Why are Tony Blair and Charles Clarke "politically attacking" the left wing media commentators e.g. Henry Porter in the Guardian or Simon Carr in the Independent ? Who exactly are they trying to influence ? Surely not the general public ahead of the Local Council Elections ?
Why is the Home Secretary allowed to use the Home Office Website, and presumably make use of Home Office Civil Servant public relations personnel, in order to publish and disseminate his attempted political rebuttal of some of the points made by Simon Carr in the Independent ?
Why was this "letter" to Simon Carr not published on the Labour Party website, at Labour Party expense, instead ?
The fact that Clarke is cherry picking Simon Carr's original article (subscription required for the full article) for strawmen which he tries to rebutt is obvious.
Astonishingly for a cherry picked rebuttal, Charles Clarke's spin doctors comment on 34 points, of which even they have to say that 13 of them are Correct or True, and 5 of them are partially correct !.
As with all propaganda, there needs to be some semblance of the truth to distort, so Clarke gleefully picks up on stupid errors which the Independent's sub-editors should have checked before publication e.g. references to the non-existant "Anti-Terrorism Act 2005" and or to the "Prevention of Terrorism Act" when what was meant was the Terrorism Act 2000 which replaced previous temporary Prevention of Terrorism Acts which used to be renewed every six months during the Northern Ireland "Troubles" and which is different to the "Control Orders" Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.
However even the Bedforshire Police Special Branch at Luton Airport, and South Wales Police in Swansea and the BBC, have been confused by this plethora of similarly named anti-terrorism legislation and have incorrectly used the term "Prevention of Terrorism Act" in official press releases very recently.
Chris Lightfoot dissects some of the lies and distortion in this alleged rebuttal, notably on GM crops.
Here is our own small counter-rebuttal of
6. “A minister can declare a state of emergency and suspend all legal proceedings, including Parliament”.
Correct. The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) allows a Minister of the Crown to introduce temporary emergency laws for part of the country, or even the whole country if Parliament cannot be called into session quick enough for a response. Such laws are limited in duration to 30 days, unless Parliament votes to extend this period before it expires.
Under the Civil Contingecies Act 2004: Part 2 Emergency Powers , there is nothing to stop the Government from preventing the recall of Parliament indefinately, for "safety or security" reasons.
Even if an Emergency Regulation, which has the full force of any Act of Parliament, or the Royal Prerogative expires automatically, there is nothing to prevent another such Regulation being issued immediately - the wording does not even have to be changed.
The power arises from the possibility of extreme actions, including terrorist acts, which might require emergency regulations as a last resort to deal with the effects of the most serious emergencies where current legislative powers are not sufficient.
Surely the prime reason for declaring an Emergency should be natural disasters or man made accidents or pandemic diseases ?
Why is everything "terrorism" in Charles Clarke's mind ?
Their use is subject to tight legal safeguards to ensure that they can only be used in relation to serious emergencies, where the regulations are necessary for the purposes of dealing with the emergency and can only be used in a proportionate way.
There are no criminal penalties for Ministers or for petty bureaucrats who falsely or negligently declare an Emergency.
There are no criminal penalties for the abuse of power under Emergency Regulations by petty officials.
How can the powers for the seizure and even destruction of private property without compensation ever be "proportionate" ?
Moreover any use of emergency regulations must be compatible with the Human Rights Act also introduced by this government, which cannot be overridden.The Human Rights Act 1998 cannot be overriden by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which cannot be used to amend itself.
However, that was not the original intention of NuLabour when they introduced the Civil Contingencies Bill, it was only as a result of Opposition amendments in the Lords that this weak safeguard was incorporated.
There are no such bans on the modification of Human Rights Act or on self-modification in the equally controversial and powerful Legislatative and Regulatory Reform Bill.
The Human Rights Act 1998 does not need to be overriden or modified in an Emergency the Government can simply, by Order derogate i.e. state that it is suspended, from all or part of it, citing a national emergency !
Therefore this claim by Charles Clarke or his spin doctors is a propaganda distortion.
The Human Rights Act 1998 also deliberately does not write into UK law Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which so many other countries who are also signatories find no problem with.
Article 13 – Right to an effective remedy
Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.
Which is exactly what is needed to counter NuLabour's abuses of our civil rights.
N.B. just because NuLabour refused to incorporate it into UK law, does not mean that Article 13 does not apply, it just means that you have to go through the long winded and expensive route of taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.