42 days. Once more for those at the back
Don't be fooled by the 'concessions'. Fluffy and reasonable this ain't.
...in a report published on Thursday the joint committee of MPs and peers said it believed the plans breached European human rights laws and the amendments offered were "inadequate to protect individuals against the threat of arbitrary detention".
The committee said the description of a "grave exceptional threat" was not tight enough.
Committee chairman Labour MP Andrew Dismore said: "The government has talked of a major emergency, the 'nightmare scenario' of simultaneous plots across Britain or two 9/11s at once.
"Yet the amendments tabled by the government provide for possible events falling well short of that."
The report also said requiring the home secretary to declare publicly there was a serious enough emergency to justify the powers was not much of a safeguard without independent scrutiny.
And allowing Parliament to vote on the individual case within seven days - another concession - would make little difference as any debate would be "heavily circumscribed by the risk of prejudicing future trials".
Why is nobody stating the obvious? If there were two 9/11s, there wouldn't be much point trying to bang the perpetrators up for 42 days in the aftermath. They'd be dead.
42 days wouldn't have stopped the 7/7 bombers. ( *Lead bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan could possibly have been arrested for suspected fraud back in 2004 if you want to be awkward, and a more thorough investigation into his activities and associates at the time might well have flagged him as flashing code red if more dots were joined up and intra-agency communication was better). There have been some great successes in the Battle Against Unimaginable Terror. The police and security services brilliantly disrupted the plot to make a fertiliser bomb
(Operation Crevice) and the alleged airline-bombing plot trial is concluding soon. We have not had any further successful attacks since 7/7 and 21/7. Indeed, recently all reports of attempted terrorist activity have shown the terrorists to be pretty useless, and more likely to kill or injure themselves than us.
Time and again it is pointed out that draconian laws, laws that look like they are targeting Muslims unfairly, drafted on the basis of what tough-talking politicians say might be needed - rather than an honest assessment of the current situation are not only undemocratic but counter-productive. The Security Services, the people who do this day in and day out are not asking for this law. I repeat, the Security Services are not asking for this law. Don't ask me how I know that, because I can't tell you. But it is true.
This is political posturing at the expense of our safety, and to make it even more disgraceful, the threat of Labour being holed below the waterline is being brandished in order to frighten voting MPs into thinking, presumably, about their jobs and their mortgages. Well, tough luck if the Labour top brass has got themselves on a sticky wicket with this dangerous law. They can't say they weren't warned.
And given the sacrifices of blood and treasure that millions of ordinary men and women have made to protect our freedoms in the last hundred years, against far more dangerous enemies than suburban teenagers with a death-fetish and a bedroom full of hate-literature and a cupboard full of household chemicals, anyone voting for the law against their conscience to protect their bloody job ought to be ashamed of themselves.