Terry Waite on The UK

'Not Little England' makes a post inspired by a Terry Waite quote, and also references a Boris Johnson article which I linked to in reference to Brian Haw.

I hope that they don't mind if I quote it in it's entirety...


Terry Waite, Boris Johnson: Blair is letting terrorism win

Terry Waite (of kidnapped and held as hostage fame) in Wednesdays Independent (not online):

I wish more people would take notice of...The gradual and insidious restriction of personal liberties in this country as a result of the hype about terrorism. There is a tendency in this government to be reactive without thinking deeply. We're letting a lot of things slip by. If we allow that to happen, terrorism has won because it's deprived us of hard-fought liberties.

(my emphasis)

Boris Johnson:

I have been talking to Agnes Callamard, who leads a free speech charity called Article 19, and she tells me that wherever she now goes on her missions, she finds a shocking new phenomenon. She has just been to the Maldives, where the government is engaged in active repression of the press, shutting down radio stations and locking up journalists if they even carry quotations from the opposing MDP. When she remonstrated, she was told that any criticism was a bit rich coming from a British organisation, given that the British Government has just passed draconian new measures against incitement in the Terrorism Bill.

It was the same story in Nepal, where torture has been used regularly against opponents of the regime, and where there are similar restrictions on free speech. "A senior government official told us that they were only cracking down on terrorists, in the way that they do in the UK," said Callamard.

picking the exerpt to quote on that one was hard, go read the whole article; when I disagree with him, I respect Boris's writing style. When I agree with him (as in this case)? Brilliance.

It's reading Boris and similar that has led me to conclude that not all the Tories are evil bastards. That's still hard for a part of me to accept. But I'd rather have Boris in Govt than the current shower, at least he values the principles we're supposedly fighting the war on terror to defend.

Final word:

Of course these analogies are opportunistic and false, and of course there is no real comparison between Britain and Malaysia, let alone Zimbabwe. Thanks to the goodness of the editor of this paper, I can say more or less whatever I want, provided it is not too catastrophic for circulation. But what Blair fails to understand, when he promulgates this endless succession of new and ineffective Criminal Justice Bills, and when he curtails trial by jury and freedom of speech, and when he enacts all the other potential erosions of liberty that we have seen over the past nine years, is that he is handing a perfect pretext to the despots of the world.