Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Another brick in the wall

Here is yet another truly sinister piece of proposed UK legislation and it goes to show that it is not just Labour who has little concern for citizens rights.

Tory Lord Moynihan has drawn up a draft Bill to give the police powers to search for performance enhancing drugs.

His ostensible reason, he claims, is to help prevent Olympic athletes cheating with performance enhancing drugs come the 2012 Olympics.

This sounds almost acceptable - if you are the sort of person who does not bother to to think to closely about these things.

The first thing to consider about any legislation is how it might go wrong because it has been poorly drafted.

It is unlikely the bill will be able to distinguish between ordinary citizens and athletes, let alone Olympians.

Also this relates not to so-called illegal drugs whatever you consider the merits or otherwise of prohibition. This relates to drugs which it may be perfectly legal to posess, may even be medically necessary for some conditions, but that also may enhance athletic performance.

My elderly mother is on steroids of some sort. She is therefore certainly in possession of what might be considered “performance enhancing drugs”.

The second thing is to ignore the claimed reason for it and consider what powers it will actually give to the state and it’s increasingly politicised police ‘service’.

You can be absolutely certain, whatever the ostensible reason for the additional powers, the police, or anyone else given them, will be using them to the fullest extent that is possible.

If you doubt this you only have to look at the lawful, but effectively misuse, of legislation that has resulted in the police harassing innocent photographers.

Or the violent ejection of an elderly Labour Party conference attendee from Conference when he made the mistake of criticising the Government.

Or the hundreds of incidences of local councils misusing anti terrorist legislation to spy on people’s refuse bin use, or where they live.

So what will this proposed piece of authoritarian legislation do? Apparently it will allow the police to raid a place of residence, for no better reason than to seize perfectly legal (if performance enhancing) drugs.

Another significant chunk of your and my right to live unmolested by an increasingly authoritarian state being gradually and stealthily stolen away while you don’t notice - and it is just too much bother to make a fuss over such a small thing.

Why this time? For the truly world shattering and absolute necessity to make it a little bit more difficult to cheat at sports. Even if it were instead supposed to save lives it might be a price too high to pay

You should be concerned. Don’t just sit there. Take 5 minutes to actually do something. Complain to your MP. It is easy and completely free, just go to the ‘They work for you’ site. Enter your post code plus a few details and the site will forward your note to your MP.

If you can’t think of how to put your objection then just paste this in:

Dear Sir/Madam/etc.,

I am writing to you as my MP, my representative in Parliament to make you aware of my strong objections to Lord Moynihan’s draft bill that proposes to give the police powers to search residences for, otherwise legal drugs, that enhance athletic performance in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

Even with safeguards this legislation poses a great risk to our rights and liberties. It is a case of the proverbial hammer being used to crack the nut. All in the name of sports.

Many people require these so-called “performance enhancing” drugs on a daily basis for their health. Such legislation could theoretically mean police would have the power to search the homes of many people who have nothing to do with the Olympics.

We have seen a number of recent instances where other supposedly laudable, but draconian, legislation has effectively been trivially misused in ways we were assured would never occur when the legislation was passed, take the matter of councils spying in on household refuse for but one instance. I am sure like the rest of us you must be well aware of others.

If these powers are granted they will inevitably be used and more.

Can you please advise me, in clear language, weather you intend to represent me, my views and oppose this legislation, or not.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your reply.

yours faithfully

#your name here#

Quote of the day

"The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to "create" rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting."

William J. Brennan, Jr

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."

Abraham Lincoln