Bill's Archived Comments

Week beginning Monday, 4th December 2000

Equalisation of the Age of Consent (Parliament Act invoked on 30th November 2000)

The Government has kept its promise - well done! As a Conservative, I am disappointed that my own Party remained so equivocal on this matter - I'm not holding my breath for it to redeem itself with a re-examination of its deplorable commitment to retention of 'Clause 28'. Between now and the next election I'll be looking for a sign that it is waking up to the realities of the changes in British society - failing which I'm afraid I will have to conclude it is too dangerous to vote Conservative, leaving abstention the only option.

Pinochet Under House Arrest

At last! Provided the Chilean military do not intervene, but allow civil justice to take its course, this seems like a very positive development. Whilst it is probably true that Chile was of great logistical assistance to Britain during the campaign to liberate the Falklands, when Pinochet governed Chile, it is also true that he presided over a regime which flagrantly flouted civil liberties within the country even though this period formed the foundation for the economic success Chile has enjoyed since. Ultimately how this develops is a matter for Chile alone, although the world will watch carefully. It is a pity that Home Secretary Straw involved this country unnecessarily during Pincohet's recent stay here for medical treatment - much better for Chileans to decide how to proceed. It is to be hoped that any future dictator who thinks it appropriate to allow citizens to be detained and 'disappear' at the hands of the military, will think twice about proceeding this way when they realise they may well have to pay a very personal and humiliating price.

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