Thursday, February 03, 2005
More joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth...
At last the Liberal Democrats have climbed down off the fence on the issue of house arrests.
One doesn't wish to sound ungrateful but, for maximum political impact, the party should have come out and said this a week ago, when Charles Clarke first mooted these plans.
Also, if you want to take a lead on this issue, you need to do it with vim and vigour (rather like Lord Hoffman or Frederick Forsyth). Sounding mealy-mouthed neither challenges your opponents nor rallies your supporters.
Mark Oaten still talks in terms of striking "a balance between the civil liberties implications and the very serious concerns about suspected terrorists". As I argued in Saturday's posting, Oaten has accepted the false premise of authoritarianism, that civil liberty and security exist in inverse proportion to one another. As long as he persists in this view, his argument with the government will remain a matter of degree rather than a principled disagreement.