Azara Blog: Charles Clarke has a rant against the media

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Date published: 2006/04/25

The BBC says:

Charles Clarke has accused the UK media of perpetuating "myths" that his law and order agenda is an attack on human rights and civil liberties.

The home secretary says a "pernicious and even dangerous poison" exists in the British press.

Reporting of issues like control orders is often through a "distorted prism", he told the London School of Economics.

But the Tories say it is "remarkable" that Mr Clarke has "chosen to blame the media" rather than protect the people.

Mr Clarke used his speech to the LSE to attack the press for using expressions once reserved for tyrants to describe the legitimate policies of democratic governments.

He said using terms such as "police state" or "hijacking democracy" or "destroying the rule of law" to describe modern democratic politicians is causing the truth to be thrown out the window.

"In the absence of many of the genuinely dangerous and evil totalitarian dictatorships to fight - since they've gone - the media has steadily rhetorically transferred to some of the existing democracies, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, some of the characteristics of those dictatorships," he said.

"So some commentators routinely use language like 'police state', 'fascist', 'hijacking our democracy', 'creeping authoritarianism', 'destruction of the rule of law', whilst words like 'holocaust', 'gulag' and 'apartheid' are regularly used descriptively of our society in ways which must be truly offensive to those who experienced those realities.

Unfortunately every home secretary has to prove he is the worst home secretary of all time, and Clarke is no exception. And Clarke and Blair *are* "destroying the rule of law", in particular they think they have the right to lock people up as long as they want without any court intervention. And whenever the courts rule that they have done something illegal, they just say "get lost" and ignore the courts. If Clarke and Blair want to claim they are not promoting a dictatorship they should start to behave like people who believe in the rule of law. This is definitely one of the most illiberal regimes of recent times, and Clarke and (especially) Blair constantly revel in it.

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