Some months ago, whilst discussing the latest measures discouraging the sale of cigarettes, I noted that a huge number of the law passed by NuLabour had terrifying implications concerning what they did not say.
What they then do is to pass a law that allows them to go far, far further because, unlike the previous incarnation, this new clause doesn't define what the law actually is.
Each one of these clauses is, in effect, an Enabling Act in that it enables any designated minister to change the law without having to argue the case through Parliament—and thus ensuring that has no right to vote on it.
This is the really terrifying thing about NuLabour: they have pushed though thousands—tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands—of new laws, many of which contain these mini-Enabling Acts. And the Civil Contingencies Act is only the most egregious of these; there are others which allow ministers to remove our liberties on a whim.
Sure, they are far smaller matters, but taken together they all add up to an Executive wielding power with no brakes upon it: statutory instruments are bad enough and would, were your humble Devil in charge, be rendered illegal—these Enabling Clauses are, quite simply, the fence-posts for a totalitarian regime.
And, indeed, it is exactly this type of instrument that is being used to nod through one of the most terrifying, totalitarian laws that I have ever seen.
Draconian police powers designed to deprive crime barons of luxury lifestyles are being extended to councils, quangos and agencies to use against the public, The Times has learnt.
The right to search homes, seize cash, freeze bank accounts and confiscate property will be given to town hall officials and civilian investigators employed by organisations as diverse as Royal Mail, the Rural Payments Agency and Transport for London.
The measure, being pushed through by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, comes into force next week and will deploy some of the most powerful tools available to detectives against fare dodgers, families in arrears with council tax and other minor offenders.
The radical extension of the Proceeds of Crime Act, through a Statutory Instrument which is not debated by parliament, has been condemned by the chairman of the Police Federation.
And, again, your humble Devil predicted this, in a post entitled divide et impera—or "divide and rule".
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.
And that's how they get us; that's how they pass those laws. And, they say that they won't use them except in the most exceptional circumstances, and only against those people who aren't really human.
Except that, by the time that the laws have passed and everyone has forgotten about them, suddenly you find that they are not quite so exclusive as you might have thought—that they might, in fact, be used against you and not just against those nasty, inhuman drug-dealers.
In the case above, the Proceeds of Crime law had been used to bankrupt some fishermen—now it is going to be used to bankrupt you.
There is very little that I can say about this disgusting move, except to echo Timmy's comment.
Bye bye liberty, it was nice knowing you.
There is only one question that can possibly be asked now...
Are there enough trees in England to hang these people from, and enough rope to do it?