Charles Clarke - obfuscatory incoherence
routinely use language such as "police state", "fascist", "creeping authoritarianism", while words such as "holocaust", "gulag" and "apartheid" are used descriptively in ways that must be truly offensive to those who experienced those realities.
Fighting talk. But obviously those who seek to characterise the policies of HMG are making
ridiculous assertions, unsupported by any hint of understanding of the balance of powers that exist in our society.
Clarke thus accuses these journalists of intellectual laziness and a lack of adherence to professional journalistic standards. But that is all he does. There is no attempt in this article to refute any of the claims made against him and his policies, merely to deny them.
There are serious points to be made here. This Government has restricted the right to trial by jury, selectively removed the old 'double jeopardy' rule, massively increased the role played by summary judgment through the use of ASBOs, increased the length of time a suspect can be held without charge (and tried to increase it be more), introduced laws that allow for restrictions on personal liberty on suspicion of involvement in a crime (habeas corpus anyone?), created approximately 700 new criminal offences and introduced legislation that fundamentally alters the balance of power between the citizen and the state. Oh, and they've put out a Bill that effectively bypasses the legislative role of Parliament itself.
All of these are indicative of a Government that is careless of its responsibilities to maintain the rule of law. All of these strengthen the Executive at the expense of either the Legislature or the individual. All of these are issues that deserve a serious response. None of these are addressed by the Home Secretary in his speech. If Charles Clarke is unhappy that critics are pointing out the inherent illiberalism at the heart of the New Labour project there is a simple solution. If he can demonstrate the allegations to be false then he should do so. If he cannot, then he should admit the truth of the assertions. And then he should resign.