Sunday, April 23, 2006

on pre-emptive justice and the burning of witches

Get thee behind me, Blair:

He outlines controversial new steps, ranging from seizing assets from suspected drug dealers - which could see anyone stopped with more than £1,000 having the money confiscated - to draconian new restrictions on the movements of those suspected of involvement in organised crime.

Even if they are not convicted of a crime and there is insufficient evidence to try them, suspects could be banned from associating with certain individuals or travelling to certain places, in order to disrupt trades such as human trafficking.

Blair went further in describing the new 'lake-based' justice system which will replace 'innocent until proven guilty.' "It's very simple," he said, "if the suspect drowns then they're not a witch."

Slightly more coherent comment on the exchange between Blair and Henry Porter from Liberty from which these new plans emerge can be found over at Tim Worstall's place.

I think I can predict a majority of blogospheric opinion when I say that no-one's buying this shit anymore. My most charitable reading of Blair's reasoning is that it's an extension of the 'something must be done' school of logic: shit, there are terrorists and we can catch more of them if we tag every man, woman and child - and even though it's an incredibly illiberal and costly idea, something must be done.

He's a fool, and a dangerous one at that.

EDIT - See Blair's version of the Abolition of Parliament Bill comprehensively fisked over at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is another possible explanation. Blair promised to reform the education system - remember "education, education, education" - and then caved in to opposition from the leftist educational establishment and Old Labour backbenchers. Same with health and just about everything else. He knows he can't beat them because they know he lacked the nerve to do so even at the height of his popularity (remember that?). The same kind of establishment dominates the justice system, which is why it is so politically correct and so averse to putting violent criminals in prison, and there is little chance of Blair persuading them to accept any change to the status quo either.

So the "most charitable" explanation is actually that Blair's behaviour is the result of his personal and political weakness. He can't reform the existing system so he is trying to bypass it, with an incoherent mixture of dangerous new powers and populist gestures. That's why the government can be promoting draconian anti-crime and anti-terrorism measures while simultaneously allowing people who commit assault or criminal damage to be let off with a caution.

He may genuinely have good intentions - but we all know which road they pave.

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