Over the next two weeks the airwaves and the press will be full of programs and articles reflecting upon the events of 9/11. Expect to see lots of talking heads on television, “exclusive” interviews with those involved and “inside” stories on just about every possible aspect of the events that will be portrayed in every media outlet as having “changed the world”.
TheOpinionSite.org will not be covering the events of 9/11 and will not be partaking in the media’s feeding frenzy. We will however be taking a look at the effects of the event upon our freedom and liberty which has since been stolen from the UK public – not by the terrorists but by successive British governments.
It is undoubtedly true that the events of 9th September 2001 did indeed change the world – and changed it for the worse. This change was not solely the result of the awful tragedy that took place in the US that was exacerbated by the response of governments across the world who seized upon the “war on terror” as an excuse to put in place restrictive legislation that otherwise would never have been allowed to pass into law.
The British government was no exception to this phenomenon and Tony Blair in particular, in a self-serving attempt to be recognised as an international statesman, took a more active role in supporting the awful and ignorant George W Bush than virtually any other leader in the world.
Blair was prepared to lie to his own Cabinet, supporting Bush’s view that the attacks in New York had something to do with Saddam Hussein in Iraq when in fact there was no connection whatsoever. Bush wanted the war and so did Blair as they both needed to bolster their ratings in their respective countries given that they were both hugely unpopular by then.
Blair’s response was to introduce more and more criminal legislation relating not only to terrorism but virtually every aspect of normal life. He introduced more than 3000 new criminal offences and had more criminal Justice Bill’s in 10 years than all the governments preceding him for the previous 40 years.
There was an unprecedented rise in the number of UK police officers, the cost of which was passed directly to the public. It is estimated by the government that in 2001 every household in the country was paying about £310 a year towards the cost of the police. By 2010 this figure had risen to about £635 a year.
Under Blair, the prison population exploded as more people will put in prison for newly created offences and sentences were lengthened significantly, sometimes as a knee-jerk reaction to a high profile case and sometimes simply to satisfy the demands of the tabloid press in general and Rupert Murdoch’s publications in particular.
It has been revealed recently that Tony Blair is in fact the Godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s youngest children. It is a fair assumption therefore that Blair’s protestations that he was not overly close to the Murdoch’s was simply another lie. Just as he lied about that, so he lied about the need for more and more restrictive measures and legislation to be placed upon the shoulders of us, the British people.
By the time Blair had gone and Brown had taken over, the damage was already done. For the last 14 years or so, successive Home Secretary’s in wanting to appear to be “tough” on just about everything, have introduced more and more measures to restrict the movement of ordinary people and to imprison, sometimes without charge, those who are accused of any involvement in actual, suspected and often non-existent terrorist activities. A quick call from Washington and Theresa May and her predecessors have all felt the need to bow to the US government’s wishes.
TheOpinionSite.org has watched in despair as the general public, often in complete ignorance of the way in which their freedom is being eroded, has been conned into believing that all these measures have been truly necessary. Most people have failed to understand the political motives and intentions behind this grasp for power which has been so successfully hidden behind those two magic words” public protection”.
Not content with promoting fear in people by suggesting that there is a terrorist on every street, both the previous government and the current coalition have used the same tactics in order to appease the same sectors of the media with regard to “abuse” of one kind or another. Public fears have been deliberately whipped up in order to justify new, draconian legislation. Political correctness and deliberate manipulation by those with vested interests ensures that public fear of terrorism and abuse gives the government a free hand to introduce whatever measures it chooses.
Whether it be domestic “abuse”, child “abuse”, racial or religious “abuse” or any other type of “abuse”, there is it seems “abuse” to be found everywhere in modern life and, as with the perceived but not necessarily true threat from terrorism, tragically almost no one is prepared to stand up and challenge the concept for fear of being criticised by their own friends and families or their professional colleagues.
The courts, particularly the British High Court in London and the UK Supreme Court just across the road from the Houses of Parliament, have been robust in their defence of those accused and sanctioned by the government for alleged terrorist activities.
The infamous Control Orders were found to be unlawful in operation and the government was forced into a “review” – government speak for “We really don’t know what to do about this. We don’t want to give up any of our power but we cannot be seen to be breaking the law either.”
To answer the condemnation from the courts that the government were acting unlawfully, the government are now introducing yet more, new terrorism legislation, supposedly in order to comply with the law requiring them to scrap control orders. However, the new legislation has not finally eliminated these orders, which by the way enable people who have not been charged with any offence to be held under house arrest or in prison without knowing any of the reasons why.
On the contrary, the new legislation introduces not only new powers of arrest for suspected terrorist activities, even if they can’t be proved, but the old control order mechanism is still there, albeit in a slightly different format. Whilst most of the public are both uninterested and uninformed when it comes to government legislation relating to terrorism, the administration does occasionally feel it necessary to find a public excuse in order to take more freedom away from the rest of us.
As a result, police officers turn up on television maintaining that every day they protect us from terrorist threats that are unable to tell us about as secrecy is necessary for successful “public protection”. Government ministers are also often heard in interview saying that “public protection” is the government’s highest priority. Then there are the hundreds of organisations, charities, foundations and other groups who all purport to support the notion of “public protection” whilst essentially being interested only in maintaining their own existence.
When governments, allegedly in order to protect the public, take away everyday freedoms and erode the liberties of those that they supposedly represent, they do the terrorists’ job for them. Once a government has to rely on instilling fear into the public in order to seize more power for itself, the road to true freedom and democracy has been well and truly blocked.
It is ironic indeed that the coalition government under David Cameron and Nick Clegg are seeking to bring in a “Freedoms Bill” whilst at the same time the government is trying to find a way to get round the court ruling that proved it had been acting unlawfully. It is hypocritical indeed that whilst David Cameron in the run-up to last year’s election spent an enormous amount of time criticising Blair’s government for introducing so many new criminal offences, he hasn’t bothered to repeal any of them.
Every time the independent courts make a decision that forces the government to change the law on an issue that upsets the Sun and the Daily Mail, ministers proclaim that they will do “the minimum necessary” in order to comply. Such arrogance and ignorance in the face of the law purely for political benefit does nothing for the aims of real democracy.
Terrorism and public protection are two sides of the same coin. One always has a direct effect on the other but neither should be an excuse the government to seize more and more power and take freedom and Civil Liberties away from the rest of us.
British governments have been able to do this almost without challenge because of misunderstanding and sometimes the blatant ignorance of the general public. Instead of educating the public therefore, successive British governments have chosen to exploit ordinary people in order to force often unnecessary legislation into law.
Our entire political system is designed to prevent ordinary MPs from having any real influence on government policy. The public had a chance to change that in the AV vote last year but chose to ignore the threat and continue with the existing system. Unsurprisingly, most members of the public rarely have much to do with terrorism. Nor do they particularly care about it unless they themselves or someone that they know is directly involved. The same goes for “abuse” of one description or another.
TheOpinionSite.org is proud of its position as one of the leading websites in the UK and has enormous respect for its visitors and subscribers. We will not however condone the power grabbing policies of any government from whichever side of the political divide. Britain was never a true democracy and probably never will be but to use the threat of terrorism and the big lie of “public protection” in order to erode the freedoms of British citizens is perhaps the biggest crime of all.
As the country get bored to death with endless, wall-to-wall coverage of the terrorist atrocity that took place 10 years ago – and it will get bored – TheOpinionSite.org sincerely hopes that people will see behind the event and its causes, its effects and its legacy and instead concentrate on the way the British government, along with other administrations, is continuing to use the tragic deaths of over 3000 people in order to further the expansion of government power and the erosion and annihilation of hard earned freedoms so precious to the rest of us.