THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Life is not fair to women: Discuss
Militant Agnosticism?


I have been quiet I know. With the aid of family and friends I have been unpacking my chattels in my new home. I am now permanently and comfortably installed. My broadband is up and running.

No excuses. I could have taken a break to blog if I had chosen. But please consider this. The manager of our national soccer team, an Italian, has been fired for defending perhaps the most important concept gifted by our nation to the world; that of "innocent until proven guilty."

In such a time what more, gentles, could I add?


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Truth might be the first casualty but justice is the next.


I entirely agree about Abu Qatada. A man who has not been convicted of any crime has been imprisoned on the say-so of the executive. This is epitome of injustice-something which should not happen in England- and very much a consequence of the executive declaring that we are "at war" with Al-Qaeda (which is in my view merely a loose association of individuals inspired to commit crime by an extreme interpretation of a religion-not some sort of monolithic organisation).

The case of Huhne and his ex-wife is also of interest, and not only because they have the right to be presumed innocent until found guilty.
They are charged with perverting the course of justice, by conspiring to evade a speeding penalty.

The "offence" of speeding is effectively only an administrative offence i.e. one for the regulation of society, and not in itself a moral wrong. Most people do not regard speeding as a "real" crime-unless in a situation where there is a real risk of harm-e.g. in a town. Huhne was allegedly speeding on a motorway at night-i.e. not a situation where any harm could be done. Therefore there was no moral wrong by any meaningful definition-in other words the concept of "justice" does not enter into the matter at all.

Logically, therefore, because "justice" is not entailed at all, it cannot be perverted.

I am no supporter of Huhne, in fact to me he epitomises the modern bullying career politician we could well do without, but to charge him with such a serious offence over such a non-crime is ridiculous. The course of justice could not be perverted because justice did not enter into it.

Kevyn Bodman

Thank you for this. I agree with you 100%.
None of my friends are regular visitors to libertarian blogs but they all claim to understand the soundness of Fabio Capello's stance and the importance of the presumption of innocence.
My friends and acquaintances are not a representative sample, I know, but where is the support for the other view? I wonder if there is an attempt at opinion-forming going on.

However, among those same people very few share my outrage about Abu Qatada being detained without charge.

We, most of us, reach our opinions by a mixture of rational and visceral response. In the case of Abu Qatada the visceral response certainly seems to have won and to have dominated the reasoned one.

Single Acts of Tyranny

I was tempted to say the Abu Qatada case shows Britain at it's best, (the release not the detention I should add). But then I realise it's some Euro-judges not letting i-Dave deport him.

Huhne too, a more trivial loathesome figure, remains innocent until found otherwise. That said, his actions impact on all of us with expensive energy, where as Qatada is now just a media bogeyman (who may well have evil intentions but is now probably too famous and watched to do very much about them).


The Abu Qatada case was another that made me sigh quietly and avert my gaze from the keyboard. The "Conservative"/"Liberal"-"Democrat" coalition expressed disgust at the release of a man held without charge for more than six years. My disgust is reserved for the sort of banana republic where such a thing is possible. And I agree with you that - hard though it is not to laugh - a climate where a politician must resign before his conviction for a crime is not conducive to the restoration of the true spirit of innocent until proven guilty.

Into this mix on 'innocent until proven guilty', one might also throw in the cases of Chris Huhne and Abu Qatada (neither of whom, for the sake of clarity, get much above rock-bottom approval scores from me).

Since when was judgement easy? And uniform?

Best regards
Nigel Sedgwick

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