I was astounded last night, whilst watching the BBC`s light hearted political programme “This Week”, when Diane Abbott the left leaning Labour MP and BBC lovey slipped in a comment about the Conservatives, “many Tories hate the European Convention on Human Rights because it is foreign, and that many Tories are deeply authoritarianism and they resent the European Convention because of that” (authoritarianism). Needless to say this comment was not challenged by either the presenter Andrew Neil or the other team member ex Tory MP and erstwhile candidate for the conservative leadership, Michael Portillo.
Henry Porter writing in the Independent today ”In the guise of fighting terrorism and maintaining public order, Tony Blair’s Government has quietly and systematically taken power from Parliament and the British people. The author charts a nine-year assault on civil liberties that reveals the danger of trading freedom for security – and must have Churchill spinning in his grave”
“Last year – rather late in the day, I must admit – I started to notice trends in Blair’s legislation which seemed to attack individual rights and freedoms, to favour ministers (politicians appointed by the Prime Minister to run departments of government) over the scrutiny of Parliament, and to put in place all the necessary laws for total surveillance of society.
There was nothing else to do but to go back and read the Acts – at least 15 of them – and to write about them in my weekly column in The Observer”
“if rights have been eroded in the land once called “the Mother of Parliaments”, it can happen in any country where a government actively promotes the fear of terrorism and crime and uses it to persuade people that they must exchange their freedom for security.
Blair’s campaign against rights contained in the Rule of Law – that is, that ancient amalgam of common law, convention, and the opinion of experts, which makes up one half of the British constitution – is often well concealed. Many of the measures have been slipped through under legislation that appears to address problems the public is concerned about.”
Others have been slipped though under innocent looking legislation which itself was introduced after a media campaign, how often did we hear ministers talking about the drunkenness in society, when they decided they needed to do something about it we had the 2002 licensing act. An act which in no way addresses the concerns voiced previously by minister but does move the whole of the licensing regime into the civil sphere, which can be controlled by government ministers. It also gives the power of entry and search of any property with force if needed, without a search warrant being required to any policeman, it also undermines the English Common Law concept that we are all equal under the law, by allowing the police or local council officers to go on fishing expeditions, that is sending under age youngsters into a licensed premises with the intention of purchasing alcohol.
Not all Labour MP`s are as blinkered as Diane Abbott or the BBC; Bob Marshall-Andrews – a Labour MP says of Blair and Nu-Labour “Underneath, there is an unstable authoritarianism which has seeped into the [Labour] Party.”