back to article New Labour bring old Nuremberg Laws to Britain

Police officers could find themselves on the wrong end of a citizen’s arrest if they follow advice issued by Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, after the European Court of Human Rights slapped the UK's stop and search laws. According to government lawyers, however, so long as officials are "only obeying orders", there is little the …

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ACPO guidance?

ACPO guidance is that photographers etc should NOT be arrested, so police officers arresting them would not be following orders, and so be liable to prosecution.

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indeed

this was initially on record on BB1 breakfast too.

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Anonymous Coward

OTOH, to run the problem on its head

If a police officer is clearly taking the pi$$ in stopping someone for taking photographs, one could perform a citizen's arrest on suspicion the officer in question is in fact impersonating a police officer (especially if there are clearly no reasonable grounds for suspicion or if the officer "appears" to be attempting to receive good by deception)....

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Grenade

Your a citizen

The hurdle for a citizen to make a lawful arrest is huge. Something like you have to be able to prove that the person did the crime.

This is entirely different from police making an arrest: they only have to suspect that a crime has been committed. They don't need proof either that the crime was actually committed nor that you had anything to do with it.

The police have *enormous* powers but rather than holding them to higher standards (e.g. doubling the sentence of any bent cops that get caught) they get to take early retirement.

Posting using my real name because I ain't a coward.

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Linux

Don't even go there

As a former police officer I have to say: Don't try to make a citizens arrest on a police officer. If you really suspect they may not be a real PO then ask to see their ID. A real PO will provide you with sufficient opportunity to establish their position.

If you disagree with the actions of a PO fight them in court. On the street they have all the power - court is a much more even playing ground.

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Stop

Very Uneven Playing Field!

"If you disagree with the actions of a PO fight them in court. On the street they have all the power - court is a much more even playing ground."

So, on the street, where we're not paying for lawyers, etc, the police have "all the power". But in court, with costs to deal with, paperwork to complete, all the time and effort required, etc, only then is it a "much more even playing ground".

Er, by that point, it's already very, very far from being anything like an "even playing ground"!

This is a huge part of the problem with things as they are these days. The State's burden has been lightened considerably - it's so much easier to act, to arrest, to enter buildings, etc, without specific warrants, and so on. But in order to even reach some kind of "even playing ground", in order to get something like proper judicial oversight, the ordinary member of the public has to go to considerable lengths in comparison.

Significant amounts of time, effort and money are required, where it has to be more like a committed crusade, since it can take months or years (as in the human rights cases in this article). In comparison, those acting on behalf of the State are getting paid for their time and effort, with the State - or, rather, the public collectively - bearing the costs of the State's actions. And often the lower courts (or whoever the overseeing authorities happen to be) are limited to only making sure that the letter of the relevant procedures were followed by those acting on behalf of the State.

Yes, in the end, after years of effort and lots of time and money, costs might end up getting awarded to us ordinary members of the public. But even when that happens, it's still the State - or, rather, the public collectively - paying. And this is all in contrast with "on the street", where the police have "all the power".

And you think that constitutes "a much more even playing ground"!

Don't you realise that this bigger picture is just the kind of gross disparity between citizen and state that actually makes direct and subversive action (of the kind you're advising against) increasingly attractive in contrast with doing it "properly" in the way you recommend? If direct, subversive action ends up being the cheaper, quicker, easier way of taking action, then more and more people will consider taking that kind of approach.

When the option of fighting on an even field requires scaling a remote, high mountain to first reach that plateau, it's no surprise when the urban guerrilla chooses to fight subversively on the streets of Tooting instead. (That's a metaphor, by the way, in reference to popular sitcom Citizen Smith. I'm not actually seeking to incite criminal activity with that metaphor.)

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

(Where's the Citizen Smith icon? Or even just Che Guevara.)

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Identification of police

There is only one way to verify the identity of a police officer beyond reasonable doubt. Phone the police station and ask. Since the number is probably not readily available then that means 999. Do you know what police id looks like well enough to detect a forgery? A uniform is a bit better but they have been faked/hired/stolen on occasion. Even a police car if my memory serves correctly.

Of course the law will take the line that the police are the police because they say that they are the police so you will be guilty of mucking them about. Conversely you are a terrorist because, well actually, they don't have to have a reason.

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Get the ID card then

2400 people have already, surely they can't be the only non terrorists in the UK?

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Badgers

maybe

But they must be the only 2400 people in the country who can open a bank account, pick up a parcel or get into clubs. The rest of the 60 million-odd are just hanging around outside these establishments helplessly wringing their hands.

Oh wait, it's all bollocks, isn't it.

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Megaphone

Hey dude where's my country

I thought we were supposed to bring Law and Order and Demoncracy to Iraq.

Seems to be working the wrong way round. They're are sending all their BAD laws over here.

Vote for change. If everybody voted they couldn't get away with this

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Joke

Sir

If Democracy ever actually works in Iraq, I'll probably emigrate there instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Vote for change?

The expenses scandal showed the conservatives are as corrupt as labour so whom do we vote for?

I vote Lib-Dem every time: low chance of winning but if you do at least something will happen.

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Joke

forgot to mention

as they are bringing back nuremburg laws what about the charge of "conspiricy to / waging an aggresive war" that they used on nearly all the nazi's on trial. i think a few MP's might start sweating then :)

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Thumb Up

yes!

quite a few people went to the gallows for that.

now there is a comforting thought.

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Jobs Horns

as the nazis said,

bevel ist bevel.

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Anonymous Coward

Ya

Ya - an order is an order.

I hope everyone realises the HO's use of this will be trotted out each and every time the Govt get their botty's smacked by Europe...

DO no be suprised if it is trotted out regarding, DNA retention, Phorm trials etc etc.

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Stop

Does HRA Get Out Clause breach Convention?

One obviously questions whether the 1998 Human Rights Act is itself compatible with the convention, as it allows state authorities to breach the Convention provided some primary legislation exists to back them up.

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Flame

Obliged to Comply with Violation of Our Own Rights?

THIS IS A FLIPPING OUTRAGE!!!

This significant, serious flaw in the Human Rights Act seems to mean that we are therefore legally obliged to comply with violations of our own human rights. How can that possibly be just? It's plainly perverse!

If I remember correctly, the Lib Dems were concerned, at the time it was a Bill going through Parliament, that this was a significant deficiency. I seem to remember it was a particular, and significant, point of contention. (At least, that's what I vaguely remember.)

So imagine this:-

PC Plod: I'm stopping and searching you under Section 44.

Citizen: Since I have the right not to have my human rights violated, and since I cannot be under any obligation to comply with a violation of human rights in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, I have the right not to comply. I will not comply.

PC Plod: You're nicked! You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?

Citizen: No, I don't understand. Obviously I do have the right not to comply with violation of my own rights, since that's an essential part of what rights are. I have the right not to comply with human rights violations, and I am exercising that right by refusing to comply with this rights-violating arrest.

PC Plod: I'm charging you with resisting arrest.

Citizen: Since I have the right not to have my human rights violated...

...

European Court of Human Rights: ____________

Anyone care to bet how the European Court of Human Rights would fill in the blank?

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FAIL

Another victory...

... for the terrorists as, once again, our leaders dance to their tune and pi$$ all over another fundamental freedom.

Human rights? We've heard of them, but so what?

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Big Brother

I give up...

"In plain English: even if a particular law is "unlawful" an official acting in compliance with that law would not themselves be acting unlawfully. Or, to put it another way, some 60 years after the Nuremberg Trials, the UK government appears to have enshrined in UK law – in the Human Rights Act, no less – the principle that no matter how illegal a law, so long as officials are merely obeying orders, they cannot be held responsible for their actions. ®"

...and there you have it. this was squeezed through Parliament on purpose when no-one was looking.

In plain English - we are officially, enshrined in law, under a dictatorship - democracy simply does not exist in this country.

Stupid, childish students who have failed to grow up - I bet all the front bench on the Labour side still have posters of Che Geuvara on their bedroom walls, wear combat jackets at home and use patchouli as aftershave.

Please, can we have some adults in charge of this country...purlease!

Anon - obviously!

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Headmaster

On the other hand...

We can now enact all those stupid laws that were never taken off the statute books with no fear of prosecution such as being able to kill a Scot for carrying a bow and arrow within the city walls of York on a Sunday, or arresting a woman for kissing a man with a moustache and a million others.

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Silver badge

You think?

Have you seen the front benchers on BBC Parliament? I bet not a one of them knows who Che Guevara is. They'd look him up on Wiki [*], look at "that picture" and think "he looks like a terrorist, quick write more asinine legislation"...

* - this is taking a leap of faith that they even know what Wikipedia is.

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Statistics please...

...of how many Scots are in the walls of York on a Sunday carrying a bow and arrows?

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Anonymous Coward

@statistics

Some tell Gordon there's a fancy dress party in York next sunday - Robin Hood theme...

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UK Enabling Act 2009

UK version of the Nazi Enabling Act of 1933 (for those of you across the pond, you already have your own version of in the form of the Patriot Act) - all 3 are meant to 'protect' and 'only used in extreme circumstances', but all know what happened in Germany.

and here's one of the 1933 decrees....(ring any bells)

ARTICLE 1. In virtue of paragraph 2, article 48,* of the German Constitution, the following is decreed as a defensive measure against communist acts of violence , endangering the state:

Sections 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. Thus, restrictions on personal liberty [114], on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press [118], on the right of assembly and the right of association [124], and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications [117], and warrants for house-searches [115], orders for confiscation as well as restrictions on property [153], are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

*Article 48 of the German Constitution of August 11, 1919:

If public safety and order in Germany are materially disturbed or endangered, the President may take the necessary measures to restore public safety and order, and, if necessary, to intervene with the help of the armed forces. To this end he may temporarily suspend, in whole or in part, the fundamental rights established in Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153

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Anonymous Coward

Ring any bells...

yes it does...the original Enabling Act (Abolition of Parliament Act) was kicked out after a well fought campaign.

Then the tricky gits sneaked bits in here and there and we now have Constitutional Renewal Bill - you can read all the awkwardness here all put in place by Jack The Knife as he's known in the corridors of dictatorship, sorry Parliament.

http://p10.hostingprod.com/@spyblog.org.uk/blog/2008/03/danger_draft_constitutional_renewal_bill_part_6_tries_to_remove_even_the_limited.html

It is wise to know also that Obama put through an Enabling Act.

The Orgiinal Nazi Enabling Act is copied almost verbatim in all cases...

Think I'll go grow my own and live in a cave where I'm left to defend myself....Oh wait!

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Flame

Sir

That looks remarkably like the blueprint for New Britain that I saw the Home Secretary putting away in his drawer when I went round for a moan the other day.

I mean, it actually *worked* before, why the hell shouldn't it work now?

Germany's primary downfall in WWII was to let the charismatic insane leader make military decisions. If they learn from their mistakes, we probably are looking at the start of a 1000 year reign of terror.

Mind you, perhaps they are just putting in the ground-work for the inevitable collapse of the world economy once the natural resources run out - and who said politicians don't plan more than 4 years ahead!

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Anonymous Coward

The last hope?

The only glimmer of hope remaining is that those in power rarely learn from the mistakes of those who have been in power previously. Hell, they seldom ever learn from their *own* mistakes.

When we have a charismatic, *sane* leader with the smarts to avoid the usual errors made by previous wannabe dictators, we will truly be screwed.

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Anonymous Coward

China?

Were you thinking "China" as you wrote this?

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Only following orders, but admissibility...?

OK, so UK law protects "only following orders", but let me ask you this:

Is it not still the case that evidence illegally procured is inadmissible in court? As such, random stop-and-search is still a very bad idea, because even if by random luck you find a terrorist masterplan, the address book of the entire Al-Qaeda network and a nugget of weapons-grade plutonium, any attempts to prosecute would (or should) get thrown out of court (wrongful arrest, inadmissible evidence etc). Any attempts to get a court-order for surveillance would have to be turned down (again, no admissible evidence).

I don't suppose the Reg could ask the Home Office about that, could you?

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Anonymous Coward

Excellent point.

And HM Government should have thought of that already especially given how many lawyers there are in it. But foresight, wisdom and competence are not attributes you'd assign to any New Labour cabinet.

Never thought I would say this but I miss Maggie Thatcher. Wicked old battle axe but at least she was honest, unlike all her successors.

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dunno

I guess that if it was the only evidence yes, but subsequential evidence would put you in doubt. Just because the initial stop and search was invalid does not exempt you from the fact that you did have a bomb making factory in your house.

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Headline 'Nuremberg Laws'

The Nuremberg Laws are nothing to do with the defence plea at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. Instead they were a series of edicts first announced at the Nazi Party Conference in 1935 which stripped Jews of German citizenship and their rights.

I think you're thinking of the 'Nuremberg Defence'.

So while the new British law is bad, it isn't comparable to the Nuremberg Laws.

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Grenade

Nuremberg Trials

The Nuremberg trials where unique in that they created new laws that where not in place when the acts/crimes where carried out, so they where retrospective, which is always illegal and just plain wrong. Anyhoo, by the same laws, you'd see Blair, Brown, and the rest of the "NuLabour" Gang as well as Bush on trial for

1.Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace

2.Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace

3.War crimes

4.Crimes against humanity

I want to see Blair and his gangsters stand trial, found guilty and hang.

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Anonymous Coward

Au Canada

Every day in Every way I get a little closer to wanting a one way ticket, instead of just visiting for the Grand Prix in June!

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Coffee/keyboard

Got here last summer

It might not be perfect over here (the govt. cancelled parliament so that they could get out of a spot of trouble and tasering cops killed a man), but we don't have cctv on every corner, you can take photos without fear of a night in the cells, and civil liberties still mean something.

Not thinking about buying a ticket back home just yet.

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Headmaster

Re : The Indomitable Gall

"Is it not still the case that evidence illegally procured is inadmissible in court?"

I don't believe that's ever been the case under English Law, evidence is evidence no matter how it was obtained. Regina v Leatham 1861 et al.

Obtaining evidence illegally may be a crime and punishable in its own right though.

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Grenade

Tool?

"Stop and search powers are an important tool..." - so says the self-important tool, to harummphed agreements from all the other self-important tools currently masquerading as the "Cabinet", occupying space where a real government would otherwise sit.

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@Only following orders, but admissibility...?

Inadmissible in court- only counts if it goes to court , if it only goes as far as a hood being put over your head and you being bundled onto a plane to pakistan/syria/etc then it doesn't really matter.

Of course that would only happen to terrorists, it could never be used against anti-war protesters, striking miners or anyone else.

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FAIL

The Uniformed Jobsworth

... now has gov't stamped carte blanche to ply his trade. You can just imagine PCSOs and the denser end of coppering rubbing their hands at this - no longer do laws actually have to be legal for them to enforce them, it's only a short mental step till they all convince themselves this applies to the ones they made up on the spot too. Walking on the cracks in the pavement? No problem. Possession of an offensive wife? That'll do nicely.

A charter for the mean spirited, petty minded and unjustifiably egocentric nutter with a warrant card. PC Savage lives and positively thrives in New (Improved!!) Labour's little Stalinist playground. Abandon hope indeed.

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Big Brother

Admissibility... etc

1. "Is it not still the case that evidence illegally procured is inadmissible in court?" Er, no. You've been watching too many American movies.

There's no such rule of law in England and Wales. The old "judges rules" used to punish manifest police misbehaviour in that way, but that was a matter of the practice of the courts. Since PACE, statute seems to be clear that illegally obtained evidence is admissible unless the court makes a specific decision to exclude it. Under s78(1) of PACE, "In any proceedings the court may refuse to allow evidence on which the prosecution proposes to rely to be given if it appears to the court that, having regard to all the circumstances, including the circumstances in which the evidence was obtained, the admission of the evidence would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings that the court ought not to admit it."

****

2. I think the premise of the original article is wrong. The relevant section doesn't give police exemption when they are following orders. It is broader and narrower than that. It is when they are following their own interpretation of statute. Which might be worse.

Parliament will have passed that section to try and protect public authorities making honest mistakes about the scope of the law. The Home Office wants it to do something else, which is to permit officials to carry on misinterpreting it when the interpretation has been made clear. That might be OK if you believe in the unequivocal supremacy of the crown in parliament and you only want to ignore Strasbourg. What is more worrying is there's nothing in the HO line that restricts such official impunity to ignoring Strasbourg. They are in effect telling officers they can safely ignore judgements of the domestic courts as well, where they confict with police practice. And that's the rule of a police-state, not of common law.

***

3. My favourite name for a solicitors' firm: Wright Hassall (of Leamington Spa).

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Even ?

"Obtaining evidence illegally may be a crime and punishable in its own right though."

Even when following orders ?

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Big Brother

The Innocent are Guilty

Google for John Stalker. You couldn't have a more innocent person ( police ACC I beleive ). However certain parts of maggies mob needed him to be found guilty, so he was.

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Grenade

Business as usual

is what I think I read.

This merely gives legal cover for the unlawful acts already being carried out. Nothing new here then, eh.

It extends the other tweakings this Goovermin have been making, like those to the Housing Act, which now allows Benefit making Authorities to screw the public they are providing benefit for. ALL overpayments are recoverable, even if the Benefit Agency screwed up and have caused you financial ruin. It does state, "unless of Hardship", but who the fuck is assessing your hardship ?

The LGA or DWP that made the financial errors !

The f*ckin' slave driver of course !

They also save a bundle on training.

This type of mind set allows authorities to fuck up big time without having to pay the price, as joe public will get the bill or the big stick, every time.

ALF

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Anonymous Coward

What is the Labour Party Agenda?

It sounds like they just want tyrannical control over the UK. Cromwell is probably spinning, doing back flips and assorted somersaults in his grave.

But let's assume that these laws are really to do with terrorism, then instead of bad laws tackling the symptoms the causes should be addressed:

There are three main problems in the Arab lands: Israel, oil and the occupation of Muslim Holy Ground.

The western occupation, outside of Israel, of the Holy Grounds needs to change immediately, that is just churlish and provocative behaviour.

Oil companies should be taxed to the hilt, until alternatives are found, and that taxation should be ploughed into finding alternatives that oil companies can then claim and move into. Free market principles are just not worth the entire free market and the countless human lives that are being lost to it.

The Israeli state: Canada, US or Australia would have been more appropriate locations. And, perhaps it would make sense to encourage the Israelites out of Israel to another promised land, that all other Nations help to fund, including the Arabs. The Torah may have something to say on this, and a better interpretation of what constitutes the promised land, could be had.

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Anonymous Coward

The Israeli state

There is a actually a fairly strong 'liberal' secular Israeli movement that fancies just that; they've had enough of the situation as it is and the destabilising effect 'The Orthodox' (as I've often heard it put) have on government in Israel, and are tired of being internationally loathed for things they themselves consider unjust. I've heard Africa, and in particular Zambia, mentioned before, but by buying the land for a small country rather than stealing it from its rightful owners as Israel mk1 did. There is a precedent as the original zionists did just that, by buying Palestine up one piece at a time using funds raised in Europe, and means from fair to utterly foul.

I don't find myself saying this very often, but the harshest (and often the most eloquent) critics of the excesses and iniquities of zionism and the Israels are very often Israelis themselves. Try reading Amira Haas at haaretz.com.

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Alert

Human Rights Act, Section 3

Here's section 3 of the Human Rights Act:-

"3 Interpretation of legislation

(1) So far as it is possible to do so, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights.

(2) This section—

(a) applies to primary legislation and subordinate legislation whenever enacted;

(b) does not affect the validity, continuing operation or enforcement of any incompatible primary legislation; and

(c) does not affect the validity, continuing operation or enforcement of any incompatible subordinate legislation if (disregarding any possibility of revocation) primary legislation prevents removal of the incompatibility."

And so it is, that in New Labour's New Britain, the State reserved the right to violate our human rights.

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@ Al Fazed

of course, this is government. No incompetence shall go unrewarded

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Anonymous Coward

@Edward Kenworthy

With all due respect* I think you will find the only reason the LibDems had fewer MPs taking the piss is that they have fewer MPs.

If you check: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8047390.stm

you will find the LibDems are at least as bad as the rest of the lying, thieving scum but with the added "fun" of PR. So a vote for the LibDems means seats for the BNP.

*which is about zero if you admit to being a LibDem voter.

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