Monday, June 09, 2008

M15 not asking for 42 days

I said last Thursday that the security services were not pushing for 42 days. I also said, don't ask me how I know that, because I can't tell you.

Anyway, now it is all out in the open. Jacqui Smith has just been forced to admit that M15 have not asked for 42 days.

So there.

I gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee about this. I wrote about it in the Sunday Times and the Guardian. I have gone on and on and on and on about this on my blog and elsewhere for a very long time, since 90 days was first mooted in fact, and I expect regular readers are sick of me on the subject,

so here are some other people saying it.
David Davis, Shadow Home Secretary on the BBC Politics Show
Sir John Major, ex-Prime Minister in the Times
Senior police officers in the Guardian,
The former Lord Chancellor, Lord Goldsmith
The former Attourney General, Lord Falconer
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty
Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International
The General Synod of the Church of England
Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner

65% of the public are reported to back 42 days. Large swathes of the public also back hanging, castration of child sex offenders and Jack Bauer-esque torture of baddies. Large crowds of the public used to come along to watch public executions. If the public are presented with the question 'do you think the police should be allowed to lock up suspected TERRORISTS for 42 days?' they will tend to hear the word TERRORIST and think, yeah, throw away the key.

But nothing is stopping the police from investigating and charging terrorists, and juries finding them guilty and judges locking them up for forty years. It is not a case of protecting the human rights of 'terrorists' over the human rights of everyone else including those who are directly impacted by terrorist bombs. And it is wrong to present it in such terms, as the Sun has been doing.

The grief and anger of victims are not sound bases from which to start to start constitution-shredding. Nor is political posturing and playing to the gallery about who can look toughest on terror.
42 days has not been needed to stop any plots so far.
42 days would not have stopped 7/7, or the Madrid bombings or the Bali attacks or 9/11.
42 days is not going to stop the downwards plunge in the polls for Brown's Government either, which is really the whole point of it.

Yes - it is that cynical.
It's not about protecting us at all. It's about protecting politicians' ambitions and careers.

Which is why, if by some miracle of whipping and bullying it goes through, it will get absolutely trashed by the House of Lords, and sent straight back again, and thus carry on being a stinking albatross round the neck of an increasingly authoritarian government who show disgracefully little respect for the human rights and liberties of all of us.

If the government really cared about 7/7 victims, why are they so slow with injury compensation payouts and why have the families still not had inquests into the deaths of their loved ones? Why is there a clause in this cursed anti-terrorism bill which allows inquests to be held in secret, without juries?

Why indeed?

Labels: , ,


Blogger Vanessa said...

Hear, hear.

No-one has ever come up with a reason for 42 days that holds water or an example of a terrorist atrocity that would have been avoided if this policy had been in place.

June 09, 2008 11:12 am  
Anonymous Paul said...

The argument for powers 'we might need at some point' is the language of a police state and very dangerous indeed. Can we really say that mainland UK is under any greater threat from bombing etc than we were in the 1980s?

I get the impression that Jacqui Smith really just doesn't understand what she's doing and that this wasn't her idea, but like you say in the piece, if someone hear's the word 'terrorist' that's enough. i think that applies to members of the government as well.
This leads to a further point about the calibre of politician we are now stuck with in government. As the third or fourth choice candidates for their respective jobs, due to Labour's longevity in power, I'm not sure we should be too surprised that the ministerial talent pool has somewhat run dry and that the consequent lack of leadership has led to such policies being not only mooted but taken seriously.

June 09, 2008 11:32 am  
Blogger Lizzie said...

It really has come to something in this country that we now rely on the non-elected House of Lords to protect our democracy and rights. If someone had told me that in 1997 I'd have laughed in their face.

June 09, 2008 11:51 am  
Blogger pierre l said...

I don't normally comment on your political items. but I feel the need to say that I am not at all tired of you going on about 42 days; I AM tired of the Government constantly trying to get it put into law though. So, yes carry on, Rachel.

June 09, 2008 9:03 pm  
Blogger Cookiemouse said...

Keep banging the drum, Rachel!

June 10, 2008 2:23 pm  
Anonymous si said...

Thankyou for being such an advocate for our rights. I've read a fair amount and still havent found a reason that 'they' have put forward to justify the detention extension. Could you explain it to me/us, if that is even possible? Is there an explanation at all?!

June 11, 2008 2:29 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home