"Tony Blair's Government has quietly and systematically taken power from Parliament and the British people"

Martin Dittus · 2006-06-29 · a new world, commentary · write a comment

Today in the online edition of The Indepentent: "Blair laid bare: the article that may get you arrested", by Henry Porter.

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, is astonished by Blair's Labour Party: "If I had gone on the radio 15 years ago and said that a Labour government would limit your right to trial by jury, would limit - in some cases eradicate - habeas corpus, constrain your right of freedom of speech, they would have locked me up."

Indeed they would. But there's more, so much in fact that it is difficult to grasp the scope of the campaign against British freedoms. But here goes. The right to a jury trial is removed in complicated fraud cases and where there is a fear of jury tampering. The right not to be tried twice for the same offence - the law of double jeopardy - no longer exists. The presumption of innocence is compromised, especially in antisocial behaviour legislation, which also makes hearsay admissible as evidence. The right not to be punished unless a court decides that the law has been broken is removed in the system of control orders by which a terrorist suspect is prevented from moving about freely and using the phone and internet, without at any stage being allowed to hear the evidence against him - house arrest in all but name.

I'm a little frustrated to read this, even though it's just another version of the well-know tale in our days of prevailing truthiness -- check out the article to also read examples of how authors of such "revealing" journalistic pieces are nowadays getting pressured by their government to Stop It.

The German government with former Minister of the Interior (and former trial lawyer for German RAF members) Otto Schily was not that different. If not in their means (I believe we still have due process, but I'm not so sure), then in their attitute towards authority.

Strange how Governments these days seem to react to the Modern Age, regardless of their political background: with a revival of authoritarian processes.

We finally live in an age where collaborative and social processes on a very large scale are finally feasible, and these guys bring back a weird form of feudalism and secret societies.

(For a while now I've been thinking about how the representative systems of our democracies are more and more obsolete, and should be replaced by systems that integrate people who care, as opposed to those who are simply getting paid to do the job. Maybe more on that later.)

But I'm glad that some members of The Press are still doing their job, even if it seems to be getting riskier every day to simply tell it like it is, on all sides of the Atlantic. (Hm, "risky" is probably not the right word. Getting flamed by your government for documenting what they do is only harmful if you actually believe in their truthiness. But then, most people do seem to believe the flames -- just watch how often "Times of War" gets used as an American discussion stopper.)

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