Thursday, January 27, 2011

Control orders lite

During the UK election campaign last year, both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats ran on a platform of restoring civil liberties undermined by Labour, and promised to scrap the control order system. And now, in government, they've done the opposite and retained it. Oh, sure, the conditions are weaker, with victims subject to only 10 hours per day of electronically tagged house arrest rather than 24, but it is still, at its heart, a system of punishment without trial imposed on secret "evidence" at the whim of the Home Secretary. And that is something which ought to be absolutely unacceptable in a democracy.

The good news is that the UK is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, and has written it into domestic law through the Human Rights Act. The existing control order regime has been declared unlawful by judges as a result, and the same will hopefully happen to the new one.