...a blog by Richard Flowers

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Day 5283: Elephant v Home Office


The story so far…

At the Leadership hustings on Wednesday, Mr Tim the Tim Lord challenged us not to let the Party of Grimond, Penhaligon and Kennedy die on our watch*.

And Mr Norman "Conquest" Lamb impressed me with his radical proposals on prison and drugs policies.

And I described the Home Office as our "natural enemies".

In reply to a comment, I said I would defend this idea. The Home Office want increased security. It's their job. But mostly they do this by reducing liberty. Defending liberty is OUR job. This very naturally puts us on opposite sides.

(Though, as I also said, as with most things I say, it WAS supposed to be amusing/satirical rather than extremely literal, too.)

This is ALREADY a big issue, what with the Conservatory Government dropping their manifesto pledge to abolish the Human Rights Act even before Mrs the Queen had sat down for her first speech.

Lord Chancellor Michael "Gollum" Gove Sheepishly Presents the Speech to Her Majesty, sans British Bill of Rights

But the Speech did contain

…an "Investigatory Powers Bill" aka Return of the Snooper's Charter, to collect your every random browse on the Internet;

…and a "Psychoactive Substances Bill" that plans to ban anything that might legally give you pleasure;

…and an "Extremism Bill" to ban "extremist groups", "extremist mosques" and "extremist broadcasts"… presumably to be followed by "extremist thought crimes";

…and an Immigration Bill to make "illegal working" a criminal offence and extend the principle of "deport first, worry about whether they've survived to appeal later" to all immigration cases;

…and a "Police and Criminal Justice Bill" because, what the heck, it's an annual tradition nowadays and we can sweep up anything left we've forgotten to criminalise into that.

So it's not like the Home Office ISN'T BUSY driving a tank across everything the Liberal Democrats were protecting during the Coalition.

Not to mention Mr Balloon's frankly TERRIFYING speech stating that:

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'.".

So, even if you obey the law they're STILL going to come and get you.

What happened to Habeus Corpus? Did Magna Carta die in vain?

And now the Prime Monster is saying British Muslims are (quoting the BBC's headline): "…'quietly condoning' IS ideology"; perhaps it's time someone told him to stop LOUDLY ADVERTISING for the terrorists!

(and things are getting pretty DIRE if I'm agreeing with the Grauniad's numpty Owen Jones .

Next thing, I'll be saying Pollyanna Toytown is right about wind farms!)

In a time of AUSTERITY, people feel afraid, afraid for their jobs and the security of a roof over their families' heads. And it's all too easy for politicians to tell them that (to quote Tim again) the blame lies with the foreigners for taking their houses rather than the politicians for not building the houses in the first place or the voters for not voting for politicians who’ll build and reduce their house prices.

The treatment of migrants and asylum seekers and the people daily being people-trafficked across the Med (or drowning in the attempt) is urgently topical.

Government ministers' talk about "pull factors" and "encouraging more" is, quite simply, OBSCENE when people are dying. These are human people and they have left their homes, fled across continents, because of PUSH factors – War, Famine, religious genocidal maniacs – which massively outweigh any trifling "pull" considerations.

It seems there are really only three possible solutions:

  1. Let them drown!
  2. Annex dirty great chunks of the Middle East and North Africa to establish new, secure safe zones where they can build cities and jobs for themselves protected by our military, i.e. a new IMPERIUM, exactly what we're accusing Russia of doing (and bearing in mind that we would need to spend an awful lot of money and possibly lives to do this properly)!
  3. Actually do our bit and let them come here.

Call me old fashioned, I favour option THREE.

Iraq, and to a lesser extent the bombing in Libya, has demonstrated the limits of our ability to control foreign interventions given the amounts of money and lives that we are willing to expend (i.e. not very much of either).

Instead it seems that we are going to leave them either in the water, in terrible danger in their own countries, or in effectively concentration camps in Italy and Greece (Greece! As if the Greeks weren't in enough trouble!).

Immigration is GOOD for the country – any country! It drives growth in GDP. It could be good for OUR country.

But to feel that benefit we need to ensure that we build the houses, services and infrastructure to support the people here. But building those things CREATES jobs, including the fabled "British jobs for British workers" (and also British jobs for anyone else willing to do them!).

We should be LEADING the call – as Paddy Ashdown did when saying we should give British passports to citizens of Hong Kong in the lead up to the hand back to China – for not a few hundred or a few thousand but for a few HUNDRED THOUSAND rescued migrants to come here to start a new life. Britain will DO OUR DUTY and stop blaming it all on poor, impoverished Greece and the EU.

Meanwhile, a lot of anti-EU rhetoric is being driven by the spurious claim that we are unable to deport foreign criminals.

We should be telling people loudly that this is a sign of PATHETIC WEAKNESS in a Home Secretary!

If people are criminals then we should be prosecuting and punishing people HERE. If you are so WEAK that you need to chuck them out of the country and make it someone else's problem, then probably you are not FIT to be Home Secretary let alone Prime Monster.

And IF we are so PROUD of British Justice, then why would we NOT be willing to hold it up to international scrutiny? Our record is INCREDIBLY GOOD, and we win VERY NEARLY ALMOST ALL of the cases that go before the Court in Europe.

(And let's be clear: it's a Court of UNIVERSAL Human Rights IN Europe, not Rights OF Europeans or OF Europe – we'd have a GLOBAL International Criminal Court one excep, China and America refuse to live up to their protestations of upholding Human Rights! Even Russia is technically a signatory!)

Once again, we should say that if you think we need to withdraw from scrutiny then you clearly don't think British Human rights are UP TO MUCH.

Well, I rather think they ARE, and that the Conservatories are a bit PATHETIC for not trusting that we DO uphold Human Rights.

But nobody is perfect, and having an outside body that can look from time to time and say where we might – might – have to consider that we could be wrong… only a SOCIOPATH thinks they're never wrong.

As I went on to say in that comment: I think saying the Home office wants to increase security is being NICE to them. I'd suggest that very often the Home Office does things that reduce liberty and do NOT increase security:- counter-productive measures like stop-and-search or "go home poster vans" which generate resentment and breed threats to security; and ludicrous security theatre - like ID cards or the snoopers charter - which is in the business of looking like it's doing something but actually wastes resources, money, time, manpower, on activity that achieves NOTHING.

We have had more than three decades of the Home Office making more and more grabs for power – and over the same time saying that they can do less and less to protect us; three decades of Home Secretaries and Shadow Home Secretaries trying to outbid each other on toughness, outflank each other to the crackdowns, racing to the bottom of the Civil Liberties barrel. Michael "of the night" Howard sending pregnant women to give birth in chains; Tony "Lord" Blairimort, brutally profiteering from the horrible death of Jamie Bulger; Jack "the sinister minister" Straw; David "detention without trial" Blunkett, and the declassified reclassified cannabis; Charles Clarke, the safety elephant; "nice" Dr John Reid and the I.D.iot cards; Jacquie Spliff, the Second Home Secretary… the list goes on, each more authoritarian than the last; most recently we've had Teresa "nuts in" May and Yvette "the Snooper" Cooper vying to be worst yet.

And yet for all their "strong on crime" posturing, for all their "not giving in to terror", every last one of them CAPITULATES instantly, the moment someone (from security or the police) comes along and SCARES them with talk of "the bad people".

"Oh, we need more money, or more powers to arrest people, or to intercept their Instagrams, or to look inside their fluffy brains. Only then will you be safe, only then can we protect you from the paedo-terror-drug-militants… at least until the next time we ask."

It is, quite literally, a PROTECTION RACKET.

And if Her Majesty's far too loyal Opposition will not OPPOSE the madness, then by all that's fluffy WE fluffing well should!

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