Monday, October 10, 2005

I Feel the Terror

I've got some king of cold fever type thing going on so I may be even less coherent than usual. It's just a short post on the government's anti-terror proposals.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Benjamin Franklin (possibly).
The bill is to be debated in the House of Commons today (Monday). Last night's Panorama analysed these proposals in some detail and you can watch it online if you missed it.

After the bombings in London, Tony Blair said "let no-one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing". I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets a shiver down their spine every time they see that clip. It's not just that the word "game" is extremely ill advised in relation to this situation although it clearly is. It's not just the fact that he can't see that his proposals play into the hands of extremists although that is obviously enormously worrying. No, it's the look on Blair's face as he said it which really freaks me out. It's part vindication ("see, I told you they were trying to kill us")* and part messianic, unthinking conviction in what he is doing. If I'm honest, it scares the crap out of me.

That look on his face says so much about how objections to these proposals are going to be treated. The government *will* listen to objections *but only* in order to find strategies to counter them. Blair has made up his mind and he's going to press ahead with as much of this as he can possibly get through parliament. Unless the Tories, Lib Dems, and the few Labour MPs who still have a conscience can act in a coordinated fashion, then he's going to get most of what he wants. He wants to introduce three month detentions without charge. That is just is not right.

This is not the work of a brave PM, boldly defending the values of a free society. No, it is a cowardly and weak proposal which endangers the very society it is intended to protect. Well, Blair has done more than enough damage to our country. It's time for those MPs who really want to do what's best for Britain to stand up and say "NO, this will not do".

*Of course, no-one sensible was arguing that "they" were not trying to kill us. We are arguing that by over-reacting to the threat, by destroying freedoms, you give "them" just the sort of power and legitimacy which they crave. Blair doesn't see that, he seems to think people didn't believe in terrorism or something. It's just another part of the odd fantasy world in which Blair operates these days.

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