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Becoming a police state

PoliceTony Blair wants to introduce legislation that will give the police the legal prerogative to stop anyone at any time for questioning, regardless of whether they have, or are suspected of, doing anything wrong. Should we fail to co-operate, we will be charged.

This will remove the right of citizens to go about their lives unhindered by the police. It removes the long-held principle of policing by consent. It fundamentally and irreversibly changes the nature of justice in the UK. It extends a two-tier system of control from prisons to the nation as a whole. Altogether, it just isn’t a good idea.

It’s such a bad idea, that outside of the Reid-Blair partnership, it’s hard to find anyone who supports the idea. Peter Hain – cabinet minister and deputy leadership candidate – has all but come out against it, the Lib Dems are against it, and the Conservatives are leaning in the same direction.

Yet despite the obvious problems with criminalising a nation, this plan has somehow made it to the stage of public consultation. Somehow, there’s a worrying disconnect between the top of government and the people – The government are hell-bent on winning an illogical war on ideology, while the people would quite like to stick with centuries of precedent of how a free country is run.

Gordon Brown has, of course, disappeared, and so cannot comment on this plan. But for the sake of us all, I hope his heads more screwed on than Blair’s, or I just don’t know where this madness will end…

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from leon

    19.08, 27/05/2007

I just don’t know where this madness will end…

I think we both know where this will end…

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    21.49, 27/05/2007

Do we?

Comment from Mort Karman

    01.03, 28/05/2007

All the infamous dictators used and still use alleged threats to national security to justify oppression and loss of freedom by citizens. By the time time they get through telling it it is the duty of every good fellow countryman to not only put up with this loss of rights, but to approve of it. We can not have rights without responsibilities and people have to be responsible. But this kind of thing was supposedly stopped back in the days of King John.

Comment from Ian

    13.33, 02/06/2007

It difficult to know how to react to this news -clearly we need to balance the right of people to go about their daily business, against helping the police do their important work. I believe that the right to silence is an important element of life -this effectively impeaches you for failing to answer questions when asked. I wonder what the benefit of this is. Why would the police want to question someone who they don’t suspect of committing a crime? From where I’m sitting, the whole affair reaks of New Labour and their infatuation with cumbersome, extensive and wasteful legislation.

This type of legislation seems to be the executive, legislature and judiciary trying to push us, under the premise of “protecting freedom”, into some type of mini-dicatorship. Or maybe I’m being slightly melodramatic.

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