On Monday our glorious Home Secretary faced questions from the equally wonderful Shadow Home Secretary in Parliament over the effectiveness of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures or TPims for short. This comes after the recent disappearance of an individual, under a TPim order by disguising himself in a Burqa and doing a runner from a Mosque. On Tuesday further questions faced the lovely Home Secretary as it was revealed that the remaining 9 TPim orders would all expire in January.
Not to worry though. Those ruddy terrorists will be freed from the TPim orders in January, but you bet your sweet bippy those fabulous and trustworthy chaps at MI5 will be keeping a close eye on them. We can't just allow them to be human beings, after all. This is Britain, a free country that upholds justice and the rule of law. Speaking of the rule of law, has anybody seen it around lately? Or is anyone still sure what it actually is? Seems to have been mislaid during that time those red fellows were in power.
Well, for those of the new generation who aren't used to this strange concept of the rule of law, allow me to explain what it is, and how the control order lite (or TPims as they like to be called in Middle Class England), dropped their pants and took a nice big dump on it.
The Secretary General of those fascists at the United Nations gave us a definition of the rule of law:
"...a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency."
There's a lot of tricky concepts too big to cover in this rant/blog, so anything that is unclear, just go to Google or Wikipedia or something (I did). TPims are orders initiated by the Home Secretary based on evidence presented to her by MI5 (for Queen and Country), usually in secret and can impose restrictions on movement, who they can talk to, and generally monitor their every movement. Now those who are generally wetting themselves in worry over where the next terrorist threat is coming from, you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about. You probably think I'm one of those bloody Europeans trying to impose socialist concepts of human dignity and respect on a country that so desperately wants to do away with such silliness, well I'll tell you what all the fuss is about.
The TPims are generally kept out of view of the criminal justice system, which means they are not independently reviewed by anyone other than May. In fact, the cases in which it was attempted to prosecute individuals based on evidence that would be presented to justify a TPim order, wound up with the individuals being acquitted of the charges, yet they didn't go away empty handed, they got the fantastic consolation prize of restricted movement and being watched 24/7 for two years. YAYYY!!!!
If you are accused of a crime, or in this case, being involved in terrorist activity, until you are tried before a jury, you are, in a country that upholds the rule of law, presumed innocent until proven guilty. The Home Secretary justifies the principle of the orders on the basis that certain evidence is secret, and to be made public would jeopardise national security. Yet if you are going to accept that such orders may be imposed on individuals simply on the whim of the Home Secretary, without any review by an impartial judge or jury, what does this say about the state of our justice system?
The threats of terrorism make us understandably cautious, and we rightly appeal to those in power to take steps to keep us safe. But in the call for safety we should not be willing to sacrifice a very fundamental principle of any nation that even contemplates calling itself 'democratic'. Do not allow the rhetoric that those on the orders are 'very dangerous' or are 'threats to democratic freedom' fool you. The presumption of innocence still stands, and until these men are all tried before a jury of their peers and convicted, they are just as innocent and just as big a threat to the national security of this country than I am.