For the first time in ages I actually bought a lot of Sunday newspapers and have finally got around to reading them. Scary thing is, whilst people are concentrating on the Speakers woes, I've just noticed that the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is planning on suspending habeas corpus. OK, so the News of the Screws does not report it that way of course, but that is, it seems to me, the implications of her latest Ten-Year Plan (like Stalin but only better because it's not five years).
Apparently she is planning on allowing the Police to have the power to seize all the assets of a suspect upon arrest. Now, you may very well be a staunch social conservative and think a 'drug pushing scumbag' should get what they deserve, but I'm afraid this really is the thin end of the wedge. If - as Smith plans - the state will be able to seize all the assets of someone before they are even charged then what you're effectively doing is saying that the person is assumed guilty until proven innocent.
When you couple this with the already existing criminal assets legislation, someone can be acquitted and still lose their assets on the basis of little more than 'reasonable grounds'. The difference now is that the limits that say assets no older than a certain time (as well as the exemption of personal property) will be seized without any crime needing to be proven. We often hear Brown, Smith, the Government telling us how they love Britishness right? Well tell me this, is there anything less British than taking Magna Carta and ripping it to shreds?
Let's be under no illusions here, this is a policy designed for pure triangulation on crime. Come up with quite possibily the most anti-liberty, anti-justice policy ever, and then make sure that anyone who may oppose it can be portrayed as 'soft on crime'. To paraphrase Edmund Burke, whenever a separation between justice and liberty is made neither is safe.