New Labour wins by default, civil liberties crumble further

OK, so they finagled a win. 315 to 306 votes in the Commons, after Brown bought off the Ulstermen and flipped his MPs a couple of handouts. At least he’s not pretending to have won it on principle.

Why doesn’t anyone understand just how terrible this is?

The 42-day vote – giving the cops the right to arrest you and hold you for a month and a half without charge, longer than anywhere else in the civilised world – is yet another huge blow to the UK’s ever-decreasing civil liberties by New Labour.

It’s appalling – ancient freedoms enshrined in the Magna Carta have been systematically dismantled by this awful government, everyone from motorists to terrorists now presumed guilty until proven innocent, local officials freely authorised to conduct covert surveillance of pretty much anyone they choose, anti-terrorist legislation freely used against anyone including white-collar crimes like embezzlement, and no-one seems to care. Or indeed understand just how bad the situation is.

There are countless things you could do in Britain ten years ago – based on basic principles of free association, right to private life, presumption of innocence, against unreasonable stop and search and seizure – that you now can’t do. Not because those things are bad or wrong, but because they’re simply nobody’s business but yours … and what New Labour hates, above all else, is the thought that you might do something without telling the government about it. These erosions are horrendous. And yet the British public stumbles on, dull-mindedly blind to the dangers.

I’ve had enough of the sheer stupidity and head-in-the-sand unthinking-ness of the British public. I knew they were stupid; I just never thought they were this stupid.

Sometimes, I despair of this country. I really do.

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