There was a depressing 1984-in-2008 story that wasn’t already blogged to death here (because there are far too many. I have to pace myself.) Here’s the Register’s version. The Register heading and sub-heading give you the flavour of the story:
The New Order: When reading is a crime
Download a book, get arrested
A student downloaded the AlQaeda Training manual, which was on his Politics reading list. He asked his friend – who was on the University staff – to print it for him. The University spotted it in the print queue and called the police. Student and staff member were detained for a week and the member of staff is now about to be deported for “irregularities” in his application to live in the UK, after ten years here. (Yes, you’ve guessed it. They were muslims.)
I’m not going to go into the civil liberties aspects of this. They speak for themselves. Some of the comments on the Register article expressed them better than I can.
Instead I’m going to look on the bright side. This grim and shameful affair has highlighted the fact that there is still a sane and courageous UK Labour MP. No really. Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South.
He described the original arrest as a “dreadful cock-up”. The subsequent deportation was a blatant attempt “to try to justify the abuse of that power under the Terrorism Act. If we allow this to be done in our name, in our silent collusion, we become the architects of our own totalitarianism. We live in fear of speaking openly. We live in fear of enquiring and researching openly… We live in fear of the quiet unannounced knock on the door and we live in fear of our own shallowness, in terms of the willingness to stand side-by-side with each other in order to defend the very basis of an open democracy that we claim that terrorism is a threat to.” (From the Register)
Somebody make that man Prime Minister.
This is his home page. I was even deliberately looking for something to stop me posting a fan-post here – to spare my own shame at having to applaud a politician. As far as I can determine (there’s only so much you can read on an MP’s website, ffs) – he doesn’t put a foot wrong. For example, here is a 2007 article he wrote about the Blair and the Iraq War.
However, I found out, from an article in which the Independent was singing his praises last year, that he is resigning at the next election. He is “to carry on campaigning on “green” issues outside Parliament.”
An Anonymous Coward comment on the Register article:
don’t believe that this bloke is really “New Labour”! That is the first and only anti-Stasi/ Stalinist/ Big-Brother statement I’ve ever heard from New Labour – it is obvious that he’ll never make the cabinet and that he’ll brought back in line by the Whips.
It was nice while it lasted…