"All civilised people"
Home Secretary John Reid, in his speech to the Labour party conference in Manchester:
"It's not Muslims versus the rest of us, it's evil terrorists on one side against all civilised people on the other."
Meanwhile, a couple of hundred miles north in Glasgow, immigration officials acting on the orders of Reid's own department this morning launched another of their infamous dawn raids on the family of an asylum seeker.
Whether Azaddine Benai
(who escaped during the raid) is telling the truth when he claims that, if returned to his native Algeria, "I'm going to get killed, not by gun, by knife to cut throat" is beside the point.
Can we really call ourselves civilised when this man's wife and young children (aged 11 and 2 - the youngest therefore born and raised in Britain, as the family have been here for three years) are snatched out of the blue early one morning and transported to a detention centre?
Can we call ourselves civilised when both children need medical attention (the eldest being diabetic, the youngest awaiting an operation) and one has just started a new school year, yet are going to be deported tomorrow morning, allowing little time to gather supplies and belongings, let alone find legal aid and formulate a case for appeal?
The Home Office does not comment on individual cases.
A spokeswoman said: "The government has made it clear that it will take a robust approach to removing people from the country where they have no legal right to be here.
"We examine with great care each individual case before removal and we will not remove anyone who we believe is at risk on their return.
"Removals are always carried out in the most sensitive way possible, treating those being removed with courtesy and dignity."
Courtesy and dignity - a 7am raid on a young family, forcing the husband to jump from a first floor balcony in terror, leaving the wife and two young children surrounded by uniformed officials who then cart them off to a temporary
detention centre, prior to deportation with no time to build a legal challenge to the secretive and unilateral decision to remove them.
Something "all civilised people" can be really proud of...
Two blog award plugs
First, Mick Fealty is up for an award for his superb Northern Irish politics blog Slugger O'Toole - which if you don't read already you really should. Here are a few reasons why he deserves to be voted one of The Top 10 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics (and yes, encouraging and enabling civil and peaceful trans-sectarian participation and debate is indeed high on the list).
Second, I've had en email from the chaps at Deutsche Welle asking for a plug for The Bobs, their 3rd annual international weblog awards, as I somehow managed to be a finalist in the English blog section back in 2004. Having had a quick skim over the entries, I recognised practically none of the English blog names at all - sod the fact that no one's seen fit to nominate me, so poorly publicised has this thing been on this side of the Channel that no one's put up Guido or Iain Dale either...
There's only three days left to nominate, so get over there and rectify the situation, eh?
Blair's final conference address...
Their dread Commander: he above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a Towr; his form had yet not lost
All her Original brightness, nor appear'd
Less then Arch Angel ruind, and th' excess
Of Glory obscur'd: As when the Sun new ris'n
Looks through the Horizontal misty Air
Shorn of his Beams, or from behind the Moon
In dim Eclips disastrous twilight sheds
On half the Nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes Monarchs. Dark'n'd so, yet shon
Above them all th' Arch Angel: but his face
Deep scars of Thunder had intrencht, and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under Browes
Of dauntless courage, and considerate Pride
Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain,
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc't
Of Heav'n, and from Eternal Splendors flung
For his revolt, yet faithfull how they stood,
Their Glory witherd. As when Heavens Fire
Hath scath'd the Forrest Oaks, or Mountain Pines,
With singed top their stately growth though bare
Stands on the blasted Heath. He now prepar'd
To speak; whereat their doubl'd Ranks they bend
From Wing to Wing, and half enclose him round
With all his Peers: attention held them mute.
(Sorry Mr Milton...)