The heartwarming response to the terrible suggestion from the racialist Northern Leagues Minister of the Interior that Roma children should be fingerprinted was instantaneous and unanimous rejection. The Head of State, Italian Jewry, the professions, all major newspapers and other media, the Church, and all of us are as one in dismissing fingerprinting any children. Claims to be protected from such practices are entrenched in the Constitution and its adjuncts. Any such legislative attempt would run headlong into the embedded protections, particularly of minors, in the citizens' defences against authoritarian governance. Routes to redress are explicit and accessible.
People are just as repelled by the fingerprinting of children as young as five in England. Unfortunately the continuous assault upon the accepted attitude and sense of propriety that our constitution needs to make it function, coupled with the persistent introduction of authoritarian formal enabling legislation followed by undiscussed orders, over the New Labour years has led inevitably to loss of unanimity in opposition to such practices. It is considered by some that the presence of legislation justifies its use.
We cannot go back to our destroyed constitution, and it is becoming increasingly urgent that formal defences for the citizen against authoritarian governance are drawn up and thir implementation put beyond regime reach. Next September little fingers will be inked and rolled onto a permanent record. We have come a long way from finger paints and innocence.
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