A report from the Scotsman quotes the novelist Ken Follet’s wife:
Mrs Follett (Stevenage), now married to novelist Ken Follett, said the system of control orders proposed by Home Secretary Charles Clarke bore “an extraordinary resemblance” to those used under apartheid.
She told the Commons during second reading debate on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill that Richard Turner was placed under house arrest in 1973 because he campaigned to give black people the right to vote and join trade unions.
He lived under the order for five years, unable to work or leave home, until he was assassinated in front of their two daughters Jann, 13, and Kim, aged nine.
“House arrest hampered but didn’t stop him,” she said.
“That is probably why, just before his five year order was due to expire, he was shot dead in front of our two young daughters in their bedroom.
“In the days that followed I tried to comfort them by telling them we were going to go to Britain where people were not detained without trial or put under house arrest.
She said she would not support the Bill and called on Mr Clarke to change the orders so they can only be implemented by a judge, to consider using intercept evidence in court and to write a sunset clause into the Bill.
“The end does not justify these means,” she said.
“The example we set will stay with us for many years.
“These principles are the very basis of our democracy and the Labour Party – destroy them and you destroy us.””
- a government that has passed an enabling act giving them absolute power should a cabinet minister declare an emergency,
- a government that has given everyone from the Food Standards Agency to your local council the power to snoop on who you communicate with on their own authority,
- a government that gave the Dept for Work and Pensions and local councils the power, on their own authority, to demand a person’s financial details from banks, utility companies and anyone providing financial services,
- a government that has enabled people’s assets to be seized by the state, using civil procedures, without proving the person has committed a crime,
- a government that has allowed travel bans to be placed on people without proving they committed any offence (see Football (Disorder) Act 2000, schedule 1, section 14B of amendments to Football Spectators Act 1989),
- a government that has enacted the European Arrest Warrant whereby you can be extracted to another EU country without British courts seeing any evidence against you, and where upon arrival the charges can be changed.
- a government that has systematically and progressively removed, weakened and/or undermined the protections of the individual, the rule of law and the restraints on state power that have built up over centuries.
[This list is not comprehensive.]
Should we be surprised when they put forward measures like house arrest without trial, on the say so of the Home Secretary, with evidence kept secret from the detainee and his legal representatives and try to rush them through the House of Commons in the space of 1 week with only 2 or 3 days of debate?
If they get away with this, what will they try next?