As a nation, we seem to have lost the ability to protest. When I went to university, the era of the student protest was coming to an end. With the exception of the Countryside march some years ago, and the occasional anti-war demonstration, I sense things have become much worse.
July and August see many of us packing our bags for sunnier climes - or at least for another, rainy part of the UK. But for some, the prospect of a family holiday, or of visiting relatives living abroad, is a distant dream. For many, affordability is an issue. And in our increasingly fast-paced world, finding time for a break whilst juggling work, school and other childcare commitments can be a difficult balance to strike. But what on earth does this have to do with human rights and civil liberties, I hear you cry?
A hostage is defined as a person held by a belligerent party as security or a preventive measure against certain acts of war. Dominic Grieve and Ken Clarke have - until yesterday - been self-sacrificing hostages. Their presence in Cabinet stopping an all-out Tory war on our precious human rights protections. But yesterday Grieve and Clarke were released by their long-time, somewhat reluctant, captors. William Hague also left his post as Foreign Secretary.
The Right Honourable Dominic Grieve QC MP, who has left the Government in the Prime Minister’s reshuffle, was one of the finest Attorneys-General of modern times. Fittingly for the country’s most senior law officer, he always put legal principles first and party politics second.
Since the Government unveiled its “emergency” Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill – “DRIP” for short – late last week, our politicians have been falling over themselves to assure us that there’s no cause for concern. Oh, this “technical" new law? Don’t worry dear voters, it simply maintains the status quo. Just trust us. Move on.
“An unacceptably high risk of unfairness.” So said Mr Justice Ouseley of the Detained Fast Track (DFT) system in a High Court judgment handed down today. Liberty has long railed against a system which strips people of basic fair trial protections and denies them their liberty for administrative convenience.
Today our client, mother-of-three Eileen Clark, will be put on a plane by police officers at London Heathrow and extradited to the US – where the husband she fled almost 20 years ago waits to face her in court.