Wednesday, 30 January 2008

'Sir' Ronnie Flanagan

It was difficult to see what PC Flanagan was given his knighthood for, given the fiasco of his tenure as Chief Constable in Northern Ireland. You'd have thought that the farce of the recent Omagh bombing trial would have left any residual shred of reputation he possessed in tatters.

So what's happening now? Jacqui Smith appears to be about to accept the advice he gives in a report he drew up for the government. And his advice? That police should be allowed to stop and search anyone they like, whenever they like, and not have to complete any paperwork about it into the bargain. Why did he offer such a libertarian suggestion? As Mandy Rice-Davies so famously said, 'Well, he would, wouldn't he?'. And let's face it, it'll slot in nicely with the rush towards indefinite detention without trial that this government is so hell-bent on.

In the past ten years, has our Labour government once appointed a Home Secretary who begins to understand the notion of civil liberties? Sadly, no, and it hardly seems likely to do so. Desperate times indeed.

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