Sunday, November 13, 2005

The meat market of freedoms 

It would he an insult to the integrity of salami to describe the current slicing up of our civil liberties as ‘salami tactics’. That implies some intelligent design. Instead we stagger from debate to debate on disjointed bills without considering how it all adds up,.

Fore example, on January 1st legislation comes into force basically making all putative offences arrestable on the self-definition of the Police. Is this really irrelevant to powers on combating terror? Surely the implications of this must be debated as new legislation is proposed? Can’t say I have seen anything relevant. Separate current proposals on criminal evidence will alter the basis of investigation and proof. And there is the Terror act in all its frustrated ninety-day glory.

If we tried to do joined up government ( remember that phrase?) we might solve some of our problems on detention with judicious changes in the regulations on what is admissible evidence gathered after formal charge. We might find effective changes require surprisingly little new legislation.

But instead each measure comes up as if everything depends on the proposals of the moment. To change the meat-based metaphor it isn’t even rational butchery of our constitutional protections, more the hacking of iconic pounds of flesh to feed soundbites of fear.

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