So we're to have internal exile in the UK now, are we?


Welcome to the new land of freedom, liberty and human rights:

Terror suspects will be moved out of big cities and put into ‘external exile’ after a shock U-turn by Nick Clegg.

The Deputy Prime Minister has agreed to re-instate the so-called power of relocation – which was scrapped in 2011 at the demand of his own Liberal Democrats.

At the time, one senior party figure labelled the measure ‘abhorrent’, ‘Stalinist’ and ‘authoritarian’.

But the abolition of the power has been blamed for two terror suspects absconding and, at a time of huge concern over jihadis returning from Syria, Mr Clegg has struck a deal with the Tories to allow its return.

Under legislation to be unveiled next week, the law will allow fanatics to be forcibly ordered to leave London, Birmingham, Manchester or other big cities to separate them from their extremist network.

They will then be made to live in more isolated rural towns identified by the Home Secretary, on the advice of MI5 and the security services.

This is quite what the Soviets did and didn't we all complain when they did this to Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner, sending them off to Gorky where they couldn't annoy the Muscovites any more. Various Fascist regimes, other communist regimes, had much the same sort of policy. Those who said things that the rulers didn't like got sent off to some rural backwater on the say so of the nomenklatura.

And the point about such systems is that they're meant to be examples of dystopias of various kinds, not a bloody handbook for how to run our own country.

It may well be that Abu Hookhand or whoever desires that we all be slaughtered in our beds until the Caliphate is established: but that still means that Hookhand or whoever should be, must be, accorded exactly the same rights a you or I have. Punishment can only come from having been charged, tried in an open court, with a jury, evidence, defence, a judge and the right of appeal right up through the system.

Do we individually and as a society face any danger from such extremists? Sure we do, they're opposed to almost all of the things that we think make up a decent society. But the danger from a few bearded nutters is as nothing to the risks of killing our own liberties in defence against them.

Either we have equal rights and liberties or we don't have rights and liberties at all, not ones that we'll be able to maintain.