Rhetoric can be as important as laws in undermining civil rights. Tony Blair and his first two home secretaries openly advocated re-writing the 1951 Geneva Convention protecting refugees. Mr Blair went one step further with foolish talk of replacing the criminal justice system with a victims' justice system. The founding principle of the current system is that it does not favour either side but remains strictly independent, objective and neutral. Ministers have refused to recognise the dangers of Asbos, despite warnings by senior advisers. The data registrar has expressed concern about the dangers of "a surveillance society" should more information be allowed on the new ID cards. Labour's "tough on crime" laws helped push up prison numbers by 25,000 in a decade, compared to an increase of just 11,000 in four decades between 1951-1991. To deny the above changes are not evidence of "creeping authoritarianism" is perverse.
Commenter Kimpatsu agrees:
Always call a spade a spade. Always tell it like it is. Always name Charles Clarke for the disingenuous authoritarian liar that he is.
Simon Jenkins thinks that Clarke and Blair are laughable:
When cabinet ministers are too gutless to admit they lied about weapons of mass destruction, when they call Iraq an "unreported success" and when they refer to the totalitarian monstrosity of Guantánamo Bay as an "anomaly", sympathy goes by the board.