brown has taken time out from his busy schedule to compose an epic address ‘On Liberty’. Why he would wish to be known as the author of this first-year undergraduate essay is anybody’s guess.

But he has certainly managed to include some Hallowe’en horrors.

Jack Straw will investigate the idea of a freedom of expression audit for future legislation

Yes, Jack Straw - just the man, I should say, and Walter Wolfgang agrees. (Didn’t credit Brown with such a wicked sense of humour !)

whenever there are question marks over the ability to express dissent the balance should be with those taking action to defend and extend the liberty of individuals and their freedoms to express their views

A very revealing formulation, this. Why should the balance be with those taking actions to defend … why not with the dissenters themselves, hmm ?

Next, the government is “at all times [to] apply the liberty test”. Ye-es, and we know Brown’s form on applying tests of his own devising – ask Blair & Co about the famous “five tests”.

Not to worry: “today our abhorrence of torture is and must be unequivocal

He’s obviously planning to have a little word with King Abdullah . . .


Horrible face image from FreeDigitalPhotos


Mark Wadsworth said...

"why not with the dissenters themselves, hmm?"

I thought there was something fishy about that sentence, you got it in one!

Nick Drew said...

Mark - deconstructing the sentence, he's saying "the balance should be with ME, it's ME who is defending your liberty, all power should accrue to ME, trust ME" etc, ad nauseam

Just another piece of evidence for the application to have him Sectioned ...

Anonymous said...

If ever there was a speech deserving a thorough fisking it was this one. From his peculiar use of the Royal "we" to his skating over the fact that NuLabour is really the only government that has rolled-back liberty since the war with the Terrorist Act and the Civil Contigencies act.

I wonder if Devils Kitchen have set to work on this one?

Nick Drew said...

Anon: - Raedwald has had a go, and also Michael Gove. I expect others have, too

I'm not sure if anyone would thank me for bed-blocking the CU blog with a lengthy fisk, though ! So I picked a few random spooky bits.

However, if by popular demand ...

hatfield girl said...

Fisk it. Preferably in verse.


Popular Demand

Anonymous said...

Fisk! Fisk! Fisk!

tory boys never grow up said...

You are quoting Brown's comments about dissenters out of context. Read the previous sentence "First, it is the British way to stand up for the freedom of expression, speech and press." so it is pretty damn obvious that in this context that Brown is speaking about those defending dissent.

If you want to find Brown's views about the rights of dissenters, and his wish to extend those rights, you will find them elsewhere in his speech - if you can be bothered to look.

Whatever you and others might say about the Stalinist/Honecker tendencies of Brown - I think that you will find little in this speech to sustain your arguments - especially if you take the Newmania view that the 2words are the meaning"

As for fisking - I'm afraid that trying to address an argument by breaking it down into small soundbites will never prove anything - except an ability to master larger concepts on the fisker's part.

Nick Drew said...

TB - that won't wash. The offending sentence is (probably subconsciously) all of a piece with the typical labourist focus on the producer rather than the client. Why does the dissenter require intermediation in this sentiment ?

If I am framing concerns for the welfare of those in care, my schwerpunkt is not care-givers but care-recievers, notwithstanding the obvious point that care-givers have a central role. The labourist concern is however primarily for the provider.

On the wider point, no, I am not on the lookout for the pious sentiments scattered around the speech, though I notice there are many. The reason I am not interested in them, is that Brown's entire rhetorical MO is endless repetition of pieties which he wishes us to hoist onboard subliminally, in his favour, whilst having no intention whatever of observing them himself.

When Brown writes a book on courage we know full well it is a smokescreen for his own craven cowardice. So we look through the smoke.

Anonymous said...

"Read the previous sentence "First, it is the British way to stand up for the freedom of expression, speech and press." so it is pretty damn obvious that in this context that Brown is speaking about those defending dissent. "

The point is that the current government is prone to Orwellian double-speak. ND has pointed out that the sentence is open to ambivalent interpretation - as surely it was meant to be?

In much the same way the Royal "We" in the re-writing of the 'constitution' actually means "I". He has no intention of engaging the people in such an endeavour - and in fact goes on to demonstrate he has no such intention by signalling he already has detailed plans.

One would never expect an elected PM to boldly state "I intend to take away all rights and freedoms of the British people with immediate effect" - but he has now allowed himself at least the possibility of discussing such a thing whilst at the same time soothing nerves with calm words about "freedom". Meanwhile this is still the same government that sold us the Terrorism Act, the Civil Contingenices act and ID Cards ostensibly to protect us from those hell bent on damaging society. In practice they have done no such thing - merely given excuses to monitor, control and manipulate the voting public. Speaking of which, the decision to allow charities the right to be openly political was rather opportunistic - not only is Brown's favoured charity already under investigation for just such illegal political activity, but the current government provides enormous amounts of funding to these charities, many of which now have Labour placemen in positions of importance - be prepared for a barrage of pro-Labour politicking from the likes of Oxfam, which has already come out of the Labour closet.

With Paul Dacre tucked away in the PMs back pocket as flagged in this speech, you can see that the recent polls have scared Gordon Brown away from democracy entirely. A free vote is unlikely to be permitted to us, whether we be Labour supporters or not. He learns from Goebbels and Mugabe...

But one must also be very careful about what he DOESN'T say. He mentions the internet - but not what he intends to do about it. Make good use of your comments here - next year the option may not be open to you.

tory boys never grow up said...


Quite obviously if you don't trust Brown then you can read whatever you want into his words and you and others have.

There are plenty of earlier references to the rights of dissenters - and actually I think that it is pretty sensible to want to stand up for the rights who defend dissenters as well - remember what Niermoller said in this context.

All I can say about Brown throwing pieties around - is that there is an awful lot in this speech which will be quoted back at Brown in the future if he doesn't deliver and quite right too! In that context, I actually think that it is quite a brave speech and it shows a lot of integrity - but I'm sure you will see other motives.

Nick Drew said...

TB - I and thousands of others are trying to throw back at Brown his rather plain manifesto commitment to a referendum. Fat lot of good it does us, eh ? He simply finds a verbal trick or two with which to declare, shamelessly, 'it doesn't arise'. Pure, expert sophistry.

So what do you imagine will be the point of anyone quoting back passages from this speech to him ?

In any event, I'd be interested if you can find a single, unequivocal commitment in it. No, it's all about balance and debate and giving consideration.

No comfort there at all, TB.

Anonymous said...

Take care TB. I guess you have read Orwell's '1984'? There are some remarkable parallels:-

A perpetual war in which it is unclear how many people are actually harmed but which is regularly used as the excuse for further privations and restrictions of freedom [known by NuLabour as 'The War on Terror' and already predicted by them to last 30 years. Notice also how quickly the 'enemy' switched from being Russia to being the Middle East without as barely noticing, just as in '1984'. Furthermore, Russia becomes an ally in the 'War on Terror' whilst continuing to develop fly aircraft over our territory].

Round the clock government surveillance [Britain has more CCTV cameras than any other nation in the world]

Files kept on every individual [the governments proposed ID Card database and the exiting plans to link the various Inland Revenue, Police and NHS databases together so they can be searched for information]

ID Cards required for access to certain areas, goods andservices [sic]

Total aquiesence to another foreign power [Orwell proposes the USA but in fact Brown has chosen the EU]

The use of double-speak ['We promise you a referendum on the EU Constitution' becomes 'There is no need for a referendum on the EU Treaty']

The existence of a "big Brother" figures whose long-term ideals and motives are unclear but who professess to care for us and watch over us [NuLabour and its acolytes]

Ordinary people that spy on their neighbours [recent plans by NuLabour to encourage children to spy on their neighbours]

The concept of double-think [the belief that those that have opposing views are somehow dysfunctional, known in modern Britain as 'political correctness'. "People that oppose immigration are racists" is a classic example]

The re-writing of history [Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction]

Economic repression of the people [achieved in 1984 by an imaginary war, but by NuLabour achieved by pursuing reckless econimic policies based on the accumulation of massive amounts of debt and the selling of gold reserves just as the gold price is rising]

A proletariat sedated by pornography, alcohol and betting [sic, with casinos thrown in. Notice that the 'proletariat' is apparently growing in British society and one could imagine it reaching 85% of the population as in '1984']

The demonisation of the opposition 'Brotherhood' [Tthe demonisation of the Tories and those who vote for them, despite the fact that an opposition is a clear requirement of a functioning democracy]

Nespeak [a.k.a. 'political correctness' where it becomes impossible to discuss ones Christian belief or opinions on immigration for fear of the hatred it would immediately attract]

The Ministry of Truth {a.k.a the BBC, but now with an increasing number of newspapers in NuLabours pocket. Have you noticed that the BBC has gone very quiet on Iraq since the Americans seem to be making some prgress there?]

I think it is important to realise the Orwell wrote '1984' not as a pure work of fiction but as an extrapolation of thinking and attitudes of the radical left. He was aware of the thinking of Gramsci and the principles of "Cultural Hegemony", the "Long March through the Institutions". Orwell was a democrat but he knew full well that many in his own party despised democracy.

Labour spent 17 years in the political wilderness. Plenty of time to become disenchanted with democracy. NuLabour was invented to steal Tory clothes to make the party electable - but did it really change? As I see it, the party has abandoned democracy and freedom in favour of the Gramsci approach to social revolution against the express wishes of the people. The freedom of the media has been eroded by corruption and placemen, our ability to speak out has been curtailed by the Civil Contingencies Act, the Terrorist Act. Power is about to be handed over to an entity that rules through a political elite, where democracy is mere window dressing to placate a foolish public.

Maybe Brown is as good as his word and intends to suddenly roll back all these things and liberate the people from Blair's repressions. But Brown is the Grand Master of Doublespeak, so I very much doubt it. No doubt we will have to just sit back and wait and see, since the Civil Contingencies Act makes it a rather expensive business to rise up and protest for our freedoms.

tory boys never grow up said...


Yes I have read Orwell (he is one of my heroes to be honest)- and he said rather a lot about how people use weasel words in order to twist "facts" to suit their own view point.

He was also rather pro Europe (and anti nationalist) and did not have a lot of good things to say for Tories.

Some of the things you say of course are entirely ridiculous - e.g Children being encouraged to spy on parents by NuLabour, our ability to speak out has been curtailed etc.etc. But then if you are going to tell a lie tell a big one! Perhaps Brown isn't the only master of doublespeak

BTW - Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction - he admitted as such after the Kuwait war - and Blick made it clear that all the WMD had not been accounted for. It is what happened to them after the Kuwait war - where the controversy lies and you can argue whether or not Blair lied or whether he made the assumption that there were still WMDs in Iraq based on the evidence which was available to him - you either start with your prejudice or give the man the benfit of the doubt - but without getting in his mind I doubt whether the case can be proved either way.


Politicians are always going to be able to (and will) interpret their past utterances in different ways - this is not a feature common to the Labour Party or Gordon Brown. It is actually to some extent a good thing - circumstances and contexts do change and we do expect our leaders to be able to exercise some judgement. The ultimate judge as always has to be the electorate.

All I am saying is that Brown's speech does make quite a lot of commitments about liberty - and if he doesn't deliver you will probably be one of the first to quote his own words back at him and make him account for his actions. And if Brown isn't able to give a convincing account of his actions then he will be judged to have failed by the electorate. And quite frankly that is exactly as it should be!

What do want/expect - a Prime Minister who says next to nothing about liberty and what he intends to do? But then you would criticise him for having no vision etc.

I defy you to find a similarly detailed statement from Cameron about his political philosophy in any area (although I daresay there is a working group looking at it). What really worries me about Cameron is how similar his cuurent approach is to that adopted by Dubya in order to get elected - when he made mood music (social conservatism etc.) in order to get elected but actually said precious little about his plans/philosophy.

I could argue about the EU referendum (just what is Tory policy?) but I suspect that is one where agreement is not possible and the electorate will have to judge - all I can say is that if the current Tory policy is to be against the Treaty, but to stay in the EU, then they need to be pretty quick in thinking up a way to manage the extended EU that is workable and has a cat in hells chance of getting consent from the other members if they wish to be taken seriously - or is the aim just to wreck the EU without saying you want to leave. The only plausible alternatives are staying in the EU with the Treaty or something similar - or leaving. Perhaps we should have a referendum on that!

Anonymous said...

Firstly TB, you are using "doublethink" - by claiming that NuLabour are anti-democratic and subversie that we are claiming that the Tory party are immune to such things. Nobody has made any such statement here. You are requested to judge NuLabour only on its own merits - not the merits or otherwise of alternate methods of government. Your partisanship is showing and adds little to intellectual discussion of the matter at hand.

Kids are already employed to spy around their neighbourhood (I didn't say on their own parents, as you have suggested - you are using "doublespeak" to claim I did and then attack the straw man you have created). The scheme is known as the Juniour Neighbourhood Warden Scheme and was set up by John Reid. Some councils using this scheme have even given the children a notebook and a uniform, just like in the days of the Hitler Jugend. Sweet.

It doesn't matter if Saddam had WMDs or not. The fact is that NuLabour had no hard evidence that he did - they re-wrote history to make it appear that they knew he did, but we now know that they didn't know any such thing. whether the war was right or not is not at question here - only the rights or wrongs of re-writing history to justify pushing a democracy into war against its better judgement.

Our ability to speak out against the government has not been curtailed you say? Ask Walter Wolfgang, who was prevented from speaking out at his own Labour Party conference by use of the Terrorism Act 2001. He was 82 years old.

Believe something else if you want TB. Personally I think you are being naive, but I have purely a scientific interest in the political situation here. I have pretty much resigned myself to the ongoing disintegration of UK democracy. Perhaps I will be forced to leave sometime in the future, but my wife's family was forced to leave Burma due to similar circumstances so at least it is a situation we are familiar with.

Nick Drew said...

if he doesn't deliver you will probably be one of the first to quote his own words back at him ...

well yes, indeed TB; and I don't need to wait for him not to deliver because we have 10 years of track-record with which to compare & contrast

... and make him account for his actions

Here's where the problem starts: time and again NuLab has proven utterly, utterly shameless. You can hold up their manifold sins and wickednesses in the sunlight, and they simply breeze past them.

Truth means nothing to these people: they cannot be made to acknowledge it. In opposition they forged a mighty Spin-weapon (for defensive reasons, actually), and in Government they use this to defend 2 + 2 = 5, Oceania-was-never-at-war-with-Eastasia, or whatever else suits the needs of the hour. And I swear they lose no sleep.

tory boys never grow up said...


You are just losing any sense of proportion - where are Junior Neighbourhood Wardens being asked to spy on their neighbours - all I can see is that the schemes are encouraging kids to pick up litter and clean up their environment and support the grown up wardens - who I daresay you see as Waffen SS - but actually most people of all parties and none see them as performing a valuable role.

There was hard evidence of Saddam having WMDs at one time - go and ask in Fallujah. He admitted to having them after the Kuwait war and Blick made it absolutely clear that they were not all accounted for.

The treatment of Walter Wolfgang was wrong and everyone has admitted that it was. But mistreating someone for shouting someone down is not the same as curtailing free speech. I see no shortage, whatsover, of people speaking out against the Labour Party

Your comparison with Burma is facile in the extreme - and I have family members who have lost their lives to other tyrannies.

And I didn't make any claims one way or the other about whether others were ignoring authoritarian tendencies within the Tory Party (and the real lesson of Orwell is that all holders of power are susceptible to such tendencies - but this is not the place for Labour supporters to hold the Government to account - there are plenty of other places where we are much more likely to be heard). I merely made the comment that I would like to hear more about Cameron's views on the subject of liberty (and most other things for that matter) - and believe it or not I don't always disagree with 100% of the little that he has said.

(I acknowledge I misread your original post re spying on parents - but reading drivel does have that effect sometimes - more cockup rather than conspiracy however)

CityUnslicker said...

TB - I admire your determination to stick with us dissenters here.

However I offer you no comfort. the idea that somehow Brown should have a chance anew to prove himself is not a goer.

he has been in joint power for 10 years. We know what he wanted to do and then what he did.

You often refer to what other people think as normal (re juvenile patrolling for example). However when we use this on Gordon it is not very flattering. His 'vision' speech at the conference was followed by the Tory conference.

The polls flipped spectacularly. I would see this as strong evidence as to who provides currently the best vision. To accuse Cameron and the Tories of saying nothing is just silly; many things they have said in the last month or two have been instantly adopted as Government policy!

Anonymous said...

"You are just losing any sense of proportion"

I bet thats what the first Jews said when they were sent to Dachau - Arbeite Macht Frei, right?

Take a look at the Terrorist Act 2001 and the Civil Contingencies Act and ask yourself how big a bomb would a rogue government need to detonate in, say Cheltenham, before both Acts were used to their full force? We have allowed them to sign themselves up for the very tools they need to take full control, on the basis of a terrorist "threat" that so far has killed 1% of the number of people killed on the roads.

Read some Gramsci, read the Terrorist Act, read the Civil Contigencies Act, read the ID Card Bills and tell me there is nothing to worry about. And where would the Army be if we needed them?

When I was at University I don't remember a single Tory or Liberal telling me what my political views should be. But I did have a tutor that was a member of the Labour Party and extolled the virtues of Marxism. He regularly admonished me for reading the wrong newspapers and told me of his wonderful trips to the Soviet Union where everything was just perfect. I was an engineering student, so I hate to think what goes on with these 60s radicals in other university departments.

They have socialism in Burma, of course. The "Burmese Road to Socialism". Industry is a corrupt western ideology and people should go back to the fields. An excuse to destroy the middle classes, their biggest threat. They forced many out, killed others and most they kicked out of their professions. The health service collapsed as all the doctors work as bellboys in hotels. Socialism gives everyone an equal share of poverty, misery and despair. No one would vote for it so it has to be forced on the people. Gramsci knew this, but he preferred the gradual, back-door approach. Did you know that both Prodi and Barroso were former Marxists? Prodi is alleged to have been a KGB informer, by Russian dissidents. Interesting. Amyway, so what. Not much I can do about it.

You might say capitalism is just as bad. But Gramsci knew the people actually like a bit of capitalism, which is why it couldn't be defeated through democratic means.

tory boys never grow up said...


I'm not trying to get you or Nick to love Gordon Brown - since if you believe in Doublespeak you can read whatever you want into his words and will. The finer point if you want to appreciate it is if you look at Brown's speech it is actually quite surprising in the change in tone (and the specific steps it indicates)from what went before. It isn't a complete change of tack (that was never going to happen) - but actually Brown has raised the hurdle for himself - and I honestly think has said some things that have been rather too much taken for granted.

On the other hand - instead of reading the fine detail - you could just carry on believing that Brown is a totalitarian Stalinist.


You continue to have lost any sense
of proportion - and your reference to Arbeit Macht Frei is little short of odious and really is an insult to its victims. If you look at history even quite innocuous laws can be used to awful effect if the intent is there (look at the Soviet Union if you need examples) - and while there is always a need for constant vigilence the laws concerned are not being abused in the manner you suggest and I see absolutely no intent to do so.

As for the Labour Party being a Marxist conspiracy this just betrays you ignorance of its history both recent and current. Personally, I am a social democratic and not a Marxist, Gramscian or otherwise. I did get further than Harold Wilson in reading Capital but my economics are Keynesian (very much like Brown indeed). As for your comment about my showing my partisanship - well it took a real intellectual to spot that didn't it!

As for Tories not telling us what our political views should be you seem to forget a certain Prime Minister who told us there was no alternative.

PS Remember to check under your bed tonight.

Nick Drew said...

Well indeed, TB: & this was meant as a bit of a Hallowe'en joke-post in the first place !

Anyhow: yes, I can see with my own eyes he's spouted some high-minded stuff, raised the bar, if you like, in his clunky way. I shall treasure every gem and hope to see him either walk the walk or eat his words some day etc etc.

But what new vitamins will he be taking from now on, that will make his future deeds any more consistent with these ideals than his shocking conduct in the past ?

And when will you, TB, find yourself forced to accept the empirical evidence, that Brown is Just Not Up To It ? (remember the Ballad of Gordon and Polly - it comes to you all eventually !)

Have a nice weekend, folks

Anonymous said...

The Labour Party is not a conspiracy per se, but it is infiltrated by numerous Marxists who, using the principles espoused by Gramsci, saw it as a way to impose their views on society via the back door, the Communist Party of Great Britain having never had any influence at all. Militant Tendency was the most obvious indication of this infiltration but far from the only one. My grandfather, who was very active in the Labour movement in its earliest day, could have told you that. He was a Methodist and part of the backbone of the party of those days - but of course that was along time ago. Orwell understood that too - that was why in '1984' he described the totalitarian government as English Socialism (Ingsoc) - a betrayal of the democratic socialist revolution signalled by the arrival of the Atlee government of the time.

There is no conspiracy. You don't need a conspiracy, just a large number of like-minded people in the right places. A "confluence of self-interest". Looking for a conspiracy will get you knowhere. All the public sector jobs are advertised in Britains most left-wing newspaper - a paper where Andrew Murray continues to write a regular column (he's very fond of the goverment of North Korea). It just takes a significant number of people in the right places to do nothing when a socialist government decides that democracy is not for them.

The Jews at Dachau went there honestly believing that "Work would make them free". A couple of years proving what good German citizens they could be and they would be free again. Self deluded you see, they simply didn't want to believe how bad their situation could be, despite the evidence of history that most of the time humanity has been crushed under the boot of its leaders. We don't either, which makes us susceptible to repeating history in the same way.

The Terrorism Act has already been 'misused' - just ask Walter Wolfgang. The people couldn't believe that he could ever be considered a terrorist - but the police knew that under the act he could be, since the definition of terrorist is not part of the Act. Anybody expressing dissent can be included. Read it for yourself. There are plenty of dissections of it on the net too. Why did the government vote for itself such a tool, when its scope is so broad it can be used in almost any situation, and when the threat is so small? Why did so many Labour MPs go along with it despite such strong opposition? And what of the Civil Contingencies Act that allows the government to set aside all our laws including the need for elections and the Bill of Rights - why was it so keen on such a thing?

The economy is coming unstuck just like in the 70s. The people will not allow Labour to make the same mistake a third time. They would never win another election. It is the end of the democratic Labour movement - so what would an undemocratic Labour movement have to lose by disposing of democracy?

Dr David Kelly was found dead in a field. Suicide they said. But no blood according to the paramedics that attended the scene, and no fingerprints on the knife he reputedly used to take his own life. No proper autopsy and no proper inquest at the insistence of the establishment. Intersting isn't it?

There are no Reds under my bed - they are right out in the open, more so than ever. CND openly has a communist in the chairwomans seat, so does the Stop the War coalition. The BBC is full of 'former' Marxists.

Still, we wait and see what will happen. It is all we can do. At least on this island they are more likely to drive out dissenters than exterminate them....

Nick Drew said...

Wow this is becoming quite an epic thread

BTW, I swallowed HG's lure and he result is at

tory boys never grow up said...


Of course Margaret Thatcher had a number of "former" marxists among her advisers.

It's funny how despite us being likely to drive out dissenters - we still appear (quite rightly) to be very attractive to those seeking political asylum.

As someone who spent a lot of time opposing Militant Tendency and a long standing member of the Labour Party (with good Methodist routes going back to the Chartists) your analysis of the LAbour Party is quite frankly complete drivel.

tory boys never grow up said...

It is of course totally incorrect to say that the Terrorist Act does not define what a terrorist is - it does in section 40 (see link)

Everyone concerned has of course admitted that it was not correct to use the Act to detain Wolfgang when he tried to enter Conference after his credentials had been removed - there is always a danger of Police acting beyond their powers, but of course yopu are silent about the potentail carnage which has been avoided when they have acted within their powers under the Terrorist Act.

Anonymous said...

@TB: It was never meant to be an analysis of the Labour Party - it was ana analysis of the radical left - so that is another straw man you have created. Number 5 I think in this thread alone. Sits nicely alongside ad hominem number two - previously I was adious and now I am talking drivel. Tomorrow I will be a racist and a homophobe I expect....

So much for free speech.

Anyway, feel free to actually deal with any of the points I have raised. You could start with this new one, from the said Terrorist Act -

1) A person in a public place commits an offence if he—
(a) wears an item of clothing, or
(b) wears, carries or displays an article,
in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.

In other words, if you dress like a terrorist you can be treated like one. (You might want to give those combat trousers to Oxfam....)

tory boys never grow up said...

"The Labour Party is not a conspiracy per se, but it is infiltrated by numerous Marxists who, using the principles espoused by Gramsci, saw it as a way to impose their views on society via the back door, the Communist Party of Great Britain having never had any influence at all."

Make your mind up is this an analysis of the Labour Party or a "straw man" of your creation. Personally, I still think it is drivel.

I said your reference to "Arbeit Macht Frei" was odious. This is something you compounded further by saying that "The Jews at Dachau went there honestly believing that "Work would make them free". This is just not historically correct - I recently saw a film at the Caen Memorial museum demonstrating how your view was something that was created for a Nazi propaganda film - and how any Jews were threatened with beatings or worse if they did not perform or ate any of the food put on display. And you accused the Government of rewriting history?

Re your current question - the words "reasonable suspicion" may offer a hint. How exactly would you deal with shoe bombers etc - you will of course say this is a "straw man" - but unfortunately they do exist.

You have of course, ignored my correction of your previous misstatement that the Act contained no definition of a terrorist. I suspect it would be equally easy to dismantle many of your other arguments - but for the meantime I can think of much better uses of my time.


Anonymous said...

This is what Amnesty International has to say about the Terrorism Act 2000. You will notice that whilst the Act does indeed have a "definition" it is in fact so wide as to encompass practically anybody in political protest (this is before you consider the Home secretaries powers to declare organisations as 'proscribed')

It has already been used several times to stop anti-Iraq war protestors that would normally be considered peaceful legitimate demonstrators.

I think I would deal with a shoe-bomber by condeming him for having a bomb in his shoe - not for "behaving in a manner likely to attract suspicion" which would strike me as something straight from Monty Python if it weren't for the 28days in gaol that could ensue (60days now being proposed).

You have seemed to have made my point for me regarding Arbeite Macht Frei. The Nazis told the Jews that the concentration camps were for their own good. They believed them - so there was remarkably little resistance. Which parallels what we are seeing today - our civil liberties are being dramatically curtailed with unprecedented attacks on the constitution, but because the government tells us it is for our own good we believe them. We are trusting souls. But democracy and liberty are fragile things - mostly humanity has had to make do without them.

I have absolutely no doubt that the Labour Party is full of well-meaning people. Frank Field is one of them, regularly speaking out about the plight of the poor, and the working classes (Frank is not a former Marxist, ironically he is a former Tory). But the NuLabour cabinet has never much cared for Frank, they don't like the way he speaks. But the question is whether the Labour Party is in the grip of a cabal of authoritarians that have given up on democracy, or may be about to. Lets face it, Brown is untested on this score being a PM that was neither elected by the people nor even by his own party.

If I was Brown, I think I would be able to justify finding a way to put the Civil Contingencies Act into action. I would argue that any economic problems hurting my popularity were the result of greedy American capitalists and therefore losing an election would be unfair to me. Problem is, that if you start justifying your actions like this you end up like Robert Mugabe, slowly becoming more corrupt over time and forced to clamp down ever more severely on dissenters. (He's another Marxist of course...).

Meanwhile Liberty Brown is talking about extending the right to detain these "terrorist" without charge for 56 days instead of 28 - so I think we can see he has all the integrity of a snake-oil salesman.

Nick Drew said...

If you are still out there, TB, have a look at Spyblog in a spare moment

The assemblage of powers NuLab is taking unto themselves is pretty scary (and yes, where were the Opposition ?)

Anonymous said...

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