New Labour were the chief culprits in moving Britain away from a liberal democracy and into an authoritarian state. The series of “anti-terror” laws they put through were the most draconian in British history, far outweighing anything the government of Lord Liverpool did with the Six Acts. Yet the entire liberal establishment went along with Blair, and those of us who warned we were sliding fast away from democracy were denounced as conspiracy theorists.
You hope there will be moments which will wake people up. I not only hoped but believed that I could myself trigger such a moment when I blew the whistle on the Blair/Straw policy of widespread complicity in torture. I discovered to my great personal cost, and as a matter of cathartic personal disillusionment which has defined my entire life since, that the establishment were perfectly OK with torture.
I should like to believe that today’s advent of totally secret criminal trials in the UK is another moment when revulsion might set in. But I am not holding my breath, as an 800 year right to open justice is removed. Theresa May had already applied to have another case heard in secret in which the government is being sued for complicity in torture.
I know from eye-witness report that it was only Jack Straw’s fear of an open trial and a free jury that prevented my own prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for blowing the whistle on torture. If I did it today I would get a secret court and no jury. Now two men stand to be imprisoned for life on the basis of “evidence” from the intelligence services which even the accused are not to be allowed to see. Remember this is “evidence” from the same intelligence services who told you that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Anything they have to say against anybody must always be open to the widest public scrutiny. The idea that people should be convicted in secret on stasi evidence ought to be truly shocking.