A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Monday, August 14, 2006

Does Iraq want a dose of our democracy?

Life under Blair? Well, it's getting pretty much as I thought! This makes me very angry. I hope it does most decent democrats. The Metropolitan Police is very much a tool of the Spiv-in-Chief. Steven Jago, 36, a management accountant, has become the latest person to be charged under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. This is Blair's "round 'em up" legislation. On 18 June, Mr Jago carried a placard in Whitehall bearing the George Orwell quote: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." In his possession, he had several copies of an article in the American magazine Vanity Fair headlined "Blair's Big Brother Legacy", which were confiscated by the police. "The implication that I read from this statement at the time was that I was being accused of handing out subversive material," said Mr Jago.

Now what damned business is it of any British policeman to utter these words 'politically motivated'? If the cap fits, eh? The Met is far too up a gum tree without any idea of proper policing. The author, Henry Porter, the magazine's London editor, wrote to Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, expressing concern that the freedom of the press would be severely curtailed if such articles were used in evidence under the Act. Mr Porter said: "The police told Mr Jago this was 'politically motivated' material, and suggested it was evidence of his desire to break the law. I therefore seek your assurance that possession of Vanity Fair within a designated area is not regarded as 'politically motivated' and evidence of conscious law-breaking."

Scotland Yard said nothing! They don't want to know.

This is a letter to the Independent

The erosion of our civil liberties

Sir: As a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, which holds the police to account in London, I read with concern your front page article by Henry Porter in response to the police confiscating copies of his article in Vanity Fair (29 June).

The arrest of Steven Jago, who was carrying copies of the article, is part of a tendency to criminalise anyone who annoys the Government, from picnickers in Parliament Square to octogenarian hecklers at party conferences. Even for those like myself who are naturally inclined to support the police in their anti-terrorist measures (on issues like Stockwell and Forest Gate), there is growing concern that the War against Terror is being used before our eyes for authoritarian and anti-democratic purposes. By also giving power to the Commissioner to decide whether to permit demonstrations, the state has unnecessarily dragged the police into a politically sensitive area.

This matter was raised on Thursday at the full meeting of the Authority, with the Commissioner promising to look into it. With members of the Authority as yet none the wiser about how a Vanity Fair article can be confused with a terrorist's manual, I wonder if the same tactic would have been used if Mr Jago had been carrying a wad of copies of Tony Blair's recent speech on Africa. I also wonder if Messrs Jago and Walter Wolfgang consider Tony Blair or Osama bin Laden to be the greater threat to their freedom.

This needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency, and this bad law overturned as soon as possible.


Tony Blair as Prime Minister has been nothing other than a democracy killer! Little or no cabinet government, the House of Commons traduced, and a bunker mentality in Downing Street. Iraqis please take note.


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