13 October 2008

Terrorism Acts and police states

I understand that South Africa's notorious Terrorism Act of 1967, which made South Africa a fully-fledged police state, has been repealed.

In Britain, a Terrorism Act has recently been introduced, and, has been having a similar effect to the South African one, of turning Britain into a police state. This incident, which took place a few years ago, is an example.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Labour issues apology to heckler:
The Labour Party has apologised after an 82-year-old member was thrown out of its annual conference for heckling.

Walter Wolfgang, from London, was ejected from the hall after shouting 'nonsense' as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw defended Iraq policy.

Police later used powers under the Terrorism Act to prevent Mr Wolfgang's re-entry, but he was not arrested.

When such draconian legislation is introduced, government spokesmen give the usual reassurances that the innocent have nothing to fear, that the police can be trusted not to abuse their powers, and so on.

And almost inevitably, the powers are abused to suppress the civil rights of ordinary citizens, which seems to have happened in this case. In the light of this kind of thing, Gordon Brown's Vorsterian urge to introduce 90-day detention to Britain is even more scary.


Daniel Clark said...

Equally frightening is the way in which as we slide towards a police state, the police themselves are unable to guarantee that they will not shoot another unarmed person seven times in the head.

Ironically, the slide towards a police state is being halted/slowed down by the house of Lords. Hence it is the unelected, supposedly undemocratic chamber which actually preserves democracy and civil liberties, as opposed to the jingoistic other house.

The Scylding said...

Daniel - the virtues of an aristocracy, eh? (As opposed to an oligarchy)


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