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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 

Dare to justify Palestinian suicide bombings, get deported.

"As long as young people feel they have no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress."

Who do you think said the above remarks? Was it Yasser Arafat, Omar Bakri Mohammed or maybe even an al-Qaida apologist of some sort? No, it's an exact quote of what Cherie Blair said three years ago on the day of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

Why do I bring this up? Well, today Charles Clarke published the guidelines or rules which if broken by foreign nationals in this country will result in their deportation:

The list, which the Home Office says is "indicative rather than exhaustive", will cover any foreign-born national "writing, producing, publishing or distributing material, public speaking including preaching, running a website; or using a position of responsibility such as teacher, community or youth leader to express views which foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; seek to provoke others to terrorist acts; foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK."

Although the list does not give the home secretary more powers to deport extremists than he currently enjoys, it specifies behaviours which will define the basis of "not conducive to the public good."

Mr Clarke said: "As I said when the consultation started, we recognise the sensitivities around the use of these powers and intend to use them in a measured and targeted way. These powers are not intended to stifle free speech or legitimate debate about religions or other issues. Britain is rightly proud of its openness and diversity and we must not allow those driven by extremism of any sort to destroy that tradition."

Note that this only applies to foreign nationals. Due to the fact that the government either can't be bothered to introduce new laws which would make the above easier to prosecute or won't face up to the security services opposition to such plans, they've decided to just get them out the country. This is similar to the way a child will clean his room by just pushing everything under the bed. Out of sight, out of mind.

No Trousers Charlie's follow up remarks are also comical. He lists what will be considered not conducive to the public good in Great Britain, then says that this will not stifle free speech or legitimate debate. Tell us Mr Clarke, if Cherie Blair was a foreign national, would comments such as hers lead to her deportation? Suicide attacks within Israel cannot be justified. I personally find that attacks on the IDF in the occupied territories are justifiable, if not in either sides best interest. Does this make me not conducive to the public good in this country?

There seems little point in arguing with the guidelines set out today, as it's unlikely to make any difference whatsoever. Both the Conservative and Liberal Democrats are fully behind the plans. According to a Grauniad/ICM poll on Monday, 73% of the British public believe it's right to give up civil liberties to "improve security". Faced with this, perhaps we'll end up with we deserve. When unpopular political viewpoints can lead to a foreign national being deported, we lose the moral high ground. Charles Clarke and parliament should keep this in mind before carrying out any further expulsions.

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