...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Day 1939: Harry Porter and the Conscience of Lord Voldemort


Mr Balloon has taken to wearing a PALE GREEN TIE.

Apparently he COULD have had one that was GREENER, but he preferred the more EXPENSIVE one.

Anyway, on to today's diary – cue the twinkly music Daddy!

Eleven years ago, it was a dark time for the wizarding community: grey ghosts and zombies and mummies ruled the land and made everyone's life a general MISERY until KINDLY Lord BLAIRIMORT appeared with his DEATH EATERS, Crabbe, Goyle and the much feared loved LUCIUS MANDLEFOY.

Lord Blairimort banished the Creatures of the Night with his GOOD MAGICKS of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, The Serious and Organised Crime Squad and The Cruciatus Curse.

There have been MANY wonderful improvements: HOGWARTS School of Magic has been privatised upgraded to the Reg Vardy City McAcademy of Christian Values and Burger Flipping; AZKAHBAN PRISON has been given to GROUP FOUR under a Public-Private Partnership scheme to replace all prison guards with evil DEMENTORS; and the Department of MAGICAL ACCIDENTS has been put in charge of all Government Ministries.

This week, a young boy wizard, called Henry Potter, has been exchanging OWLS with the Dork Lord himself, Lord Blairimort.

It would appear that Lord Blairimort and his berserk elephant, Death Eater Charles Clarke, have chosen this week to go on a COUNTER OFFENSIVE against all the people who say that they are TRAMPLING ROUGHSHOD over the civil liberties of Great Britain.

Clearly, Lord Blairimort is starting to feel that his reputation is SUFFERING because of this. However, being Lord Blairimort, his response is NOT to reconsider his actions and wonder if maybe the people criticising him have a point. No, he thinks that if he uses his MAGIC SPIN it will make all his troubles go away.

It seems to me that Lord Blairimort's responses can be summarised by just three of the things that he SAYS:


"You say I have 'pared down our liberty at an astonishing rate', then list a whole lot of fundamental rights, as if these had all been drastically curtailed."

Translation: we've only done it a LITTLE bit.

Perhaps Lord Blairimort needs reminding what the meaning of the word FUNDAMENTAL is. Either a Right is Fundamental or it is NOT. If you believe that you can "pare it down" even slightly then you DO NOT believe that it is fundamental.


"When we talk of civil liberties, what about theirs, the law-abiding people; the ones who treat others with courtesy and good manners and expect the same back? Don't theirs count for anything?"

and again

"The question for me is: whose civil liberties? Of course the offender has rights; but so has the victim"

Translation: only CRIMINALS want civil rights.

The problem with trotting out this old favourite time and again is that it is LORD BLAIRIMORT who is taking away the civil rights of LAW ABIDING PEOPLE.

You do NOT need to be "an offender" to have lost the right to silence or the right to trial by jury or the right to protest to your government or the right to protection from undue arrest: we have ALL lost these rights. If you are INNOCENT of any crime, these rights were there to PROTECT YOU from the Government just locking you up at random. Now they are – some in a small way, some in a big way – GONE.

And Third:

"If the traditional processes were the answer to these crime and law and order problems that are an age away from Dixon of Dock Green and the stable communities of 50 years ago, then we wouldn't be having this debate. But they're not. They've failed."

Translation: you can only be SAFE if you do it MY way!

What is ASTONISHING is that after EIGHT YEARS in charge, Lord Blairimort is so keen to say that he has FAILED.

Particularly when it doesn't even seem to be TRUE!

If we are failing to punish wrong-doers, how can it be that our prison population is the HIGHEST per-capita in Europe? If wrong-doers are going unpunished WHO are all those people in our OVERCROWDED jails?

If we are failing to prevent crime, why are the figures for TOTAL crime falling? Why have they been falling for YEARS AND YEARS?

Most crime is crime against PROPERTY: theft and burglary and this is DOWN. (Probably because many more people are in WORK.) A very small amount of crime is crimes of VIOLENCE: assault and worse and it is true that this is UP. (Probably because many more people are in WORK and so many more people can afford to get fighting DRUNK.)

I have a THEORY. (It ISN'T "bunnies".)

Back in the days that the Conservatories were in charge, Lord (then Mr) Blairimort decided that although people trusted the Labour on health and education, they trusted the Conservatories more on keeping them safe from crime.

So Lord Blairimort decided that to stop it costing him the election, on every crime issue he would OUTFLANK the Conservatories on the RIGHT.

If the Conservatories wanted stiff sentences he would make them stiffer; if the Conservatories wanted people locked up, he would lock up even more; if the Conservatories broke the law on corruption he would break it even worse (er, that can't be right?).

Every crime, every failure would be blamed on the home secretary whether it was his fault or not.

And it worked!

But it has led to a kind of MADNESS, an ever-rightward ARMS RACE on law and order and no-one can ever, ever say "hang on a mo" or they will be called SOFT ON CRIME (© all anti-Liberal Democrat leaflets ever!).

Another thing that I have NOTICED is that although Mr Harry Porter makes a case and then offers various evidence to support it, Lord Blairimort does NOT make a counter case. Instead he uses a DEBATING TACTIC of picking SOME (but not all) of Mr Harry Porter's points and knocking them down and then RUBBISHES the case as a whole as a "mishmash of misunderstanding, gross exaggeration and things that are just plain wrong" where "We enter the realm of fantasy" and serious discussion can be dismissed as it only "shows how far out of touch much of the political and legal establishment is today with the reality of people's lives".

It SEEMS that Lord Blairimort's reply boils down to:

"How DARE you say I DON'T care about Civil Liberties. I DO I DO I DO! Everything you say is RUBBISH! I've only taken away a few rights; that's not as bad as the criminals; and I've got to be tough. It's for your own good, you know. And anyway… I know where you live!"

LOOK, only an idiot or a fluffy elephant would portray Lord Blairimort as some kind of black hearted evil villain intent on ruling us with his dark magick powers and flinging anyone who opposes him into a dark dungeon.

That's LUNACY.

Or possibly SATIRE.

What is MUCH more important is how LITTLE Mr Blair actually CARES that our Civil Rights and Laws were there to PROTECT US, to PROTECT THE INNOCENT.

None of us are perfect: not the police, not the courts, not the government, not even – though it is probably news to him – Mr Blair himself. We all make mistakes and THAT is when we need our Human Rights.

The LAW used to make a difference between ARRESTABLE and NON- ARRESTABLE offences precisely so that a policeman could NOT just lock people up on any pretext.

The LAW used to say you couldn't draw any inference from silence precisely to protect people from being tricked into a false confession.

The LAW used to let you have a lawyer with you precisely because it is COMPLICATED and not everyone can understand every law, especially when Mr Blair is churning them out at a rate of more than one HUGE Criminal Justice Bill a year for the last eight years! It is an OUTRAGE that people can be subject to ANY sanction by Mr Blair or ANY government without even the simple decency of BEING TOLD WHY!

The OLDEST established Human Right IN THE WORLD was HABEUS CORPUS. That is the right to not disappear into the king's dungeons and never be seen again. Mr Blair has made repeated efforts to ABOLISH this!

A wise man once said: "Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?"

Well, Mr Blair… did she?

PS: following on from today’s news – Daddy Richard’s saying of the day.

"Construct a popular phrase or saying from the following words, not necessarily in this order:


Isn’t he MEAN!

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