Yesterday’s Independent newspaper carries a powerful article by Henry Porter. It charts the loss of civil liberties in the UK created by nine years of the Blair Government. He describes clearly and powerfully how, given a choice between personal liberty and collective security and public order, Tony Blair has consistently plumped for the latter. And all, seemingly, with nary a whimper from the great British public.
Could it happen here? Political labels apart, Blair and Howard seem to be temperamental and philosophical soul mates. The general tenor of government discourse in the two countries has disturbing parallels.
Indeed, how far down this path has Australia already travelled in response to the “war on terror” and the assault on Australia’s shores of waves of queue jumpers and proto-terrorists? Porter’s article exemplifies the challenge of understanding the cumulative effect of measures spread across different pieces of legislation. And this is in a unitary state, rather than a Federal system.
It would be very interesting to understand how far Commonwealth and State action post Tampa and 9/11 has taken us down the Blairite road. Would Churchill be spinning rapidly in his grave in response to these trends? Or do we only warrant the odd lazy half twist?