Police State : UK : Inspector Blair calls


Richard Moore


  Inspector Blair calls

There are only so many nails that the coffin of Britain's
parliamentary democratic state can take. At some point you
have to pronounce the coffin well and truly sealed and the
body ready for burial. New Labour's fourth anti-terrorism Bill
in five years takes us to the very edge of the grave.

The modern parliamentary state evolved in more than 300 years
of conflict and struggle for basic rights. It incorporated
earlier achievements, including the Magna Carta of 1215 which
declared that an accused person had to be charged and brought
to court. In its place, an authoritarian police state is
rapidly coming into existence that targets dissent and
opposition of all kinds.

Only police states take powers to hold people without charge
for three months. But that is what the Blair regime is
proposing. And why? Because, claims Blair, the police have
made an "unarguable" case for changing the law from 14 to 90
days. So that's it - the police now determine state policy.
The same incompetent police who operate an illegal
shoot-to-kill policy that produced the execution of an
innocent Brazilian worker. All this is too frightening even
for the Tories, with David Davis saying that a police briefing
had not convinced him of the need for prolonged detention.

Holding suspects for three months, as former senior judges
have pointed out, amounts to internment without trial. Judges
ought to watch what they say, however, because they are next
in line for the crackdown if New Labour gets its way. Blair
has warned the judiciary that the "rules of the game" have
changed and that judges should bear this in mind when, for
example, hearing deportation appeals by alleged terror

Blair's challenge to the judiciary is an historic one, as the
new Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips hinted at when he said:
"Occasionally one feels that an individual politician is
trying to browbeat the judiciary, and that is wholly
inappropriate." In 1689, the Bill of Rights finally brought to
an end almost half a century of struggle between parliament
and monarchy. This had involved a bitter civil war, the
execution of Charles I, a period of republican government
under Cromwell and the deposing by parliament of James II.

The main purpose of the Bill of the Rights was unequivocally
to declare illegal various practices of James II. Among such
practices proscribed were the royal prerogative of dispensing
with the law in certain cases and interfering in the course of
justice in others. Then in 1701, the Act of Settlement made it
impossible for judges to be removed by ministers or executive
action alone, confirming their relative independence within
the state.

But New Labour does not favour a system where the rule of law
itself prevails over pressure from the government. That was
clear when Iraq was invaded on a pretext, brushing aside
international law in the process. When all this history is
under threat, as it is from Inspector Blair's regime, it is a
sure sign that the parliamentary democratic state itself is no
longer considered appropriate by our rulers. The absolutism
once claimed by monarchy is now championed by New Labour.
Judges shall do what they're told, or else.

New Labour's latest authoritarian Bill is another twist in the
spiral of an intensifying crisis which pits alienated
terrorists against the political representatives of global
capital. The requirement for capital is to increase the
penetration of unconquered parts of the world so as to sustain
profit-making production. This corporate-driven globalisation,
politically choreographed by Bush and Blair, has alienated
Muslims and many others, undermining their traditional ways of
life. Intensifying the crisis through draconian laws only
leaves the population at large even more vulnerable to terror
attacks. Blair's Bill show that the present state is incapable
of either tackling the underlying issues or protecting its

This new Bill will also be used as part of the growing armoury
against any and all forms of opposition to the corporate
state's policies and actions. An 82-year old heckler was
detained under existing anti-terror laws when he was thrown
out of New Labour's conference. Resistance to New Labour's
policies and actions is certain to grow, compelling the regime
to jettison every political freedom and human right that the
struggle for democracy has produced.

Existing political and economic structures are a real barrier
to further human progress. They cannot tackle global
catastrophes like the ecological crisis and provoke terror
attacks driven by martyrdom, hatred and destruction. A World
to Win's case for creating a democratic, sustainable society
based on need and not corporate profit is now stronger and
more pressing than ever before.

14 October 2005 


"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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