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House arrest Feb 23

I was planning to write a spiel about the government’s dreadful plans for house arrest on the whim of the Home Secretary. However, since Chris Lightfoot has already said what I was planning to say, I’ll suggest you read that instead.

The soundbites of the debate shown on TV last night were particularly dispiriting. I heard rhetoric about balancing civil liberties with national security and about Charles Clarke having a responsibility to defend us all from The Terrorists. But I didn’t hear why house arrest (which he admitted wasn’t needed at present) is the answer. Just saying “It’s necessary” over and over doesn’t make it any more true. He could have said “9pm curfews for all under-45s” or “CCTV in every home” and used exactly the same rhetoric that it would protect us.*

There are two questions I’d like Tony Blair to answer if he happens to log on today.

1. Given your argument, Tony, that the civil liberties that form our way of life must be limited in order to protect our way of life, which civil liberties do you consider too precious to ever consider restricting? Any at all?

2. Labour will, as usual, claim that anyone not supporting their proposals is helping the criminals/Terrorists/ne’er-do-wells. In order to safeguard this country’s national security, would you therefore recommend voting for a pro-house arrest Tory if they are standing against an anti-house arrest Labour MP?*

*I’m aware these are somewhat facetious. Apologies.

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