42-day detention and our civil liberties in general

I originally wasn't going to blog about this, my views are already pretty well known (major assault on our civil liberties over the last decade), but something just forced my hand.

It was a blogger on LabourHome.

I genuinely thought before now the people who supported the government on this issue in this party just didn't care one way or the other, and so they'd go with their party "loyalties". I never expected anything this extreme.

He starts off praising Brown's performance on PMQ's today, and saying Cameron looked weak... Sigh, who cares. It's the policies that count, not how well people can show off on TV.

Cameron looked weak harking on about civil liberties; well guess what - we are at war with radical islamic extremism

At war with radical Islamic extremism? I suppose radical Islam and Islamic extremism are separate and this is some sort of new strain which combines them both and is even more deadly.

Whatever... I'm not fighting in this war, I've got other extremists to deal with, ones who could actually destroy our civil liberties, and give the police the power to detain people forever (read: make people dissapear). Yes, that's what he said:

if the police need more time to question; then they should be granted all the time in the world.

Over my cold dead body. 28 days is bad enough. Another two weeks is insane, people shouldn't be detained for more than 24 hours, maybe the courts should be allowed to extend that in serious cases, maybe for a week but what we're talking about now is completely off the scale.

Presumed terrorists should be afforded no benefit of the doubt

I remember a time when people were innocent until proven guilty.

This debate about 6 weeks is laughable. Imagine if the enemy facing their trial for the liquid explosives managed to go through with the plan - we would not be having this conversation.

Of course we would be having this conversation, unless you're so extreme you think they're going to kill all 60 million of us.

I thought this would settle down over time from the initial "9/11" attacks which sparked all of this, but I'm getting increasing concerned by things like this.

Just a few months ago we saw some teenager arrested for carrying a sign saying that Scientology is a cult.

Yes that's right, he was arrested for carrying a sign with words on it.

Scientology is a CULT. I'm right with you dude.

We increasingly need a written constitution guaranteeing our right to freedom of speech, too many times people are forced to be quiet due to laws against "offending" (now there's a law open to interpretation) people, laws against upsetting these people, or those people. What happened to a good, open and honest conversation? Our libel laws also need to be balanced so the burden of evidence is upon the claimant.

Brown's been trying to buy off the Labour backbenchers from voting against the government on the Counter-Terrorism Bill. It looks like it is working, I've heard the Compass group of MPs have caved in. John McDonnell has now boycotted the Compass conference in response (good on you John).

Hopefully this bill will be defeated. Those lefty MPs who vote with the government on this should be hanging their heads in shame.


Comment from: Mark Sowul [Visitor]
Mark Sowul

"We increasingly need a written constitution guaranteeing our right to freedom of speech"

It's stopped helping as much as you'd think (see: Guantanamo Bay, "extraordinary rendition," warrantless wiretapping, "free speech zones," etc). Seems the US and the UK both are in a race to see which can become the fascist police state first.

Damn shame.

11th June 2008 @ 23:23
Comment from: Adam McNestrie [Visitor]
Adam McNestrie

The 10p tax furore wasn’t about people paying a new starting rate for income tax; the 42-day pre-charge detention is not about the extension of government powers to hold terrorist suspects without charge. These are synthetic controveries spun from virtual issues. They represent the shadow cast by power in an age of consensus politics. An adversarial political system must have conflict; the heat generated by partisan political conflict has to find a site for its release. And so, like the United States and the Soviet Union in 1970’s and 1980’s, we get proxy wars – conflicts purporting to be about one thing (social justice; the liberty of the individual) which ultimately are about something else altogether.

Read my blog, just who the hell are we?, at:

12th June 2008 @ 07:50
Comment from: Adam McNestrie [Visitor]
Adam McNestrie

So, Davis has resigned. He’s called a hissy-fit by-election – the first in history apparently. Yes – this is an unprecedentedly vain and hollow piece of political bravado. It is historic. No one wants to fight him (who can blame them? he’s former SAS), no one understands why he has to fight a by-election to demonstrate his fondness for civil liberties; but he’s going to damn well do it anyway. No one – not Gordon Brown, not the Murdoch press, not hundreds of years of accepted Parliamentary practice, not common sense, not even David Cameron – is going to stop him.

Just think, though: what if they all start doing it? What if he’s just the first Tory MP to have this particular eureka moment? We’re all vulnerable to crazes, fads and bubbles. Imagine a Parliament in which the Conservative Party has done the decent thing and resolved to act as the kamikaze party… The remaining Parliamentarians appreciate the increased elbow space at the bars; there is a fire sale of Tory offices; Labour MPs stretch out in the Chamber, taking to sitting on both sides of the Speaker’s Chair; a wonderful spirit of bonhomie and harmony descends on the House of Commons. Without the Conservatives, MPs finally get round to doing all of the things that they had always been meaning to do, but had never been able to find the time for. A fair tax system is introduced. Child poverty is abolished. Comprehensive environmental legislation is passed. Nuclear disarmament begins. All of a sudden no one can remember why they used to think governing Britain was such a tricky business…

It could happen. If we want it bad enough it just might happen.

Read about Davis at greater length in my blog, just who the hell are we?, at:

12th June 2008 @ 20:34

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