Hidden beneath the good news of the withdrawal of army patrols from the streets of Northern Ireland, the government has snuck through powers for police and army in Northern Ireland that it has mooted for the rest of the UK.
They will be able to stop you – without requiring any reason to do so – and ask you to identify who you are, where you are going and why. You will be obliged to reply and justify yourself.
It really is not hyperbole to describe this new power as Nazi or Stalinist, and completely antithetical to the entire heritage of British liberty. It is our right to go about our lives and not to justify ourselves, unless we have actually done something wrong. This is a move to the system I fought in Uzbekistan, where nothing is permitted unless you specifically have authority to do it.
I have written before that the first policeman to stop me for no reason, and demand that I identify myself and explain where I am going, will get bopped on the nose. I attracted much criticism for this, and some of my supporters kindly tried to suggest that I was speaking figuratively. Let me be plain: I really mean it. As our liberties are sluiced away, at some stage respectable people have to start to resist. Or one day we will wake up and find we have no meaningful liberty left at all.