Sunday, June 08, 2008

Things not to worry about

As a general rule that, people who support some new policy ought to have at least one good reason to support it.

Largely on this basis, and despite the fact that this means I'm on the same side on this one as John Major and Henry Porter amongst others, I'm with the minority of people who don't agree with the government that suspected terrorists should be detained for up to 42 days without being charged.

Matthew d'Ancona, writing in favour of 42 days in the Sunday Telegraph, reveals that government ministers have taken to quoting from Michael Gove's book 'Celsius 7/7'. That's a variant on the rule above, in that anyone quoting Michael 'Melanie Phillips lite' Gove certainly doesn't have a good argument to make.

This leads on to the comments, where the 'debate' between the 'readers' pits those who think the Muslims are taking over against those who think that the government, like all socialist regimes, are creating a police state. But amidst the gloom, there is this gem, from 'AndrewG':

"As if to prove a point, it appears that the Pakistani Ambassador to Norway regards people who draw cartoons as "terrorists"

There is the danger.
How long before Brown and chums give in to pressure from outside and start declaring anyone who dare to criticise islam as a "terrorist" ?"

And so the circle is squared, and racist and paranoid libertarian can once again be united. The government wants to detain suspected terrorists without charge for 6 weeks because it wants to lock up all the people who criticise Islam. Of course.


At 12:03 pm , Anonymous Harrythehorse said...

Much as I abhor the attempt to extend the period of pre-charge detention, I feel that Henry Porter's articles do my side of the argument no help at all. Porter always talks up his arguments and Sunday's piece was no exception when it characterised 42 days as a threat to democracy no less. The problem is that democracies are not necessarily liberal and just places in which to live. I think our democracy can withstand quite a lot of pointless authoritarian law making and remain a democracy. It just would not be the sort of place that many of us would care to live, except Dail Mail and Sun readers, perhaps. And even the Mail appears to be losing its instinctual support for the smack of hard lawmaking and the Sun has become the new Mail in this respect.

The thing that distresses me most about Labour's authoritarianism is its complete lack of rationality. Can anyone tell us what ID Cards are for? The National Identity Register? Why and is it really worth the 20 - 30 billion that informed opinion estimates as its final cost? A universal DNA register - where's the argument for it? Most arguments rapidly degrade into the usual if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear jeer.

My own view is that Labour authoritarianism is just a cancerous off-shoot from its reliance on managerialism to solve complex social problems and it will fail as assuredly as its managerialism has failed to deliver the goods in public services.


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