Saturday, November 12, 2005

Dodgy Dossier mark II

Blair can't resist those dodgy dossiers, this time from the Association of Chief Police Officers. Simon Jenkins writes:

Recent evidence suggests that what is needed is not more power, which the police have in abundance and sometimes abuse, but more intelligence and resources in the right place...

Instead this matter was so chaotically handled that the balance between civil liberty and police power was lost in the shouting... The Andy Hayman 90-day dossier was treated by Blair with the same biblical reverence that he once showered on Alastair Campbell’s notorious variations on a 45-minute theme.

By Wednesday the prime minister appeared to believe that only 90-day detention stood between Britain and the imminent arrival of Hitler’s storm troops. Charles Clarke, the home secretary, said it would be “obscene” not to go for 90 days in the immediate aftermath of the July 7 memorial service, lending weight to the suspicion that the St Paul’s event had been politically orchestrated. Nor did Clarke rebut The Sun’s absurd allegation that those voting for less than 90 days were “traitors”.

And Andrew Sullivan hits the nail on the head on Blair's proposed "religious hatred" law:

In Britain new laws forbidding the defamation of someone’s religion are an affront on one key freedom that distinguishes us from theocracies — the right to challenge theological dictates. There are already laws banning speech that amounts to incitement to violence. The new unnecessary law is sharia-lite. If we are fighting theocratic enemies, why are we simultaneously inching closer and closer towards them?

Reminds me of the comment from Polly Toynbee that having a large number of Church of England clergy installed in the House of Lords is one of the best arguments for its reform.

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