As Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith tries to justify an expenses claim of at least £116,000, evidence of the extent to which she is creating a police state in Britain grows ever more clear. Ms Smith is under fire for claiming that her sister’s home, where she sleeps in a spare bedroom while she is in London, is her main residence rather than the constituency house where she lives with her family.
Meanwhile, Tony Benn, a redoutable campaigner for civil liberties, who had served a mere 48 years as an MP before his retirement from Parliament, was stopped and searched by police on his way to the House of Commons because his presence in the area made him a potential terrorist suspect.
A group of Stoke City football fans found themselves in an even more Kafkaesque situation. They were having a drink in a pub on their way to a match in Manchester. The publican has apparently testified that they were well-behaved, however, police detained them in the pub, and required each one to sign a statement saying they were "part of a group of football fans … causing a disturbance". A fan who questioned whether they had to sign a document asserting something that was untrue was threatened with arrest. Then they were put on buses and sent back to Stoke so they missed the match, and all it’s all perfectly legal under Labour’s “Violent Crime Reduction Act” of 2006. Nor is this an isolated instance.
On this day....604 years ago, Tamburlaine the Great died. Born in a village about 50 miles from Samarkand in 1336, he would lead 35 campaigns and amass 27 crowns. Those who tried to resist him would be massacred and have their cities destroyed. After taking Aleppo, he engaged in learned debate with some captured academics while his soldiers ran amok murdering the citizens. He devastated Delhi so severely that it did not recover for a century, then razed Baghdad and built a pyramid of 90,000 severed heads on its ruins. Tamburlaine died on his way to invade China when he was 69. For more details see
A Disastrous History of the World.