Posted by: secretperson | October 21, 2008

Paraphernalia of Paranoia

Sir Ken Macdonald, the outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions of England and Wales, has referred to some of the government’s anti-liberal ‘anti-terror’ measures as “paraphernalia of paranoia”.

Though in the clip included in this BBC news story he is positive about the current situation, more positive than many in fact, he also includes some stark warnings of the dangers we could face if we (or should I say Jacqboot Smith) make the wrong decisions:

We need to understand that it is in the nature of state power that decisions taken in the next few months and years about how the state may use these powers, and to what extent, are likely to be irreversible. They will be with us forever. And they will in turn will be built upon.

So we should take very great care to imagine the world we are creating before we build it. We might end up living with something we can’t bear.

and:

We have been absolutely right to resist, whenever they have been suggested, special courts, vetted judges and all the other paraphernalia of paranoia.

Of course, you can have the Guantanamo model. You can have the model which says that we cannot afford to give people their rights, that rights are too expensive because of the nature of the threats we are facing.

Or you can say, as I prefer to, that our rights are priceless. That the best way to face down those threats is to strengthen our institutions, rather than to degrade them.

We would do well not to insult ourselves and all of our institutions and our processes of law in the face of these medieval delusions.

Well said!

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