Monday, February 20, 2006

Glory Glory Hallelujah

In an earlier post I commented that it wasn't good enough for the Government to use the Elephant definition of 'glorification' or of 'terrorism'. Lo and behold up pops Tony to say that juries will understand glorification "when they see it". He used to be a barrister, as did Jack Straw and shedloads of the cringing little bastards. If a Labour Minister managed to avoid a job as a lecturer at a polytechnic, or a social worker you can bet your bottom dollar that they were a lawyer.

Given this degree of concentration of legal experience (give or take), why are they so cripplingly incompetent when it comes to writing new laws. I accept that I might be unrepresentative here, but, given a background in history and law, my first response to almost any question regarding either is "what do you mean by x?" If the Government can't come up with a definition that isn't a case study, they cannot have a prayer that the law will stand up in court.

The obvious points to make tend to follow examples - do fuckwit students wearing Che Guevara T-shirts count? What about a T-shirt backing Hamas? What about Ken Livingstone's bust of Lenin? Some of these are frivolous - though they do demonstrate the inherent incoherence of the law - but others are more pertinent. What happens whenever a Sinn Fein MP gives a speech? Sinn Fein and the IRA are, to all intents and purposes, synonymous, why should not a speech praising the IRA be illegal under this?

The answer often seems to be that the DPP will only prosecute in clear cases, yet all the evidence is that when silly laws give wider powers, they tend to get abused - ask Wolfgang Whatsisname or the comely lass with the 'Bollocks to Blair' T-shirt. I'll repeat my main point: if a minister of the crown cannot give a satisfactory definition of the legal meaning of either 'glorification' or 'terrorist' what chance does a jury, and if they do, what justice is there in a law that depends entirely on a subjective interpretation of words?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been equally puzzled at the apparent stupidity of our Tone and Clarky.
However, in the last few days a couple of friends have pointed out to me that they are not stupid at all. They want the laws to be as vague as possible so that these laws can be used against whoever they chose to use them against.

Well, its a theory as good as any other I suppose.

7:17 pm  

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