Another test for Tony Blair today as MPs vote on whether it’s a good idea to throw out laws that have stood for 300 years, helped define us as a democracy and give each and every one us the right to avoid imprisonment without trial. Tony wants to lock you up for 90 days without charge or trial and is in the laughable position of having to rely on rebel Conservatives to ram home another attack on our human rights. With a PM like this who needs terrorists?
This has somehow turned into a test of Blair’s leadership qualities when it should have stayed a debate about human rights. A Sun campaign has ensured that Blair has the apparent backing of the public with ministers who think that the PM is wrong ‘named and shamed’ as being ‘soft on terror’
Wouldn’t want to look soft. The last ‘hard’ government that had similar laws to the ones proposed was South Africa at the height of apartheid.
Sir Ian Blair of course backs the bill – swinging wildly from wanting to lock suspects up without trial for 3 months and simply wanting to kill them without warning. The Guardian points out that “the police are not as gung ho as ministers imply. Indeed the senior Scotland Yard officer who prepared the police brief concedes: ‘There may be concern in some quarters regarding whether this is too long a period.’”
It’d be nice to have a little more time to think this through perhaps, but with another terrorist strike imminent we’d better rush things through, right? Forget about the small fact that if the 90 day rule had been in effect prior to the London bombings they would still have gone ahead because quite simply the police are incompetent. But give them more powers… it’s bound to help somewhere along the line right?
Elsewhere in the Guardian there’s a pause for thought penned by Gareth Peirce, a partner at Birnberg Peirce solicitors who has represented numerous detainees under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. She points out the many failings of the police so far as they routinely allow suspects to go after only a few days (and yet now need three months) and worse still sit on suspects for days at a time doing little or nothing. It’s a terrible indictment of current police procedure and is exactly the kind of thing that should be looked into before trying to cover the whole mess up with a 90 day sticking plaster that again will do nothing to aid the so called war on terror but everything to help erode our already battered rights.