When would you have said 'It's time to leave'?
The Times reports today that one of Blair and Reid's last acts will be to introduce 'wartime' stop and question powers for the police. This is being presented as a further safeguard against terrorism, but of course the police are not well known for their sense of discrimination in the use of 'anti terrorist' powers, unless you include an elderly holocaust survivor roughed up by Blair thugs, or a woman reading the names of the Iraq war dead, as terrorists. The police will of course use the new power to stop and question anyone on a trawl basis; I'll bet motorists will form a large proportion of those interrogated under this provision.
Blair also accuses those such as me who put civil freedoms before the fear of terrorism of making a 'dangerous misjudgment'. Ah yes. This is the same Blair whose judgment over every single critical security issue over the past ten years has been fatally flawed. Well, Mr Blair, some of us are not driven by your particular brand of naive narcissism, are not as dangerously self-deluded as are you, and appreciate that the value of civil freedom has a price that includes the risk of being murdered by terrorists.
The Observer reports that the police also want to extend the taking of DNA samples to everyone convicted of non-recordable offences - everything from dropping litter, dog fouling, speeding or not having a TV licence. One peer is even proposing that all DNA samples taken from new-born babies are added to the national database.
Perhaps we should all also turn up to have our skulls measured and answer long questions about our racial origins.
2007 also marks the 70th anniversary of the opening of Buchenwald. Today the name symbolises the horror of totalitarianism, but at the time Germany was told that the nation was menaced by Communist and Bolshevik terrorists, and it was necessary for national security to lock a number of people up under 'preventive detention'. No doubt politicians in Germany in 1937 accused those who opposed such measures of making a 'dangerous misjudgment'. And the building looked quite benign - how bad could it be? Amongst the German middle classes looking at press photos of the facade of Buchenwald, some will have commented "It's like a holiday camp. Too good for those criminal elements."
And one final snippet. A low-key police organisation was quietly set up last year; the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre. In German the words would all be joined together. This unit already has powers to order the indefinite detention of those it considers mentally unstable and potentially dangerous. Without needing the evidence required for a criminal conviction.
So when would you have decided to leave Germany? 1934? 1937?
Or would you have stayed?