Tarry for the Nonce

August 5, 2005

Blair Gets Rough

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:27 pm

Tony Blair is instituting some rather forceful restrictions:

Foreigners who preach hatred, sponsor violence or belong to extremist groups could be deported from Britain under strict new measures that Prime Minister Tony Blair announced Friday, nearly a month after suicide bombers killed 52 people on London’s transit system.

Membership in extremist Islamic groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir would become a crime under the new measures. The group, which advocates the creation of an Islamic state in Central Asia, already is outlawed in several countries.

Blair said the government also would compile a list of Web sites, bookshops and centers that incite hatred and violence. British nationals involved with such organizations could face strict penalties. Foreign nationals could be deported, he said . . .

Blair said anyone linked with terrorism could be refused asylum, and the new measures make it easier for the government to strip extremists of dual citizenship.

I certainly can’t argue with the last two points, but “extremist” is such a subjective term. I’m certainly not comfortable with membership in a political group being sufficient grounds for deportation, nor am I comfortable with the government monitoring web sites, books, etc. Such measures are akin to judging someone for a crime they have yet to commit.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but not at the expense of the personal freedom to hold a difference of opinion.

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5 Comments

  1. Huzzahs to Tony Blair!

    “Should legal obstacles arise, we will legislate further, including, if necessary, amending the Human Rights Act in respect of the interpretation of the European convention on human rights,” the Prime Minister said.

    At a Downing Street press conference before leaving for his summer holiday, he outlined 12 far-reaching curbs on civil liberties to tackle the growth of Islamic extremism….

    “Let no one be in any doubt,” he said, “the rules of the games are changing….”

    He said the circumstances of Britain’s national security had changed and the Government was ready to test its new powers in the courts at home and in Europe…..

    In what will be seen as a plea to British and European judges to reflect the public demand for action, Mr Blair said that France and Spain, both subject to the same human rights convention, were able to deport by administrative decision, with their courts ready to accept assurances that deportees would not be ill-treated on their return….

    Some mainstream Muslim groups backed the measures. Omar Farook, of the Islamic Society of Britain, said that measures to deal with “the menace” of foreign extremists who based themselves in Britain were long overdue….

    “Coming to Britain is not a right and, even when people have come here, staying here carries with it a duty,” he said. “That duty is to ensure and support the values that sustain the British way of life.

    “Those who break that duty and try to incite hatred or engage in violence against our country or our people have no place here.”

    Comment by auntlori — August 5, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

  2. I dunno, auntlori. I have no problem with people who attempt (or succeed) in harming their countrymen being exiled, but I object to witch-hunting them. They will show themselves in time.

    Of course, when they do show themselves, they should be prosecuted, exiled, pursued or whatever. Even if it means chasing them back to their source and dethroning their leaders.

    Comment by laura — August 6, 2005 @ 8:49 am

  3. I dunno, auntlori. I have no problem with people who attempt (or succeed) in harming their countrymen being exiled, but I object to witch-hunting them. They will show themselves in time.

    Of course, when they do show themselves, they should be prosecuted, exiled, pursued or whatever. Even if it means chasing them back to their source and dethroning their leaders

    I would agree if we were not in a war against fundamentalist islamics who want to destroy our culture completely. The problem with waiting until they show themselves is that, by the time they show themselves, they — ummmm — take a few buildings, resort hotels or a few subways with them….

    Comment by auntlori — August 7, 2005 @ 8:45 am

  4. Laura, I don’t really see this as a civil liberties conflict.

    Allowing a foreigner to stay in your country is a courtesy. Presumably, it’s because you value their presence, whether for their work skills, their tourist money, or simply the cultural exchange.

    If someone comes into the country and starts preaching terrorism against its inhabitants, I see nothing wrong with sending him whence he came from. Sorry, old chap, but your presence here is costing more than it’s contributing. Maybe you’ll be happier back in Blokistan. Until you’ve handed someone a passport, you are not obligated to keep them in your borders, and therefore no right of theirs is being violated.

    Which means, ultimately, that you can deport any noncitizen you want. For all such noncitizens, staying in Britain, or the U.S., or France, is a privilege that should not be abused. It’s no different than denying someone entry into the country in the first place — something both the U.S. and Britain should get a little less shy about.

    Comment by Toly — August 7, 2005 @ 11:36 pm

  5. I agree with Toly, Ms. Walker (if that is your real name… ;). I think its bad to target groups and individuals based on what they say, but he’s right in saying that its a privilege to be allowed a visa to stay in a country w/o citizenship. Besides, we’re talking GB here, and not the US. There’s no doubt in my mind that if the US made the same policy, the left (and some of us free speech advocates) would be up in arms. Of course, there’re whackos in California who want to put foreign-born citizens in the President’s chair, and they’re Republican. So… these are crazy times.

    Freedom isn’t free.

    But then, we’re selling out liberty for security almost everyday with no direct influence over it. I saw no vote to put cameras up in Chicago. I heard no arguments against I-Pass. I think the government is getting worse and worse.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security. -Benjamin Franklin

    Comment by Andrew P. — August 8, 2005 @ 10:45 am


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