This PM does not understand the meaning of the word Freedom

This morning we hear that the Prime Minister is offering more of our money to try to appease his backbenchers who disagree with him over extended detention without trial. Apparently people locked up for weeks who turn out to be innocent will be offered £3000 a day, as if that were sufficient compensation for the ignominy and frustration of being locked up for a month and a half, cut off from your job, your friends and your family. If you run your own business you would be bankrupt by the time the state had decided it had made a mistake. It shows how desperate the PM is to try to win over his own side. It illustrates that they do at last realise that innocent people will be treated in this disgusting way by the government. It also shows a wider point – that Mr Brown now squanders and throws money at any problem, in the mistaken belief that money can buy him popularity.

Many of us who will vote against 42-day detention without charge or trial do so out of principle. We believe in Habeas Corpus. We were proud to be born in a country which had developed strong liberties for the subject over centuries, and can scarce believe that this Labour government is so careless of them. We have hated the incoming tide of European regulation and Napoleonic law, debauching and overwhelming important parts of our law codes. We have loathed the ever more intrusive state, sending us form after form, demanding tax after tax, and expecting us to drop everything when the inspector calls or the government statistician wishes to record us in yet another data bank. We are spied on continuously, watched over by 4.2 million government spy cameras, and may now even have the contents of our rubbish bins analysed by over-zealous councils. There is no sum of money you could offer as compensation to the badly treated to persuade us that the state should have yet more power to boss people around and take its time with its investigations.

This government does not know the meaning of the word FREEDOM. Its ignorance of history means it fails to grasp the skilful English settlement based on the presumption that someone is innocent until proven guilty, and we all have the right to know who accuses us of what if we are dragged into the criminal justice system. It also means that the government does not understand the peaceful but doughty resilience of many English people to overmighty government. The opinion polls and the Sun may think the further erosion of Habeas Corpus to be a good idea, but I know of no true born Englishman or woman who thinks he or his neighbour should be locked away for 42 days on the whim of authority with no good cause shown and no case brought before a magistrates court.

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8 Comments

  1. GeoffH
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Let Mr Brown be the first to be subjected to 42 days detention without charge.

    I think you'd find plenty of people willing to contribute towards the £3000 a day upon release.

  2. Acorn
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    John, please could you tell us when you get to see all the amendments made to the Bill, after it comes out of the Bill / Standing (???) committee?

    Dominic Grieve implied yesterday that the opposition does not have use of the drafting services available to the government for amendments. I have understood this correctly?

    As we have witnessed with other Acts, if the power exists some state apparatchic will use it – as this piece in the Daily Mail.

    " … Some councils have used the sweeping powers granted by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) more than 100 times in the last year to follow and watch residents or monitor their calls – often while dealing with the most minor of suspected offences …"

    We can expect the same outcome with this current Bill.

    Reply: No, the Opposition does not have access toofficial draftsmen to draft amendments. I usually see the amendments to the Bill on the day of the debate when they appear on the Order Paper.

  3. Stuart Mark Turner
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The opinion polls on such an issue can be misleading since as Hayek points out in the road to serfdom, that the public will vote for measures which take away freedoms by increments. This is the danger of looking at problems on a case by case basis rather than applying the rule of law blindly to all.

    For this reason it is important that the government is defeated on this issue today, no matter what assurances they may offer.

  4. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Like everything Brown does, this is no more than an attempt to get party political advantage. In this case he hopes to show that the Conservatives are soft on terror. He will spend any amount of taxpayers' money to get his own way and his approach far from being a principled one is quite the opposite. The man has one principle which is to keep him and Labour in office. Freedom for individuals is of no consequence and could never be allowed to get in the way. Looking at the argument for an increase in the time of custody without charge, so soon after the 28 days was brought in, also shows that this has become a continuing process. Parkinson's Law states that work expands to fill the time available and it won't be long before some police officers are asking for even more time. Why not put more officers on the case? It is surely the number of officer days that matters to the police. They can put more officers on the case and work 24 hour days. Do they do this? For the arrested individual, who is innocent and never charged, 42 days will seem like a very long time, very unjust and store up a lifetime of resentment.

  5. Brian
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Very well said John. Pride in our national struggle for Freedom is nothing our masters understand.

  6. mikestallard
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    "Ruit in servitutem populus Romanus"….. (Tacitus)
    The Roman people rushed into slavery.

  7. Adrian Peirson
    Posted June 11, 2008 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Disturbingly I think Brown and the EU do indeed know the Meaning of Freedom, this is precisely why these laws are coming in, the Despots in the EU and in Parliuament want them taken away so we the people cannot challenge the EU executive.

    A Senior Judge yesterday on Radio 4 Suggested that in some cases the right to trial by Jury may have to be abandoned.

    People think these laws only apply to terrorists, but they are wrong.

    How usefull will these safegaurds be if Brown decides to Invoke his enabling act, the civil contingencies Bill.

    We are heading towards rule by a Totalitarian regime, I do not believe these powers are reactions to events, they are by design.

    Only today I was playing pass the ball with my two children, in an off road layby a Police car Pulled up, three Officers got out, went to rear of the car then pulled out three machine guns, prepared them for use then sped off.

    I want armed Police off our streets.

    If there is not enough evidence to charge someone, then why have they been picked up at, if there is not enough evidence, then continue the surveillance.

    http://www.infowars.com

  8. revinkevin
    Posted June 12, 2008 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Well said this scrap of legilsation is not about being tough on terrorism it is about looking tough on terrorism.

    Another question is where will they put these people as they are letting out from gaols early the guilty as they have no room for them and yet the want to replace them with the innocent.

2 Trackbacks

  • […] Heffer in The Daily Telegraph, and taken note of some of comments penned after it, or the post submitted by John Redwood in his blog today, from which I quote; This government does not know the meaning of the word […]

  • […] John Redwood puts the case effectively against 42 days: This government does not know the meaning of the word FREEDOM. Its ignorance of history means it fails to grasp the skilful English settlement based on the presumption that someone is innocent until proven guilty, and we all have the right to know who accuses us of what if we are dragged into the criminal justice system. It also means that the government does not understand the peaceful but doughty resilience of many English people to overmighty government. The opinion polls and the Sun may think the further erosion of Habeas Corpus to be a good idea, but I know of no true born Englishman or woman who thinks he or his neighbour should be locked away for 42 days on the whim of authority with no good cause shown and no case brought before a magistrates court.  […]

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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