If Tony Blair has his way, protest leaders at this year's G8 meeting in Scotland could be subject to the proposed 'anti-terrorist' control orders. From Scotland's Sunday Mail:
Asked whether Home Secretary Charles Clarke would use the new anti-terror laws against G8 protesters, Blair said: 'I couldn't rule it out'. He added: 'It would be very odd if people came to protest against this G8, as we're focusing on poverty in Africa and climate change.
'I don't quite know what they'll be protesting against.'
How much political dissent can one express in public before risking being subject to a 'control order' imposed by the State? I'd normally think the term 'police state' to be hyperbolic, but the definition in Roger Scruton's Dictionary of Political Thought is worryingly pertinent.
police state. A state in which political stability has come to be, or to seem to be, dependent upon police supervision of the ordinary citizen, and in which the police are given powers suitable to that. [...]
My experience of the police is that they are flawed individuals within a flawed organization, and no doubt that too applies to Special Branch and MI5. Yet Blair gives their intelligence as much credence as he gave MI6's on the 45-minute claim about Iraqi WMD, and would grant SB and MI5 all the powers they wanted if he could. But, as an elected MP who is temporarily prime minister, Blair should be protecting us not just from the terrorists but also from the imperfect people who run our dysfunctional security services.