Being afraid…

Abridging ancient rights seems to come naturally to British Governments of all complexions. Something about power makes them itch – all those quaint checks and balances and constraints on power really wind them up. “I am in charge now and I will permanently damage the Bill of Rights/Magna Carta/Parliament Act/Ireland Act (delete where not applicable) if I feel like it.&rdquo (and don’t even try to tell me that Labour are worse than the Tories or I will be forced to produce a long list of Conservative constitution-busters for your delectation).

In The Observer, Andrew Rawnsley puts a charitable twist on the story. He reckons ministers (especially Clarke) are scared half to death: that a phalanx of spooks and mandarins have made it their full-time job to get them all in a funk about Madrid-style bombings in the run-up to the election. I’ll be honest – I prefer this explanation to the more depressing authoritarian scenario and, if Clarke et al are genuinely scared, then I think we ought to know…

1 comment

  1. I’d like to point out that, horrific though the Madrid bombing undoubtably was, it could hardly be said to have constituted an existential threat to the nation. Spain has sailed on almost regardless (well, unless you count the change of government at the subsequent election, which Tony Blair would no doubt class as an existential threat). The dead were largely working class. The nation mourned and moved on with nary a tremour.
    The same would happen here. We would be horrified, but we couldn’t claim it threatened the nation.

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