It is an established fact that when the state gives powers to its organs – they being comprised of fallible humans – that they will misuse them. Give an inch, take a mile. Thus anti-terrorism laws are used against Iceland to seize assets in a dispute over a failed bank; plane spotters are harrassed because they take photographs of an aircraft of which the MoD publishes zillions of photos; local authorities spy on residents bins; mothers reading out the names of killed soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan at the Cenotaph are arrested for unlawful protest within a square mile of Parliament; I am stooped at a tube station and required to give my name and address to officers for no reason other than they have the right to demand it under the Terrorism Act 2000 i.e. they have no evidence or even suspicion that I am doing anything wrong so it is guilt until proven innocent.

So repeal Civil Contingencies Act 2004 that confers dictatorial powers on an individual minister in times of emergency without any objective test of whether the powers are called for, without appeal and without subsequent audit and accountability (i.e. no minister has anything to fear from enacting the provisions).

Restore the rights of trial by jury (don't rely on precedent like the Northern Ireland Diplock courts – that was just the thin end of the wedge) in all circumstances.

Repeal Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 provision banning non-Police authorised demonstrations within square mile of Parliament. Just as religions shuld be big enough and bad enough to handle criticism (and please repeal those laws that restrc that too), so a democracy of hundreds of years should be able to cope with a few spontaneous demos.

Canada manages to keep to one day's detention without charge, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand and Germany have two-days, Denmark and Norway have three-day limits. From the Mother of parliaments and the land of Magna Carta, it is 28 days. Outrageous. It causes the authorities to 'try it on'. As evidenced by the small number of Muslim suspects detained under anti-terrorism legislation who are ever actually charged which creates ill-feeling in the Muslim community and hampers their support for anti-terror activities.

Why is this idea important?

Restore trust and faith in the rule of law, our ancient rights and in government.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.