I wonder; in all the fuss and furore over the current anti-terrorism bill, in every effort being made to scare and coerce parliament and the British people into supine compliance in the face of police demands for more and more powers, including the power to suspend habeas corpus for ninety days, are we missing something important?
Is there some deeper and unexpected truth here that we’re just not seeing. Could it possibly that through his efforts to infect us all with ‘The Fear’ that Blair has, himself, succumbed to infection?
Yet, how else can one adequately account for Blair’s petulant display in the face of a rebellion amongst his own members which almost put paid to his plans to outlaw the ‘glorification of terrorism’ – whatever that actually means – and which caused proposals to extend the period that terrorist suspects could be held without charge to ninety days to be withdrawn, pending further negotiations at the last minute in avoidance of a sure and certain parliamentary defeat
One almost begins to feel a little sorry for Charles Clarke.
As a Minister he did what he had to in order to avoid the government being defeated for the first time in a vote in the House of Commons – he ordered a tactical retreat in the face of opposition on both sides of the House which would surely have taken David Winnick’s amendment, which proposed an extension of police powers of detention to twenty-eight days, over the government’s own proposals. And yet, publicly at least, what thanks does he get from his boss for preserving the government’s record of never having lost a vote in the Commons when it mattered?
None at all.
Instead, we find Blair railing against the perceived injustices of a democratic parliament which, for the first time in his career in the top job, has had the temerity to turn around and say ‘no’, accusing parliament of ‘woeful complacency’ for the refusal to see things his way. His opponents he suggests in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, “have failed utterly to confront the reality of the post-9/11 world and the "existential" threat of global terror