The Curmudgeon


Saturday, August 08, 2009

It's Only the Law, After All

Eight months ago the European Court of Britishness Erosion ruled that New New Labour was unlawfully breaching the human rights of eight hundred and fifty thousand people who had been arrested but not convicted of any offence by keeping their fingerprints and DNA profiles on a national database. New New Labour has responded as one would expect from a government which trumpets the rule of law and claims to believe that Britain's place is at the heart of Europe, by advising its senior policemen to ignore the ruling. The Ministry of Domestic Snoopery and Thuggery has proposed, as a compromise measure between the illiberality it is allowed and the illegality it wants, that DNA profiles of innocent people should be kept on police databases for six to twelve years, "depending on the seriousness of the offence" which has not been committed, and with New New Labour's special brand of calm, statesmanlike rationality squealed at the House of Donors that no delay in passing the necessary legislation could be afforded. It is even possible that the Ministry of Domestic Snoopery and Thuggery may face a "surge of pressure" from selfish and backsliding persons who for some strange reason (perhaps some peculiar cultural quirk having to do with being young, male and of a not un-off-white persuasion) find it difficult to understand why the police should be holding information about them when they have not been convicted of doing anything wrong. The Ministry has apparently drafted guidelines which follow the European ruling; but these "are not expected to take effect until 2010", and it is evidently the Ministry's duty to dissuade the police service (sic) from being over-zealous in conforming to what is, after all, merely a set of guidelines drafted by the Ministry: "decisions to remove records should not be based on [the government's] proposed changes. It is therefore vitally important that any applications for removals of records should be considered against current legislation", said legislation being, after all, illegal only in a very attenuated, Brussels-oriented, non-Daily Mail sort of fashion.


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