Saturday, August 06, 2005

 

Special Judges, smudging and fudging

When Mr Blair says he is prepared for "a lot of battles" with the courts and that "the rules of the game are changing" I can feel the ground starting to shake.

Perhaps it's just that I am.

The Independent today explains what the new terror laws are, how they are supposed to be implemented, and what critics say about them.

Are Mr Blair and co, after having first helped to create the conditions in which the mindless violence of frustration appeals to people, to be allowed to destroy the fairness and justice for which England has been respected for so long? If what we read is right, the actual bombers are cannon fodder, easily biddable and persuaded that a contempt for human values is justified by the quick fix of terror. Being too biddable is a sign of great weakness. There is no such thing as a quick fix. Both can lead to unforseen disaster.

The new measures can be seen here

In brief, "Special judges" may be appointed to hear cases such as control order applications. New grounds for deportation include "advocating violence in support of beliefs". The government is also looking at a police request to allow detention without charge for up to three months, instead of the current 14 days.

Much of this is to be introduced without legislation and proves that Human Rights legislation can be ripped up within moments when it suits the government.

As with the US and its wish to empty Guantanamo by sending prisoners back to places such as Saudi Arabia, the UK government is to "seek assurances" (on paper) that anyone deported won't be tortured.

All this is another of the Government's quick fixes and is full of possible implications for a very scary future for Britain. Terms like 'glorifying' can't be defined as easily as all that. A few days ago, Professor John Gardner, ( as quoted in previous blog) asked,

Decent judges are unlikely to be happy at the watering down and smudging of legal safeguards - just as Robert Bolt's Thomas More, in A Man for All Seasons, retorted memorably to Roper:

Mr Blair's solution to such worries? Easy. Cut the Gordian Knot of Human Rights. Just as he surrounds himself with biddable career politicians, he can appoint new and biddable judges. Not surprisingly, that other biddable one, the Lord Chancellor, is now to be expected to appoint more "special judges" quickly.



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