Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Glorifying Mendacity

The law that we passed today will allow us to take far stronger action against people who don't just directly engage in terrorism but indirectly incite it. And the important thing is that the type of demonstrations that we saw a couple of weeks ago, where I think there were placards and images that people in this country felt were totally offensive, the law will allow us to deal with those people and say, 'Look, we have free speech in this country but don't abuse it'.
So said Tony Blair, repeating a mainstay of the argument used in support of the bill to outlaw the glorification of terrorism. No arrests had been made at that time.

Today, we learn that, as expected, these activities were illegal under existing laws and that the police are expecting to make arrests "in the near future" under those existing laws. It will come as no surprise to most people to have it confirmed that the law already does allow us to deal with those people and say 'look, we have free speech in this country but don't abuse it'.

Some might wonder how it could be that Blair, who studied law, was a lawyer, and is now in charge of making new laws, did not know this. Is he, in fact, mentally challenged in some way? Most of us, however, realise that Blair is not actually a moron in the way that his public pronouncements sometimes suggest.

No, he's not a moron. He's a liar. It is impossible to believe that Blair was genuinely not aware that already existing laws could be used to arrest these protestors. He must have known but he quite deliberately ignored that unhelpful fact. Rather than accepting and acknowledging the truth, Blair intentionally used the protests as part of a political game in which he attempted look tough and pro-active while portraying his opponents as "soft on terror". Spin, in other words.

And then he wonders why people are so cynical.

Given the circumstances, a reasonable person might ask whether there is a political motivation for the rather long time it has taken to make any arrests. Blair would not have been able to make the point above if those protestors had already been arrested. If they had alredy been arrested, Blair might even have lost the vote on glorification.

But surely the police wouldn't collude in such a scheme, you say. The Met., after all, is led by Sir Ian Blair. Oh....

Little Blair is not a man known to avoid the political arena. By a curious coincidence, his political views seem to coincide with those of the Prime Minister on a remarkably wide range of issues. It is not just a surname they share, it seems.

You call me cynical? I'd say politicians get the cynics they deserve.

For any doubters, here's the Downing Street briefing from that same afternoon.
Asked whether prior to this legislation if there had not been legislation to take action on placards of incitement at protests and if the police had previously not had the tools to tackle it, the PMOS said that he would not comment on cases that were currently under consideration...
I wonder why.

The question is, should we consider outlawing the glorification of mendacity? Does this sort of dishonesty indirectly incite the young people of this country to be similarly mendacious? Young people, vulnerable as they are, should surely be protected from any form of indirect encouragement to become lying weasels.

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