Monday, October 06, 2008

42 days is toast (probably)

Sean O'Neill, the crime and security editor at the Times has been on a bit of a roll recently - breaking the story of Sir Ian Blair's departure a month before it happened.
Today he broke the story about 42 days being dropped as 'unworkable', which has been picked up by Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor and by several other newspapers.
The jig was well and truly up when the loquacious Andy Hayman, previously assistant commissioner for special ops at Scotland Yard wrote in a column for today's Times

'the Government's current proposals are not fit for purpose:

they are bureaucratic, convoluted and unworkable'

which has been blindingly obvious for several months. Hayman makes the point about 'playing politics' and 'games' several times. And of course that is exactly what all this was always about.

The government have already denied that they have dropped 42 days. They will drop it of course - they'll have to, next week, when the Lords absolutely savage it. It stank from its inception and the way it was bribed and bullied through the Commons was not only dishonourable but a complete waste of time. I was very pleased when my MP, Diane Abbott made a thunderous speech decrying it and when David Davis resigned as Shadow Home Secretary in protest at it.

The coup de grace to 42 days was administered by the previous head of M15, the newly-minted Baronness Eliza Manningham Buller, in her sensational maiden speech in the Lords. She was, let us not forget, in charge of M15 during the 7/7 bombings and served 33 years in the security service - so can hardly be accused of being a dewy-eyed idealist in denial about the true nature of the threat from terrorism. At that point, it was dead in the water, and rightly so. Just for good measure, another former spy chief Stella Rimington poured cold water on it last week as well.

However, the bad news is that the 'secret inquests without juries' clause is still in the counter -terror legislation, and with recent news that the government wants to spend £12 billion
a database to store every email, phone call and text we send, plus the
insane waste of money that is ID cards, it is very clear that the fight to
preserve our freedoms is more important than ever.

Worth bookmarking....


UPDATE: It turns out that that the Council of Europe ( click here for an explanation of what they are) have pointed out this week that locking people up for six weeks in a police cell without actually charging them with any crime at all is quite possibly incompatible with European human rights legislation. Meanwhile, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture also published a damning report.
Still think it's a fuss over nothing and you can't be too careful? A 23-year old student detained under the anti-terror legislation confirms 'it really is psychological torture'

Remember this: More than half of the people in the UK arrested for terrorism offences have been innocent and later released without charge, by the way. Yes, really. Go and look at the Home Office website if you don't believe me.
From September 2001 to March 2007 1,228 people were arrested under the terrorism laws.
669 were later released without charge.
Of those charged, only 41 were actually convicted under the terrorism act, and 183 were convicted under other legislation. ( murder, firearms, fraud, conspiracy to cause explosions and so on. Laws which we've had kicking about the statute books for a very long time)

And 114 people are at, or still awaiting trial.
It's probably more by now.

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Blogger Andy Ramblings said...

Is it me, or do you think the cost of all these 'security' initiatives is disproportionate to the actual risk or damage? I mean £24Billon could well be used for much better things.

October 06, 2008 6:10 pm  
Blogger Misty said...

Hi Rachel, you've got a typo in there - it's 1,228 people arrested under terrorism laws not 12,228.

October 07, 2008 11:09 am  
Blogger NotRichard said...

"From September 2001 to March 2007 12,228 people were arrested under the terrorism laws."

1228, shurely?

October 07, 2008 11:11 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Sorry - typo, with an extra 2. Changed.
669 is not 'more than half of 12,228'.
Thank you!

October 07, 2008 11:50 am  
Blogger asquith said...

Well, being unworkable, counterproductive & opposed by the experts on those grounds hasn't put an end to the war on drugs, so we could have a long way to go before this particular shite drawes to a close...

October 07, 2008 8:45 pm  
Blogger Gridlock said...

Still on-track to retain details of all of our emails, web visits, search engine history (like the NSA doesn't harvest that anyway) etc though.

October 10, 2008 4:24 pm  
Blogger Gridlock said...

Andy Ramblings - we just coughed up a significantly larger proportion of GDP than the US did to avoid punishing all of us for the banks greed, myopia and insanity. What's $24bn between friends.

Take a drink every time someone points out that the "credit crunch" is down to 2 or 3 things - Banks won't lend to each other because they don't know how much "toxic" (a neo-synonym for non-existent*) assets the others own, the fact that the rating agencies are corrupt and not fit for purpose (Icelandski Bankski or whatever were all 'Triple A' rated, as per Govt guidelines for investing ratepayer's rates).

This game is suitable for tee-totallers.

* House prices rise. Homeowners takes out equity release loan. Mortgager bundles these up, sells them on. Purchaser treats this as an asset, takes loans against this value and invests them elsewhere (the famed CDOs). Both of the latter 2 transactions are also separately insured, which is the second type of "toxic" asset. These "assets" are what the US is buying, but the plain fact is THIS MONEY NEVER EXISTED. It's not a 'liquidity' crisis.

October 10, 2008 4:38 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

A bubble, when it bursts, is found to contain nothing but air.

October 10, 2008 5:06 pm  

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