In certain circumstances it gives me no pleasure to be right, this is one of them.

Last week a Conservative party spokesman, Gerald Howarth, stated on Radio 4s Today program that if Muslims weren’t prepared to swear allegiance to Britain then they could go somewhere else. This was followed up by Liam Fox, Conservative front bench MP saying that whilst this was not central party policy it was true that if people didn’t like what Britain stood for then they had to consider their position.

In light of the already precarious position of foreigners here this really adds fuel to the fire, there will be many happy to stand behind this sort of ethos, the “if you don’t like it why don’t you go home” as if firstly just because they have a different coloured skin they are not already home, and secondly as if dissent is somehow illegal. If every dissentor was sent away under those provisos you’d never have any change, just a country full of fascists. It starts with Muslims when that “threat” is neutralised who’s next?

One musn’t forget to take this sort of comment in context. In this country there has just been a legal battle to stop curfews and exclusion orders being issued purely on the grounds of a person’s age. There have been attempts to legislate against humour as something potential to incite racial/religious hatred. Something comedian Chris Langham describes as “social engineering through the back door, telling us what we can and can’t find daft.” As comedian Rowan Atkinson says by bringing such things into the hands of government control you have a position where just because the current goverment may allow things does not mean that another will.

Add to this now the calls for those charged with terrorist offences to be charged with treason, and the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act which came into force this week and prevents any demonstration within a half mile radius of the Houses of Parliament, this law truly establishes our “representatives” in their ivory towers. It was brought in to stop protestor Brian Haw who has been encamped in protest outside Parliament for 4 years, however Mr Haw managed to win a High Court injuction as his protest pre-dates the law, he is now the only person allowed to protest and his stance in essence renders the law redundant.

Then there is the judge-only proposals where the police can apply to extend the detention of a suspect before they actually have a charge. Furthermore these judge-only pre-trials would be used to try suspects where intercept and Secret Service evidence could be brought. Of course the old chesnut is used: ‘if the Secret Service reveal intercept evidence and the like for the first time in public then the methods of evidence collection and in some cases the informants may be revealed. This is a very dangerous smokescreen indeed because it is but one step away from the allowing of serious evidence in trials that will remain unchallenged in certain cases. Since habeas corpus as well as the right to silence have already been removed one wonders at what point the erosion of the rights of the individual within the British justice system will stop.

All this does remind me very much of the lead up in Germany from 1933 to 1939. I am not saying that in this case the agenda is the same from the outset, at least I sincerely hope it isn’t, but the potential for serious problem should anyone be in the position to abuse the legislation should be caveat enough for all of us. In Germany it was the emergency powers given to the chancellor whilst Hindenberg was the incumbant that allowed Hitler much of the free reign he later enjoyed. Furthermore it was the fact that the media was almost solely in the hands of one man, Alfred Hugenberg, that allowed Hitler to ally with Hugenberg’s Deutsche Arbeits Partei (German Workers Party) then simply replace the Hugenberg with Goebbels later in the 30s. Much of the infrastructure needed was already there in 1933 for the Nazis to use, Hitler only needed to win the election really and then it was a done deal. Since Hugenberg’s control over the media had already been pumping out extreme right-wing propaganda through the Weimar Republic years some of the groundwork had already been done. Hugenberg owned the Telegraph-Union which was a merger of 4 press agencies in 1913, in 1916 he had taken controll of the Scherl press group (Berliner Abendzeitung, Der Tag, Die Woche, Neuesten Berliner Handels- und Börsennachrichten, die Gartenlaube, Sport im Bild) in 1917 the Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft which subsumed 3 film distributors was formed, Hugenberg gained control of it in 1927, in 1922 Hugenberg found the Wirtschaftsstelle der Provinzpresse (WIPRO) a pan-regional press agency for the distribution of local/regional news, is this starting to mirror the career of anyone you can think of? This steady surge of media control by one man with his own defined political agenda had such a profoundly damaging effect in Germany what makes one think that Murdoch’s influence in the world will not go the same way?

I know the media is one of my favourite bugbears but in the context of the assualt on all human rights that we are currently undergoing you might expect media outrage calling the government to account but instead they are used as the spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Have some tits, who’s the latest person out of Big Brother, do you know who he went out with last night, look at the lives of these celebrities etc. etc. etc. All mindless pulp, just serving to keep bombarding us with enough shite that we miss the bigger picture and only realise when it is too late. We need to wake up now.

Song Of The Day ~ Fear Of Music – Skin & Bones

Original Comments:

Mark Ellott made this comment,
I’ve been banging on about some of these things myself – what about the civil contingencies act? This allows government to dissolve parliament and rule by cabinet in the event of an “emergency.” Who decides what is an “emergency”? Yup, government ministers…
Just don’t start me the anti terrorism legislation and habeas corpus…

comment added :: 17th August 2005, 19:34 GMT+01 ::