Friday, March 24, 2006

*(&^*&^%g Leg/Reg!

I had a chat a few weeks ago with a man who possessed these uncommonly coexistent characteristics:

1) He was extremely knowledgeable about politics
2) He thought Tony Blair's 'reshaping of politics' outweighed his legacy on Iraq/free speech/being a cunt.

Needless to say, that debate got quite heated as I attempted to'shine a light on the problems with each of these transgressions our conversation naturally turned to the Legislation and Regulatory Reform Bill (more here). I was smugly informed that 'proper democratic process' would ensure the necessary safeguards would be introduced. As you may have guessed the bugger worked in the office of Geoff Hoon.

I must report how pleasurable it was arguing with an insider whose arguments were just as indefensible face-to-face as they are on paper. He mentioned nothing but the party line on almost every topic.

Anyway, the Hoonite was wrong. As Unity reports on Liberty Central an amendment to Leg/Reg tabled by the opposition, which would have made certain acts of parliament sacrosanct, has been rejected by the government. Amongst those deemed unfit to be protected by the HMG: Habeas Corpus 1679 and 1872, Magna Carta 1215 and the Bill of Rights 1688.

What the hell is going on here? How can a piece of legislation masquerading as an attempt to cut red tape be so spectacularly and utterly totalitarian. And how long can Blair, the master of control freakery, keep up the pretence that this is simply a Cabinet Office initiative?

I cannot outlione how serious this is. Nothing from the government has substantively shown that this Bill will not go as far as it is feared. We must take a stand on this one. Go to Liberty Central to keep updated on the campaign and email/write to your MP, especially if Labour, and urge them to vote against this Bill. We cannot rely on the Lords to halt this slide into an Orwellian state.


Anonymous said...

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The Blackstock Boys said...

Hi, I just wanted to say that I happened upon this blog the other day and have not been able to get out of my mind a conversation I had with a guy called Simon at the flat I share with Matt Seymour. Are you he? And if so, here's saying a conciliatory and, hopefully, less smug hello from the "silly bugger of a Hoonite" you allege me to be!
Also, you're wrong. Blair's legacy will, I believe, rarely, if ever, be matched; and his earnest desire to protect our civil liberties in the face of international terrorists hell bent on causing destruction and mayhem to ordinary civilians (or, as they would prefer, "infidels") is brave and proper. Thank goodness this man of steely integrity and subtle discernment is at the helm of this great nation of ours, and not some fuzzy Chamberlain/Halifax-ite who would preference a populist, temporary policy of appeasement to massage his own enormous ego at the expense of everyone, including, one suspects, himself.
Hope to see you with Matt sometime soon, where we might conitinue this lively, interesting, and highly relevant discussion. It's time for this smug bugger to log off.

My fist of flounce said...

I'm delighted you managed to track me down! I realise our previous discussion was constrained by the convivilaity of our surroundings so I'm glad we're able to continue our debate online.

I agree that Blair's legacy will be salient in Britain's future: his moves to concentrate ever greater power into the hands of the executive will only be replealed by a prime minister of Gladstonian proportions.

I fail to see how the man is defending our civil liberties. Extra-judicial detentions and the proscription of non-violent groups seem to me to be disproportionate and ineffective means of tackling the terrorist threat. Furthermore, the risk of fomenting extremism as a result of these measures surely outweighs the benefits they purport to bring. Let us not forget, either, that the catalyst for Britain being a target for terrorism was the invasion of Iraq: more the result of Blair's pig-headed coat-tail clinging than the steely integrity and subtle discernment with which you endow him.

My definition of integrity would include protecting our constitutional freedoms, not using the terrorism as an opportunity to garner extra power for oneself. As for discernment, one can only hope you're right and that TB's 'long game' strategy of kowtowing to US foreign policy bears fruit. For now its hard to see that it is.

I would love to believe you, Gareth, so please give me details so that I might be able. Reshaping politics, as I pointed out you, is a morally neutral achievement by itself. If it tarnishes our right to live freely in a representative democracy, with clearly demarcated separation of powers, then it is anything but laudable.

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