Freedom and the Law
In stark contrast to the US which still insists on draconian measures against people thought to be bad (the lowest of the low Rumsfeld called them), the UK has had a landmark ruling for common sense in a democratic, freedom-loving country.
Nine Law Lords have unanimously ruled it was unfair for any individual to be kept in ignorance of a legal case against them.(see news item here)
I won’t bother labouring the point, so here’s what the nine judges said about imprisonment without trial or any knowledge of the case or evidence against one. This law was progressively implemented by out nice Labour government under Blair-Brown, finally being nailed down by wacky backy Jacqui Smith. If ever there were a bigger bunch of folk blind to the realities of democratic freedom and liberty, then they don’t exist except in the USA.
A trial procedure can never be considered fair if a party to it is kept in ignorance of the case against him (…) If the wider public are to have confidence in the justice system, they need to be able to see that justice is done rather than being asked to take it on trust.
The best way of producing a fair trial is to ensure that a party to it has the fullest information of both the allegations that are made against him and the evidence relied upon in support of those allegations (…) the slow creep of complacency must be resisted. If the rule of law is to mean anything, it is in cases such as these that the court must stand by [legal] principle. It must insist that the person affected be told what is alleged against him.
The last highlighted bit has been part of English (and most other) Law for millenia. It’s only this Labour lot who forgot it. Oh! And Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot etc… I didn’t though, see here.
In another piece of news today, we see that six London coppers have been suspended, accused of torture. This is good, the application of law to everyone no matter their status. It’s the mark of a free society, certainly more open and freer for many a month. Now investigations and justice must plough their furrows. It’s what we do, but at least it’s being done! Similarly with the MP expenses ferago. No-one should be above the law.
I await the outcomes of all this with bated breath. Has there been a real change or will it be another Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction whitewash? I’m 52% positive actually.
The two main protagonists, Blair and Brown, are now withered grapes on a vine. I sense new shoots of egalitarian pragmatism in the country. Blair seems to be doing religious cartoons and Brown’s finest hour approaches as he locks down MPs into a solid framework of pay that the public will hopefully trust.
A secondary hope would be for the citizens of the USA to turn on Cheney, still pushing the ‘torture – good!’ message from his millionaire’s mansion, steeped in the blood and money of Iraq. I doubt it, but there’s always hope that the reality of his evil actions will make themselves plain. Maybe, ‘keep him talking – he’ll hang himself eventually’ is a good mantra for now.