Oh this really is the thin end of the wedge. Not content with arresting and detaining 7 people yesterday following raids in London and Manchester under “Immigration laws”. Charles Clarke, a home secretary who appears to be attempting to model his tenure on that of his predecessor who in turn modelled his on Himmler, defended the detention as the men were thought “not conducive to the public good”. Well, fuck me that’s a new one!

Some of those detained were reportedly amongst the 8 individuals cleared in a British court in April having been accused of plotting to spread poison in Britain. If these reports are true then it outlines the policy that by hook or by crook if the government doesn’t like you then it’s going to get you by any means necessary. We are told that they are being held on grounds pertaining to the Immigration Act 1971 but rarely are these cases allowed to be deconstructed in public to determine what these grounds are and what leads up to them. One might be excused for thinking that if they held 8 men in custody that that knew to be already in infrigement of some immigration laws it is highly unlikely that these men would have been released following their acquital on terrorism charges.

Initially my response to the statement from Charles Clarke was one of disbelief coupled with a frisson of fear, it was then that the Paster Niemöller quote came back to me and I was reminded of just what a precedent this sets and how easily it lends itself to comparison to totalitarian regimes we have known in the past.

“First, they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

I found that quote kind of chilling when I was studying modern German history some 16 years ago. I find it all the more chilling now for its resonance with the modern day. There is clearly now a systematic attempt to remove certain types of people from society, not only that but the branding of these people is sufficiently ambiguous that if the laws designed to purge said “undesirables” proceed it will only be a matter of time before any group of people deemed a threat by any government in this country is in serious trouble.

Charles Clarke is currently attempting to get laws passed in Parliament to allow the arrest of people for “acts preparatory to terrorism.” This term is so wishy-washy that you could find yourself at Paddington Green police station having done no more than bought sugar, alcohol, baking soda, a dishcloth and something in a bottle within the same shopping expedition.

“There are only four ways in which a ruling group can fall from power. Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself. … From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore, the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able, under-employed, power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and scepticism in their own ranks. The problem, that is to say, is educational. … and … the level of popular education is actually declining.”

-George Orwell ~1984

Song Of The Day ~ The Dead 60s – Riot Radio

Original Comments:

Mark Ellott made this comment,
Once again, Orwell says it so well.
I am deeply ashamed to have campaigned for this government in two elections. My only excuse is that I believed they would be better than their predecessors…

Well, you live and learn.

comment added :: 17th September 2005, 10:30 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com