David Knopfler Blog

Somewhat political observations

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

In 1939 Britain found itself unavoidably in a real war, not the phoney war against a noun, Blair illegally dragged us into. My father, blonde haired and blue eyed, arrived in the UK that year, having been in occupied territories of the Third Reich as a fugitive, and instead of being interned here at immigration as a possible terrorist mole for the Soviets, or Fifth Columnist for the Nazis, and shipped off to a secret gulag to be tortured for intelligence, he was welcomed with a headshake and given £5 pounds, which would have been a week’s wages in those days. He was then allowed to travel North to Newcastle, given a free university place to study.

He came out with a First Class Honours Degree and never ceased to be grateful until his death, for the tolerance and fair-minded liberal values he encountered here in those genuinely difficult times. I’d like to think the debt to the nation has been repaid by his three children in their contributions financial and otherwise, and equally so by the refugee children he was escorting out of Czechoslovakia when he arrived, most of who’s parents were probably killed as “terrorists.”

What a falling off was there: Here we are, sixty plus years on; scores of civil liberties, men and women fought and died to protect, torn up under a raft of regulations that have more in common with the persecution my father was fleeing, than the land of the rule of law where he found asylum, Great Britain. And how has it come to this that it takes a conservative shadow home secretary David Davis, to draw attention to this sleep walk to authoritarianism?

I hope the decision of the Supreme Court in the US, and welcomed by Barack Obama, finally means the one British Citizen, who was illegally kidnapped and interned with the connivance of the UK authorities, and is still locked up at Guantanamo Bay, can finally get the sensible protections under the law, we once all took for granted and that allowed me a life to live to write this.

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