Turning in his speech to proposed new offence of glorifying terrorism - in addition to announced measures on indirect incitement to terrorism and acts preparatory to terrorism - Mr Oaten declared his absolute opposition.
Pacing the stage in the Empress Ballroom as he delivered the speech, he said: "We can't support a wide and vague offence that allows glorification of terror to become a crime.
"What on earth does that mean? One person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.
Precisely, especially given the unnecessarily broad definition of 'terrorism', and in fact 'glorify'. One also wonders if the phrase 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter', might itself be crminalised, after all calling someone a 'freedom fighter' sure sounds like 'glorification' to me.
"This is a dangerous proposal hard to define in theory, unworkable in practice and putting freedom of speech at risk."
I agree that it is dangerous, and hard to define. But somehow I doubt it's unworkable. In fact I'd say such a statute, being so indeterminate, could be beautifully workable, inasmuch as it can snare anyone the government wants, provided the judges don't play up.
And, freedom of speech? Hmmm, I oppose 'rights-talk' so...
His speech was repeatedly interrupted by applause from the grass roots, not least when he declared he was "proud to be a liberal in these difficult times because I know our values are the values that can defeat terrorists."
Nicely indicative that it might be possible to get some kind of mass opposition to this rubbish. Though again, the liberal talk is somewhat sickening.
Hopefully, this will be indicative of a trend, The left really doesn't need this bill to be passed, and the stirring amongst the Lib Dems show at least the germs of some kind of counter to this movement. My main worry is that these civil libertarians are going to be horribly compromised by any smears they receive, because we all know accusations will fly about being 'soft on terrorism'.
I mean look at Liberty's constant hedging after the '7/7' (godawful term). They don't want to go too far, lest they offend people, this is the same rationale behind Howard's warning to the judges, once a tragedy happens, criticism is stifled in more ways than one.