Safety Elephant “consults” on Anti-Terror Bill

This just arrived in my inbox at 5:30pm today.

I am emailing you today to find out your views on the action the Government is proposing to take to challenge the new terrorist threats that face all of us.

Since the London bombings of 7 July, we all know that the UK faces a terrorist threat of a different level of seriousness and complexity from anything Britain has faced before. We are confronting extremists whose aims are to kill and maim as many people as possible, to strike at the heart of our society and destroy what we stand for. These terrorists are part of complex international organisations that make ever greater use of new technology such as encrypted computers. Further attacks remain a real possibility, so action to protect our citizens is urgent.

The Government has introduced the Terrorism Bill, currently going through Parliament, to try and ensure that the police and intelligence services have the powers they need to stay ahead of the new breed of terrorist. Yet some are opposing the Government’s proposals, which come on the advice of specialist anti-terrorist police.

Facing up to the challenges of the new terrorist threat is so important; we want to have your views as soon as possible.

Please go the Labour website to register your views. Click here to go there now.

Best wishes

Charles Clarke
Home Secretary

*Note, I’ve removed the ID code from the link which is in the actual e-mail

Right, so my first reaction to this is ‘you’re in the shit with the bill and now you want to know what I think’ – but I decided I’d at least take a look at the consultation to see if there was any point in responding, even if it was only via an open text field where I could register my objections to the 90 arrest period without charge and the whole section on glorifying terrorism.

What I found, however, was a total of four tick-box questions which I’ve posted below:

Your views on fighting terrorism

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has asked you for your views on the new terrorist threats that face all of us. Please fill in this quick form below to tell us what you think.

Do you think that our laws should be updated to cope with the current security threat? Yes/No/Not sure

Do you think police should have the time and opportunity to complete their investigations into suspected terrorists? Yes/No/Not sure

Do you think the government should make sure there are new safeguards to protect innocent people? Yes/No/Not sure

Would you like to be kept up-to-date on the progress of this legislation and other issues? Yes/No

No I haven’t filled in the questionnaire, but I will post my response here…

Dear Mr Clarke,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding my views on fighting terrorism.

Unfortunately I cannot, and will not, respond to the questionnaire you so kindly directed me too as the questions it asks and the available responses are so obviously biased and leading as to make it impossible for me to express my genuine opinions on this subject.

Indeed, I am insulted that you – or rather whoever designed this questionnaire on your behalf – holds such a contemptous attitude towards party members that they would even dare to issue it to us; it being, transparently, a shameless attempt to manufacturer the appearance of support for the Prime Minister’s efforts to disregard the clear democratic will of Parliment on both the extension of the period for which terrorist suspects can be held without charge (to 90 days) and on the absurd offence of ‘glorifying terrorism’, which will surely be voted down by the House of Lords even if its survives the committee stages of the Bill and its third reading.

For the record I am wholeheartedly opposed to the Prime Minister’s position on both counts and fully supportive of the efforts of ‘rebel’ Labour MPs in voting against these provisions.

Regards.

Unity.

PS.

Please not hesitate to use the comments box here should you ever genuinely wish to discuss my views on fighting terrorism

PPS.

Please sack whichever underling decided that this would a good idea, they are quite obviously a complete and utter twat

PPPS

BTW. Should mention that having posted this on my blog my regular readership; while by no means huge; is at least sufficient for word to get round pretty quickly about this abysmal questionnaire – which means that if you do try to make use of it to justify pushing ahead with an unamended Bill, everyone will know well in advance how you’ve tried to cook the survey and no one will believe a word you say.

Sorry.

UPDATE: Consider Phlebas has a nicely considered response to this email here – well worth reading – and Tim (of Bloggerheads and Backing Blair fame) has also had one as well.

  • “… no one will believe a word you say”

    And this is different from his usual state of affairs how, exactly?

    It does however plumb new depths of dishonesty. Just when you think they can’t sink any further, eh?

  • these people get worse and worse… don’t renew your membership… you are an accessory to liars and scumbags

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  • I had one too. I’m not a member of the Labour Party, so why I get these things (I get regular Labour Party emails) I don’t know.

  • Unity

    IIRC, a lot of people wound up on the party’s e-mail list courtesy of the ‘Big Conversation’ website before the last election – even if they only went on there to call Blair a tosser over Iraq.

    Most likely that’s how you’re getting this stuff.

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  • Unity, thank you. I did go register at the Big Coversation site (yes, to call him a tosser). I’d forgotten. And yes, now I get lots of Labour Party emails… .

  • I just got another email “from Charles Clarke” apologising for the wording of the questions. So all the fuss did have an effect.