Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Why 42 Days Detention Without Trial Is Wrong

From the play "A Man For all Seasons" by Robert Bolt: *

ROPER So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!
MORE Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
ROPER I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
MORE (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on ROPER) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you-where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? (He leaves him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast-man's laws, not God's-and if you cut them down-and you're just the man to do it-d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

Now Sir Thomas More was on the wrong side of history - given the realpolitik of the time England needed a male heir to guarantee the security of the nation state (although Queen Elizabeth I's reign was exemplary) - but I admire him sticking to his principles.

To all the Nulabs, DUPes and the blessed Widdicombe who voted to reverse English civil liberties I say get yourselves good lawyers or homes in Brazil just in case the tide turns against YOU.

* get the DVD with Paul Scofield and read the play.

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