buried deep within Tony Blair's labour party key note speech is a rather interesting (and frankly worrying) assertion that in its little old understated way, radically redefines the basis of liberty and citizenship in britain.
The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted. Don't misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety.
oh so, preventing innocent people from being arrested is still high on Tony's list of Important Things He Should Probably Do, but now its no longer primary. so if there appears to be a threat to our safety (say, a brazilian man in coat that's so last season) then its well and dandy that the foundation of civil liberties be discarded. and how exactly is it that we decide when we are and aren't living in safety?
It means a complete change of thinking.
too right it does tony. a thinking that allows the government carte blanche to rape the shit out of the criminal justice system by blowing some hot air about any clear and present danger that they might wish to construct.
it doesn't mean abandoning human rights; it means deciding who comes first.
possibly the most worrying of all. tony doesnt think we need to abandon human rights (so, no orange boiler suits and dirtied korans on the Isle of Man then), just fuck with them a little when they feel the need. and what control is there over when they feel the need?
none. none whatsover. if tony and his storm troopers think we're a threat, any of us, then innocent until proven guilty all such nonsense melts like an icecream on a sunbed. and that damp unpleasant puddle left over is the shameful remains of the british government's respect for its people.
oh and tony, in Government 'that noise around you' is, frustrating as it may seem, fairly importan. if you took the time to listen you'd realise that what you dismiss as noise is the sound off millions of angry people, angry at you, and the policies you are instituting in our name. and to imagine you 'just have to persevere with the things that really matter' shows the kind of blinkered arrogance that will truly be your legacy when you finally sweep out of the oval offi... i mean, 10 downing street.