In what sane universe can the top two headlines on the Guardian website (as of 1AM 12 June) be “Desperate Brown scrapes through on 42-day vote” followed immediately by “Secret files on Al-Qaida left on a train”?
Sweet christ on a bike. Who dove into the bottom of the improbability barrel and fished out these two winners? Has the department of “you couldn’t make it up” been working overtime again? What selection of opportunists, imbeciles, mercenaries and halfwit pricks has laboured to make this all possible?
That’d be the upstanding, democratically elected Labour government (‘thank you, thank you. We’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip Gordon, he’s saving up for a long holiday somewhere discreet.’ Alternatively, if you want to tell them what a bunch of fuckwits they are contact them here). And every gibbering, Smash-for-brains MP who allowed him or herself to be bought, conned or bullied into abetting this fascist gambit.
Luckily, I missed the actual vote by two days. If I were in London now I’d probably be mid-shouting match with my dear friend James, who told me over Question Time a few nights ago he’d “quite like it” if any potential terrorists were locked up for 42 days without charge – or as long as necessary.
“I’d rather be blown up than have my continued existence used to justify the destruction of civil liberties,” I snapped. He was so outraged he didn’t speak to me for half an hour. Possibly he thought I was employing hyperbole to make a point. I wasn’t.
At the time I was reasonably confident the Government would be defeated. I mean, what sane person can honestly believe it is okay to imprison someone for six weeks with no evidence of criminal wrongdoing? Remember, this isn’t about keeping in custody people who have charges against them, but about carte blanche to hold people when there is nothing to charge them with.
Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought you were supposed to ascertain who the bad guys (or gals) are before locking anyone up. Not just grab random people off the street and bang them up for a few weeks while you play pin-the-evidence-on-the-Muslim until hopefully something sticks.
But the police “need” this time to build a case. Why? What the fuck? It seems perfectly simple: if you have no evidence of wrong-doing you don’t arrest anyone. Anything else is Gestapo tactics, despite the simpering of apologists like Garry Hindle who writes: “The [Crown Prosecution Service] CPS revealed that three individuals have been charged under the lower threshold on the 27th or 28th day… there is a clear need to detain beyond 28 days since these individuals were held for the maximum period and adequate evidence was not obtained.” Er, Garry, I hate to piss on your one-man parade but has it occured to you that might be because there wasn’t any evidence to obtain?
Gutless Labour won’t even own their vicious illiberality. They’re trying to turn the whole thing into a perverse outcropping of Britain’s credit culture by suggesting “compensation” for unjust detention. (Allegedly they think £3000 per day is enough for ruining someone’s life.) Hurrah! Can’t afford real counter-terrorism? Try our hassle-free arrest now, pay later policy.
The colossal absurdity of the 42-day detention measure is a cake that doesn’t need icing but, lo, there’s more. Some pickle-headed public servant on his (or her, perhaps, but I’m guessing his) way home to Surrey managed to leave behind a pair of “classified… top secret” documents about Al-Qaida and the security situation in Iraq.
Inspires confidence, no? No? Whew. Me either. Jesusjosephandmary, we are seriously supposed to trust this posse of cloth heads? Why don’t they just go whole hog and admit they need 42 days to try to trump up a charge because they’ll spend 41 of them admiring their own reflection in coffee spoons, poking their mates on Facebook, getting blown by the workie, sinking whiskey or simply leaving evidence on trains?
Forget the “terrorists.” They are no more relevant than the bogeyman. All a good jihadist need do is put his feet up, flick on the news and smile quietly while the Government rapes centuries of hard-won civil liberties in the name of “security.”
Back when the concept of democracy was more than just window-dressing for quasi-fascist imperialism, Patrick Henry asked, trenchantly: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery?” Is “freedom” worth losing our liberty for?