Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Give me your liberties and I will provide security has been the cry of dictators down the ages - what is so different now?

Once again, the cries go up from the Foreign Secretary down, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Well tell that to the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Judith Ward and the legion of other miscarriages of justice victims over the years.

As I was once told by the former Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall John Alderson the cry give me your liberties and I will give you security has emanated from dictators down the ages. There is no way that more liberties should be being given up in the name of preventing terror – this after all is exactly what the terrorists are seeking.

If the basic libertarian argument is not accepted, then let's move onto practical application. It has never been proven that anti-terror laws taking away liberties in anyway result in the prevention of terrorism. In fact the application of anti-terror law against the Irish community during the Troubles had the effect of making that community feel suspect and under attack. As a result it closed in on itself, with real terrorists no doubt finding shelter amid the flock. History has largely repeated itself over the past decade with the Muslims replacing the Irish as the suspect community.

Let’s stop the nonsense, there is no need for any more powers for the police or security services in this country. If anything many of the powers that exist, such as those enabling the detention of people seemingly indefinitely without trial, need to be reversed. The question should be who guards the guards, not let’s give them ever more of our liberties.

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