‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The need for civil rights

Professor James Duane explains in shocking detail why, in the USA, everybody should remember to exercise their right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent. (htp: Obnoxio The Clown, referring to Philip Thomas' post)

"The following is the common Miranda warning used by most law enforcement agencies in the United States today:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."

How about here in Britain?

"You have the right to remain silent. But it may harm your defence if you fail to mention anything that you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

"Free legal advice is worth what you pay for it." Having said that, here is a site purporting to give advice to activists being questioned by police in the UK.

How many laws are on the Statute Books in the United Kingdom? Is there anybody in the country of legal age who could not be accused of having broken one of them? Do we not have too much law?


Obnoxio The Clown said...

"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws."
-- Tacitus

He wasn't wrong.

Anonymous said...

I run my own business. I probably break numerous "laws" every waking hour of the day (and while asleep too).

Generally it has got to the point where I regard laws based on the 10 commandements (ie theft, killing, rape, violence and any variations thereof etc) as the true laws that one should abide by. Plus I never mess with the Tax/VAT man. They've got too much power to make your life a misery. All the other stuff are merely "rules" invented by bureaucrats to keep themselves in jobs, and politicians to keep the people under their thumbs.

If there are so many laws one cannot hope to not fall foul of at least one of them at some point, anyone challenging the status quo can easily be got rid of by a bit of judicious "digging" by the relevant authorities. Don't like some upstart political newcomer? Just get the Health N Safety/Trading Standards/Tax man/Vat man/Customs/Immigration/Environment Agency etc etc to investigate his affairs. Something will come up. Hey presto! No more awkward opponents.

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining.

Sackerson said...

A classicist, Obo? Hi, Matt! Anon: it's the delegation of law to quangos that's particularly pernicious - carte blanche to make up regulations on a whim.