Blair’s Leviathan

In response to Tony Blair’s speech in launching the ‘Respect Agenda’.

The important thing about debating ASB, and the measures we are proposing, is not to debate it at the crude level of ‘tough’ or ‘not tough’; populist or not. But, instead, to regard it as a genuine intellectual debate about the nature of liberty in a modern developed society such as our own. I welcome the fact the Director of Liberty is making a speech today on the same subject. There is a serious argument against what we are doing and it is right at the centre of political debate with both Opposition Parties joining forces to dismiss what we’re doing.

A “genuine intellectual debate about the nature of liberty in a modern developed society

  • I’m sorry mate, you are wrong and Tony is right.

    A man found with 10,000 in cash late at night with no reasonable explanation DESERVES prosecution regardless of whether the police can actually PROVE it is the result of wrongdoing.

    If I went out tonight and got blind drunk and caused a nuisance in the street and I was consequently fined 100 pounds, I would deserve it. I would prefer that rather than being prosecuted through the court system for a year (EVEN if I was eventually proved innocent). We are talking practicalities here, you are not living in the real world.

    In theory you are spot on to say it’s the bureacracy of the criminal justice system that is the problem NOT the process, BUT you forget ‘due process’ necessarily involves a high level of bureaucracy, the two are interdependent.

    It terms of low level punishment for low level crimes, it is BETTER to punish the innocent than to let the guilty go free.

    Being innocent and getting a 100 pound fine is not the end of the world. Dishing out fast and proportionate punishment to the guilty benefits us all by lessening the chance of them progressing to worse crimes.

    This is just not possible if you are going to give them the the full legal process which is neccessarily expensive and time consuming.

    I’m sorry but, principles and tradition mean nothing here. You are going to have to prove to me why, for instance, trial by jury is important in complicated fraud cases when they drastically increase the expense and reduce the success of the trial even going to term. Prove that ‘trial by jury’ is more accurate. There is a strong scientific case that people like Dawkins have made to show why the jury process is flawed.

    Is it good for civil liberties that defence lawyers pick jurors of the basis of whether they are likely to acquit rather than whether they are likely to be fair?

    I am not in favour of removing the choice to have trial by jury in serious cases and neither is this government but these questions have to be asked.

  • Dissenter

    Bloody hell Neil

    what kind of authoritarian state do you want to live in.

    Somebody DESERVES prosecution regardless of whether the police can actually PROVE it is the result of wrongdoing.

    so as long as we think you are guilty then we can prosecute you?

    it is BETTER to punish the innocent than to let the guilty go free

    that is a pretty catch all statement. if we lock up enough people, at least some of them will be guilty! I totally disagree with this. It is a much greater injustice for one innocent man to suffer punishment (and the indignity of conviction) than for one guilty man to be to avoid it. (please note that i use “man” here in the non-gender-specific definition that it originally holds)

    I’m sorry but, principles and tradition mean nothing here.

    you may have such disregard of your principles but i hold my own in much higher regard.

  • Dissenter

    Bloody hell Neil

    what kind of authoritarian state do you want to live in.

    Somebody DESERVES prosecution regardless of whether the police can actually PROVE it is the result of wrongdoing.

    so as long as we think you are guilty then we can prosecute you?

    it is BETTER to punish the innocent than to let the guilty go free

    that is a pretty catch all statement. if we lock up enough people, at least some of them will be guilty! I totally disagree with this. It is a much greater injustice for one innocent man to suffer punishment (and the indignity of conviction) than for one guilty man to be to avoid it. (please note that i use “man” here in the non-gender-specific definition that it originally holds)

    I’m sorry but, principles and tradition mean nothing here.

    you may have such disregard of your principles but i hold my own in much higher regard.

  • “you are wrong and Tony is right” – a more standard statement of Blairite belief I don’t think I’ve ever seen. That’s what counts as a “genuine intellectual debate about the nature of liberty” now?

  • pip

    I think much of the Bliar’s argument shows why he is in politics. He was a crap lawyer (barrister) with a crap understanding of the rudiments of the law.

    And as for Neil Harding he shows the same moral ineptitude as the arse he is reaming. Bliar and Harding are both moral pygmies with their monochromatic view of right and wrong, good and evil. Their philosophy is that “I know what is right and therefore if you don’t agree you are wrong”. Fuckwits and moral cretins both!

  • You are fibbing again Tony!
    Yesterday in his “Respect

  • I’m reminded of Disraeli on Peel:

    “He is so vain that he wants to figure in history as the settler of all the great questions; but a Parliamentary constitution is not favourable to such ambitions; things must be done by parties, not by persons using parties as tools – especially men without imagination or any inspiring qualities, or who, rather, offer you duplicity instead of inspiration.”

    Certainly it requires no great feat of imagination to see a New Labour Government is an Organised Hypocrisy, but I still find it hard to decide whether it’s really dishonesty or merely deep-seated stupidity and ignorance.

    Neil Harding, by the way, seems to have completely lost the plot finally. But he liked his comment so much, he posted it (at greater length) on his fawning pro-Blair blog.

    [sigh]