The current state of affairs

I've posted a lot about my recent adventures in 'art' (if that is what it may be called). This does not mean that other things have been forgotten. The French course is still going on, though I've not been as 'on top of things' there as I'd like - and I have a pile of paperwork to do today.

The news has been bothering me, a lot. In particular the way that the step of keeping 'suspects' in Belmarsh prison indefinitely is to be extended for everyone in the form of 'house arrest'.

There is talk of making the provision for 'house arrest' on the say-so of the home secretary, without the need for a burden of proof. With regard to Guantanamo and Belmarsh, either you're a prisoner of war, a criminal, or innocent - in each of these cases there is a procedure to follow.

Do we really trust that the power of house arrest on the say-so of a politician would never be misused? Couple this with ID cards and we have a pattern which concerns.

The UK released the people returned from Guanatanamo due to a lack of evidence, and the US were not happy with this. There is a lack of evidence! If evidence is available which is sufficient to deny someone their liberty, then prosecute. If not, don't - continue to surveil, perhaps, but to arrest because someone 'might commit a crime' flies in the face of justice. Anyone might commit a crime - should the population be under house arrest?

Yes, there are nasty people in the world - but should we be abandoning the historical checks and balances due to this?

Though there is much comment which says 'no', inevitably some people say that 'These people are evidently very dangerous and should be kept under lock and key until proved otherwise.' This rather overlooks that if people are evidently dangerous then there is evidence with which a case can be made.... if not...

However, having said all that, I can conceive of a situation where the security services may have information from a reliable, but vulnerable, source - and revealing that evidence would jeopardise the source. This is unfortunately the world we live in, it is messy. It's a tricky position to be in, one I don't envy. This is not an insurmountable problem - in WW2 we were decoding U boat messages, and once we had the tip off we would make sure that we could conceivably have come by the information another way before acting - in the case of U-boats, diverting a ship to 'spot' one before calling in the fleet, for instance. Similar tactics could be employed, perhaps? Without, of course, manufacturing evidence! Any evidence used must be real.

The ex-head of Scotland Yard's anti-terror squad fears a police state, and someone who had that job has to be listened to when they espouse an opinion which is contrary to what one may expect.