An opposition? Where did that come from all of a sudden?

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005
9:28 am and is filed
under The War on Stupid.

Independent – Clarke in final bid to win support for house arrest powers: Charles Clarke is to hold fresh talks with Opposition leaders tomorrow in a last-ditch attempt to win support for new powers to place terror suspects under house arrest… A meeting of party leaders to discuss the controversial proposals broke up on Friday with the Tories pledging to oppose the laws. But ministers hope concessions to the Liberal Democrats may help spare the Government a bruising battle on the eve of the expected general election.

1. Congratulations to the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives for actually acting like (*gasp*) The Opposition. But 5 squid says Howard blinks.

BBC – Clarke to reveal anti-terror plan: The home secretary is expected to press ahead with plans to give himself the power to put terror suspects under house arrest, despite wide opposition. Charles Clarke will unveil his proposed control orders, ranging from tagging to house arrest, in a Commons statement. Downing Street says “extreme measures” are needed to protect the UK. The Tories accused ministers of trying to “ram” through the plans. The Lib-Dems say only judges, not politicians, should be able to impose the orders.

2. Protect the UK. Yes, that’s the priority. And Blair takes it all very seriously.

Does anyone recall when this country was it its highest level of terror alert ever?

10 points if you guessed correctly…

BBC – UK on second highest terror alert: Britain’s security services have been put on their second highest state of alert amid intelligence of a possible al-Qaeda attack, the BBC has learned. The internal “severe general” alert is said to be unconnected to US President Bush’s forthcoming UK visit.

Yup, totally unconnected. Sheer coincidence. Like those tanks that rolled into Heathrow on the eve of this country’s largest-ever protest and rolled right out again once that protest was over.

But Bush’s visit to the UK wasn’t some vital high-level strategic summit, it was a state visit. An unprecedented honour that he appeared to grant himself.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think one single journalist actually dared to dig into the ‘Who invited him?’ question.

At that stage, blame/credit for the invite went from Downing St to the palace to some nameless quango. And the trail stopped dead there.

So please excuse me for continuing to suspect that Bush invited himself and Blair caved and/or heartily agreed… thereby placing Britons at risk. All for the sake of a photo-opportunity.

And those of us who dared to protest were told that we were causing an unnecessary security risk.

That’s how seriously Blair takes the terror threat. It’s not something to be fought; it’s something to be exploited.

But, of course, me pointing this out means that I deny the threat exists. A handy polar device that also turns those who opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq into out-and-out supporters of Saddam Hussein.

This isn’t about security; it’s about power. And placing these kinds of powers in the hands of any government is a bloody dangerous thing to do, no matter how infrequently they promise to use it.

See also:
Day is night and night is day
Blair: winning hearts and minds *and* the War on Terror
We’re all going to die. No, really!
The ‘protection’ of our liberties via indefinite detention based on ‘reasonable suspicion’
Detention without charge or trial: it stops you getting blowed up. For true.

Also happening:
Never knowingly undersold
Knee-jerk hatred
Catchy political slogan – says it all
A better approach to slogans here: They’re not Tory, and they’re not Tony
Bloggers4Labour – all pro-Labour sites welcome. Unless you object to Tony Blair strongly enough to make that the focus of your site.
Daily Show covers Jeff Gannon (6.8Mb Quicktime)

On Hunter Thompson… I feel I must raise my hand and admit to only watching FALILV because I’m a Terry Gilliam Fan.

UPDATE – I lose 5 squid! Take a look at what happens when we have an effective opposition in this country for the first time in 3+ years!

Guardian – Clarke announces anti-terror laws concession: The home secretary, Charles Clarke, today announced compromises to controversial proposals to put British terrorism suspects under de facto house arrest in the hope of winning support for their swift passage through parliament. Under the concession, individuals ordered by the home secretary to stay in their homes would receive an automatic judicial review of their case within seven days. Those subject to lesser controls such as limits on internet communication could challenge the decision in the high court.

As Little Red Blogger points out, this isn’t over yet… but it’s the most promising development in a very long time.

UPDATE – Independent – Clarke retreats on house arrest powers: The two parties, which have also protested that the measure is being rushed through Parliament, are planning to vote against the proposals in the Commons today, and may win the support of between 20 and 30 Labour MPs. The Government is at serious risk of the Bill being defeated in the Lords.

BBC – Fast law, bad law?: Home Secretary Charles Clarke is facing opposition to his latest anti-terror laws on many fronts – not least the fact he is attempting to rush them through parliament in a matter of days.

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