Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Suspicious timing...

The latest hoo-hah with regards to Charles and Camilla's wedding has once more cleared all newspapers and newsdesks of all real news and replaced it with this piece of trivia that is not relevant to anyone's real lives. This is normally annoying enough in itself, as there can be nothing more tedious than listening to the usual suspects coming out with their pompous and arrogant views on the monarchy which they impose on us as if we would be unpatriotic to not agree with them.

But this time, and strangely enough last time when the marriage announcement was being made, there is just a wee bit of bad news being "buried" by the government. Today, the government has dedicated the day to discussing the future of civil liberties in this country in their horrendously illiberal Prevention of Terrorism Bill, and it's slowly slipping under the radar. Sure, it will no doubt get some coverage tomorrow, but the agenda is moving on very quickly, and there will be more populist related material to digest before the night is out that may still get priority in the papers tomorrow.

Of course, last time, the government was slowly pushing through the introduction of ID cards when the first annoucements of the marriage came. There's no doubt that it affected the number of column inches the more important issues got the next day.

On this issue, I am remaining hopeful that the Lords will block the measures when it comes round to it. Rushed legislation is almost always bad legislation, and this one will be no exception. We do need to respond to the threat of terror, but we must always remember to keep a sense of perspective. We cannot throw away our traditional rights that people have fought for for centuries just because of a few bad apples. The ideas proposed during the toughest period of the Troubles in Northern Ireland were never this draconian, and that was arguably much more of a threat than Al'Qaeda or any of the other groups.

The other oddity about this whole charade is the position of the Conservatives. They've changed their minds a lot on this lately, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did another u-turn fairly soon in order to avoid the risk of being labelled "soft" on terrorism in the General Election. I'm quite sure it would not be beyond Labour to pull the tactics of George Bush in the US Presidential Elections. Yet, the Tories have said that they would happily support the renewal of the existing legislation... you know, that little thing that has been declared "incompatible with human rights" by the Law Lords.

So on the one hand you have the Tories wanting to renew the existing piece of bad legislation that has been condemned by many senior law figures and the highest court in the land; and on the other hand you have a Tory party worried about civil liberties that could be put in jeopardy by the present bill being proposed.

Which is the real Tory party?


Post a Comment

<< Home