There you are, amiably wandering down the street, and if a policeman so wishes, he can not only stop and search you, he can insist that you divulge where you have been and where you are going. If you have more than £1,000 in cash on you it can be confiscated, you having to prove where you got it from and what you were going to do with it: for the assumption is that such cash amounts are the proceeds or enablers of crime and so the burden of proof reverses. Finally, if you keep silent John Reid wants this to be taken as proof of your guilt.
A free, happy and liberal land now, isn't it?
(Your humble Devil seems to remember writing a furious article at the time, but I can't seem to find it, unfortunately.)
Of course, these sorts of measures were only to be used to stop eeeevil drug dealers from living off their ill-gotten gains, right? I mean, who could possibly object to evil drug dealers having their money stolen off them? Even if they haven't been convicted, they are still evil drug dealers. Although no one has proven that they are drug dealers, the police say that they are and the police never lie.
In fact, the police are the most honest and wonderful people walking the streets today; gone are those embarrassing times when the police fitted people up for crimes that they hadn't committed and then got caught, eh?
Well, all of that is just as well for not only will the police be able to steal your money off you for no good reason at all, but now they get to keep half of it too. Timmy summarises it pretty well, I think.
So those confiscation orders of people as yet unconvicted of a crime.
They now apply to anyone carrying over £1,000 in cash.
And the police force prosecuting them gets 50% of the dosh.
Nothing can go wrong with this, can it?
No, nothing at all. Not in any way. After all, it is only eeeeevil drug-dealers who are going to be affected by this law, eh? Just as it's only eeeevil brown people who are going to be affected by Jacqui's constant attempts to monitor the our communications, document our every movement, and lock us away for six weeks without charge.
A little while ago, I wrote a post outlining the government's divide and rule strategy.
It's one of the oldest strategies in the book: divide and rule. And few governments in living memory have been so adept at it as NuLabour: it has been at the heart of many of their policies. They have divided the peoples of the Union; they have divided, through QUANGOs and censuses emphasising differences, black, brown and white peoples of the Union. Through jealousy they have divided rich and poor.
"Fear not," says the government, "for the state—and only the state—can save you!" And then they proceed to divide some more. Devolved governments (but with little power), harsher sentences for "racist" crimes, and the stealing of more money from "the rich" to hand out as gifts to the poor.
The brilliant bit about this tactic, as applied by NuLabour, is that it encourages people to think of each other group not as fellow human beings, but as people below or different from them. "They aren't a person like I am, they are just a toff/darkie/Muslim/Scot/Sassenach/Taff/idiot, etc."
And so people get angry and demand solutions, they demand concessions for their own particular group and guess what?—the state can help you, friend, for the state is the friend of everyone. The state is the righter of all wrongs, the great arbiter, the generous donor of largesse. And as each group is appeased so the jealousy and resentment of the others are inflamed and they demand special treatment for themselves and more shoddy treatment for "those others".
And so it is that the government have been able to put through some disgusting laws, by aiming them at groups that the other groups dislike. 42 days detention without trial?—well, it'll only apply to terrorists, and they're all Muslims or at the very least darkies, eh?
The scrapping of double jeopardy, habeas corpus and trial by jury?—well, that'll only apply to the eeevil criminals (no matter that they have yet to be proven such). Oh, and the darkies, of course. And the poor.
The confiscation of your assets before you are even found guilty, or reversing the burden of proof for the confiscation of assets? Well, that'll only apply to drugdealers and the like.
And none of these people are really human, are they? Not like me.
My theory has been reinforced by this comment by Gareth.
"The great pity is that the majority of the British people seem quite happy to encourage the government to curtail our liberty."
You've got that wrong. It's always someone else's liberty! Minorities. Other political parties. Smokers. Icelandic bankers. Never me. Oh no.
And the British people are complicit in all of this. And if you think that we are all too sensible, here in the blogosphere, to endorse this kind of merry removal of liberties in support of our own personal dislikes then you are sorely mistaken. One only needs to look at the comments on this post, or this post, in support of Boris's back on drinking on public transport.
On a similar note and on a similar subject, Vindico quotes a speech that is entirely pertinent.
"...while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror"
That film may be fiction, but its message is pointed and entirely fucking correct.
So, look into that mirror: are you prepared to protect the liberty of those whom you dislike as well as your own? And will you support those who do?