No No No No No No No No. And No. Further, No.

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726

The Home Office is a corrupt organisation, one that poisons all those who pass though its doors. This is not a new idea, The Times had me saying it 15 years ago:

Perhaps he can’t, for the very job of Home Secretary is something that appears to affect the mind. Possibly it’s the collective mindset of the Home Office itself: we Britons are simply a problem to be managed in the best interests of the bureaucracy, nothing else. You get the impression that Home Secretaries don’t regard our liberties as inalienable; rather they are obstacles to be flattened in the name of smooth management.

As the latest attempts to enslave us all have it, not much has changed.

The government has unveiled a new counter-terrorism bill. Here are some of the key measures to be introduced in the legislation.

OK, longer sentences and all that. Fine. Perhaps they’re a good idea dn perhaps they’re not but there’s nowt wring with the idea that we’ve got the balance of punishment upon conviction wrong and it requires a bit of a change.

But this?

Terrorism suspects who have not been convicted of any offence face expanded and potentially never-ending measures to control their lives under proposed counter-terrorism laws unveiled by the UK government.

Ministers want to weaken the burden of proof for terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) to be imposed on people suspected of terrorist activityand remove the two-year cap on their use.

Tpims are controversial and resource-heavy measures – usually based on secret intelligence – for controlling the risk presented by terrorism suspects at large where criminal prosecution is not an option.

True, such Tpims don’t involve the use of a prison cell. Not unless laddie breaches the provisions that is. But it is still punishment without conviction. And we don’t do that. Not because we’re soft on terrorists or because we mourn for the freedoms of those who would kill us. But because we’re worried about our own freedoms.

To miss this is to miss the entire point of having courts and juries and convictions. It’s not to protect criminals from just punishment, it’s to protect us, we the peeps, from the State. If there’s a hole that fails to protect, for some very well explained reason, any of us from punishment without conviction then that’s the plughole we’ll all get sucked down soon enough.

Just no. To punish any one of us the State must prove, in that court of law, that we’ve breached some rule already written down and published. The jury is there to ensure that some random selection of the population agrees that the rule, written down, was not just breached but that the crime was indeed a crime, something that should be punished.

The reason for all of this is to protect us, we out here, from Priti Patel. Or Symonds Nick-Thomas (who the hell he – Ed) if such an absurdity were to come to pass.

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Arthur the Cat
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Arthur the Cat

“the very job of Home Secretary is something that appears to affect the mind. Possibly it’s the collective mindset of the Home Office itself”

Very much so. When Blunkett was Home Secretary I became convinced that he was reading nothing but Braille editions of Judge Dredd comics.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

The vast majority of people, Right, Left Remainer, Leaver, whatever, believe that bad stuff done by the state to people they don’t like can never be done to them. It never ceased to amaze me that Remainers for example could simply not conceive of the EU making regulations they wouldn’t like. They just did not understand the point.

John B
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John B

‘ But because we’re worried about our own freedoms.’

Doesn’t the behaviour of that ‘we’ these last couple of months rather contradict that statement?

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

“Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished” is a sound principle, particularly as that one innocent man could be me. But is there an argument that modern mass murderers change the balance of the equation? Erroneously releasing Jack the Ripper could have caused four lives to be lost, but it isn’t that hard for a modern terrorist/nutter to kill dozens or hundreds.

Does/should that make a difference? I’m genuinely unsure.

Jim
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Jim

“True, such Tpims don’t involve the use of a prison cell. Not unless laddie breaches the provisions that is. But it is still punishment without conviction. And we don’t do that. ” Yes we do. We put control orders on the mentally ill (known as Community Treatment Orders) that specify various things the person must abide by, such as taking their prescribed medication, on pain of being sectioned and held in a mental institution if they refuse. This allows people with quite serious mental illnesses to live normally in the community relatively safely, as they are being correctly medicated, and… Read more »

Chester Draws
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Chester Draws

The state also takes children from those manifestly unfit to look after them, and then prevents contact with those children.

There’s lots of ways our liberties can be infringed.

My preference is that every such infringement should be published annually (unless the target says no — which many with mental problems might do).
If the state is going to control our lives, we should at least know what it is doing.