Tuesday, July 26, 2005


How exactly did the Lib Dems get a reputation for protecting civil liberties ? Sure, they support a hands-off approach when it comes to enforcing stuff they don't think should be illegal anyway, but where's the courage in that ? There are plenty of laws folks in the City think are stupid, does that necessarily make them civil libertarians ? Surely the test is whether a soi-dissant civil libertarian agrees with laws regulating things they don't agree with ? Put that way, the Lib Dems fail every time.

Take the latest shenanigans in Yorkshire. BNP Chief Loon Nick Griffin is on trial for 'incitement to racial hatred' in so far as he claimed Islam is a violent religion. Nevermind the category error, making a case against him was always going to be an uphill struggle. But now ? Somehow, I suspect the Government will have a hard time convincing anyone that claiming second-generation Islamic immigrants will attack public transport in London is evidence of extreme right-wing views, rather than an ability to add two and two. Hell, Griffin's predictions were a lot closer to the truth than anything which came out of the BBC.

So, what's Liberals Fascists to do ? Folks in Leeds may just remember that at the same time the CPS was trawling for insensitive words in Griffin's speeches, Islamic terrorists were operating freely in their city. Fortunatly, the Lib Dem's Greg Mulholland has the perfect answer: start jury shopping. He's suggested that the trial be moved to..... well, anywhere where the State will get a better chance at a result. Nevermind that this undermines the principles of local justice and a 'jury of peers' - two things which the civil lib freaks traditionally take out the onion for - there's just something basically sleazy about the idea of politicans manipulating the actions of the courts to try and affect the results of a trial. In fact, it occurs to me that this is a perfect barometer of what the Lib Dems support for civil liberties really means: absolutely nothing.

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