Whiffs of the Third World Posted by: Dale Franks
on Tuesday, December 02, 2008
This week, the horrific events in Mumbai have attracted a lot of attention. This has diverted us from other things, that deserve a bit of attention of their own.
Damian Green is an MP, and is the Shadow Immigration Minister for the British conservative party. He was arrested by the Metropolitan Police—who operate under the direct authority of the Home Secretary—held for questioning for nine hours, his home and office searched, and various papers and computer files confiscated.
His sole crime appears to have been to point out in public debate in the Commons that the government's immigration policy was an ineptly managed shambles, and he revealed some dirty little secrets that Mr. Brown's government found embarrassing.
Subsequent questioning of the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, reveals that...well...no one is certain what it reveals. As Janet Daley puts it in The Telegraph:
So, Miss Smith was asked, did she agree with this former occupier of her office that Mr Green was owed an apology? Answer: no. Sort of. It was, in fact, rather difficult to discern what the answer was amid a lot of blather, the main object of which was to hang the police out to dry - they apparently being solely responsible for this extraordinary incident. (I suspect that the next day or two may produce some interesting responses to this performance from the police - quite possibly in the form of leaks.)
Miss Smith soldiered on, making a great deal of the notion of "police independence" - even trying rather ingeniously to turn the argument round on those who see Mr Green's arrest as an indication of an emerging police state. What would truly constitute a police state, she maintained, would be for ministers to intervene when the police were engaged in an investigation.
Not that this investigation was being carried out on a unilateral police impulse: oh no, her department had certainly been concerned about the leaks in question. But again, it was unclear in what way that "concern" had mutated into police action, or what happened after the "concern" had been expressed.
But, of course, that's not quite true. We do know what happened. A member of parliament was detained by the police, and his home, papers, and effects were ransacked. We do know that.
Anyone who thinks that this incident is being somehow blown out of proportion by opposition politicians and an excitable media had better think again. A senior opposition spokesman has been arrested and detained, had his personal possessions and confidential correspondence examined, and his family home occupied, without being suspected of any criminal offence.
The object of the exercise seems to have been intimidation and the flaunting of power. Short of an outright, totalitarian suspension of democracy, this is about as serious as it gets. Freedom is under threat in ways that we would not have thought conceivable a generation ago. The threat seems to be coming in various forms from a government desperate to save its own credibility and to be so convinced of its moral righteousness that it can justify the most blatant abuses of what we had taken to be the fundamental principles of a free society.
I am reminded by a famous quote from Louis Brandeis" "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
There are plenty of "men of zeal" over on this side of the pond as well. And come January 20th, a number of them will be holding significant political power.
And, of course, they mean well. They are concerned about guns and crime. They are concerned about economic equality. They're concerned about global warming. Indeed, they're positively brimming with concern, and equally brimming with policy proposal to address them. Proposals that are no doubt motivated solely by compassion, and a keen sense of social justice.
How will they respond to those who oppose the obvious moral rectitude of their policies? How will they express their "concern"?
Let's hope it's in a better fashion that the Home Secretary appears to have done.
1. That the police busted into a private citizen’s home, detained him, and searched his property and papers without suspicion of a positive crime being committed;
2. That this action appears to have been politically motivated;
3. That the (liberal) politician responsible is spinning how this not only wasn’t exactly her fault, but wasn’t really a bad thing;
4. That there are plenty of (stupid, liberal) people who will buy into those excuses;
5. That she almost certainly won’t pay any price for this action, or;
6. There ain’t a damned thing the disarmed British people can do about it even if they so choose other than hope that the government doesn’t come after them if they protest this outrage.
Dale Franks - There are plenty of "men of zeal" over on this side of the pond as well. And come January 20th, a number of them will be holding significant political power... How will they respond to those who oppose the obvious moral rectitude of their policies? How will they express their "concern"?
No, the REAL question is, "What will we do about it when they try this kind of s*** here?" Let’s remember that many of TAO’s people are Clinton retreads, and we KNOW their track record when it comes to incinerating children, knocking over buildings with tanks, and threatening helpless families with machineguns prior to sending their children back to slavery in a communist country. We’ve gotten a little taste of how TAO deals with people who oppose him: publishing their personal records, having his goon squads shout them down, etc. What will he do when he can have critics jailed or killed by "overzealous federal agents"?
No, the REAL question is, "What will we do about it when they try this kind of s*** here?"
Just to be a bit contrarian, the sh**storm precipitated by the search of William Jefferson’s Congressional office indicates that the use of such all-out intimidation tactics in the US is still pretty difficult. I mean, the dude was caught on videotape taking bribes, yet there is still doubt whether any evidence seized in the raid of his office can be used to prosecute him.
I think here the old standbys like the use of official FBI files to dig up dirt on your opponents and the use of IRS tax audits (you remember the "Clinton opponent" provision in the tax code that triggered so many audits in the 90’s) are still order of the day. They were pretty effective then, and tend to attract much less attention than more obvious (note that phrase) displays of armed force against political opponents.