Thursday, November 16, 2006

Britain's petty authoritarianism

The British government is about to lay out its legislative programme for thenext year in the Queen's Speech, and it is expected to include another unhealthy does of authoritarian anti-terrorism legislation, including another stab at introducing 90 days detention without trial for terrorism suspects (because bothering to find people guilty, let alone charge them, before locking them up is so last century). Meanwhile, Home Secretary John Reid is also practicing authoritarianism on a pettier scale: he wants to evict "neighbours from hell" from their homes:

Mr Reid said he wanted to give police the immediate power to close down premises being used for drunken parties, raves, brothels or other persistent antisocial activity, and to "move away from the traditional view that justice has to involve going to court".

Or indeed any testing of the evidence or ability to put both sides of the story (a right fundamental in any justice system). Instead, this will be an instant punishment, akin to a parking fine - except that it involves throwing people out of their homes. It may be "swift", it may even be "effective" (at least at shuffling the underclass out of sight and out of mind) - but it sure as hell won't be "justice".


I guess there is a bit of the old anti-libiterian argument in here.

It is a certain sort of justice to know that the government will show me justice when it acts. but its a trivial sort if I dont get that justice elsewhere.

If we were talking freedom I would say I dont mind the government taxing me a little inorder to ensure that I have some social welfare net or a little bit of real freedom from the non goverment.

and in terms of security I could live with the government restricting a little bit of my rights IF they protect much more rights by preventing others from abusing them.

Im feeling rather more in that mood having seen a very large muscled man chase an asian family down the road in his car with the obvious intent of beating them, yesterday.

Posted by Genius : 11/16/2006 06:57:00 AM

I mean freedom from (the government) and freedom to (do thing in general without restrictions like 'not having enough food' or 'being stuck in a well') to borrow from Richard Chapell.

Posted by Genius : 11/16/2006 07:16:00 AM

"move away from the traditional view that justice has to involve going to court".

Orwell must be spinning in his grave.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/16/2006 12:17:00 PM