Alongside last week's vacuous promise of a "Future fair for all", the Labour party has launched a new campaign slogan for the election. Unable to offer voters any positive reasons to vote for the government beyond the worthless platitudes in Brown's speech, they now hope to scare us into returning them to power by urging us to "Take a long hard look at the Tories".
Their new campaign site offers six reasons why we should stick to nurse, one of which is the "Tories on DNA". It quotes Chris Sims, ACPO lead on forensic science and West Midlands Chief Constable, who is "absolutely certain" there are cases where removing "un-convicted people" from the DNA database would have meant there would be "quiet serious crimes that weren't saved by police and offenders who could still be out there committing further serious offences."
That the Labour party should so loudly trumpet its contempt for personal privacy and the presumption of innocence, parading its violation of the European Court on Human Rights ruling on DNA retention as one of the top six reasons to vote for it, tells you everything you need to know about its attitude to civil liberties and the rule of law. If the Tories were in power, we are told, nasty horrible "un-convicted" people would be running around everywhere committing crimes.
Un-convicted. Un-con-vic-ted. Didn't we use to have another word for that at one time before we became suspects to be tagged, tracked and monitored? And did it not underpin some legal principle of one kind or another generally thought essential to a free society? Clearly I'm getting muddled up. Un-convicted people are just people who haven't been convicted. Yet. They will be. Just so long as the Tories aren't there to give them back their DNA.
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