Roshan Doug: Abu Qatada and the judges with their heads buried
Last Tuesday - and bizarre as it might sound - the radical cleric Abu Qatada, described, questionably, as 'Bin Laden's right hand man in Europe' was released on bail from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire. This follows last month's Court of Appeal's blocking our government's plan to deport him to Jordan where he has been convicted of involvement in terror attacks.
Although his precise relationship with Bin Laden is a little unclear, no one - not in government nor in any other parties - believes Abu Qatada should remain in the UK. And yet, the Court of Appeal feels - in its infinite wisdom - that we have an obligation and a duty of care to safeguard his wellbeing.
We're told by human rights groups like Liberty, that if he's handed to Jordan he may be subjected to torture. Our senior judges believe them - turning a blind eye to the actual reality of the climate and public opinion in our own country.
It's arguable, for instance, that like Abu Hamza al-Masri, Abu Qatada's very being in Britain is threat to us all - the establishment and the general public. One judge even described him as a "truly dangerous individual at the centre of al-Qaida's activities in the UK". But - for me - it was the shadow home secretary, Dominic Grieve, who - to some extent - summed up our nation's disbelief when he said that even his presence (in this country) is offensive.
Against such a backdrop, is it, therefore, at all surprising that people in Britain have lost - or are losing - confidence in the judicial process and sentencing?
The following day, for instance, Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, was on the radio talking about the need to restore the public's belief in the judiciary. It's the job of any sensible government, she assured us, to safeguard our national security. That's what she will be pressing for. But that also means - she continued - helping people to understand the judicial process and for that she's setting up various public and parliamentary initiatives including the setting up of the post of people's commissioner.
Well, that might help but that's not what's really needed - not in Abu Qatada's case anyway.
Forgive me, but I don't share our Court of Appeal's view about Abu Qatada's deportation. It seems a little absurd that the taxpayer should have to endure this man in our streets and - through our benefit services - provide for his upkeep whilst he himself plays the system and takes us all for a ride. Even if he is kept in prison - and not unlike all other prisoners - he's going to be a financial burden.
What we need is a little more common sense from the judiciary when dealing with dangerous people like Abu Qatada. Judges need to lift their heads out of their dusty books and smell the coffee.
Now I might sound like a reactionary, but instead of bowing down to the numerous legislation and directives from the European Court of Justice, or being cajoled by human rights activists like Shami Chakrabarti, we need our government and senior judges to exercise a strict, robust sentencing process that takes into account the victim - for a change - and not just the offender. Common sense is needed - where punishment is on a par with the crime. This is particularly the case when the offender is clearly a dangerous individual who is hell-bent on destroying us and our way of life.
Surely people's rights - the rights of the British majority - should take precedent over the rights of the offender?
It could be argued that the elite, educated class - the great and the good - need to listen to the ordinary people and their concerns instead of preaching to us from their ivory towers. And perhaps it's also about time our government stopped patronising us by setting up meaningless, parliamentary gimmick-like initiatives that have no substance but sheer gloss.
I don't think a majority of us care whether a dangerous foreign terrorist being deported to his own country is going to be safe there or not. Instead our national security is should be at the forefront for our judiciary and the government.
And, I can't fathom why it is that if we're at war against terror, we're going out of our way to harbour foreign terrorists.
All I know is that whilst dangerous extremists are in our midst, I'm not safe and neither are my fellow citizens.
Perhaps our government and our judiciary should keep the British people in mind when sentencing political crackpots or theocratic nutters like Abu Qatada whether he's Bin Laden's right hand man, his father-in-law or his common law wife.
As far as many of us are concerned, his residing here is not only a danger to this country but, as Dominic Grieve said, is deeply offensive.