Oh my goodness! So the Government now plan to give themselves even more powers to stop us knowing what they’ve got up to. The provisions, under a clause in the Counter-Terrorism Bill, allow the Home Secretary to stop a jury being summoned, replace the coroner with a government appointee and baring the public from inquests.
I do sometimes have to pinch myself . Sadly – it’s the real deal. I think it all stems from the deepest of insecurities and the psychotic state Labour has got itself into in terms of believing that it must always have the most macho policies of anyone – and then some – and that introducing new legislation is the correct response to just about any problem. Well – I think they’re wrong on both scores.
Fighting terrorism requires public support and confidence in the official authorities – and the way to achieve that is by being open, transparent and frank. Labour’s measures, if introduced, won’t protect our security – they’ll just feed beliefs in cover-ups and conspiracies. The more people believe the state is the bad guy, doing things wrong and then covering them up, the less help people will give the state to fight terrorism. And that help is certainly needed.
Lynne, you are getting very few comments, in fact none at all showing on your current page of 8 articles varying from good news to serious problems. I know its August’s dog days of politics, but could it also be that mental fatigue has set in? Yet there is progress: SATs mess on the way to resolution, DfT’s turnround on rail development after last year’s disastrous White Paper (this year they have become pro electrification and are seriously thinking about new high speed routes). Middle managers in the civil service are trying to break out of the stasis, but I fear that they will be squashed again as they have repeatedly been over 40 years (most recently in 2000) – and now they are afraid to show their hands, so we have to resort to subterfuge in order to support them in their challenge to the prevailing Victorian culture in their circles.In the runup to your LD Conference, the question that has to be asked is: would it be possible to deliver on the policies? At the moment it’s not.
I have to say, this clause has been present for quite a while for scrutiny…have MPs not read the document fully enough to understand what they are voting for and against? I’m concerned, as anyone should, that pro-supporters in the commons didn’t really think about the other elements of this bill that turn the government in to an authoritarian quasi-judicial body.
The Muslim Council of Britain published in November 2007 their response to proposed Counter Terrorism Bill and I agree with aspects of their response below: 5. ‘The MCB believes that it is essential that all counter-terrorism legislation uphold respect for human rights principles, the rule of law, and civil liberties. Achieving the right balance between liberty and security is essential if the new measures are to succeed in attracting the widespread and diverse public support that is so important to police efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks. Undermining the central pillars of the British system by imposing laws such as unlawful detention undermines the right to a fair trial and is contrary to the presumption of innocence.’ I further agree with the UK’s highest ranking Asian & Muslim police officer, Tarique Ghaffur, who has called for an independent judicial inquiry into the radicalisation of young Muslims after the 7th July bombings. This Government needs to stop designing laws to marginalise Muslims, rather than engaging in a robust and honest debate with them. This marginalisation, in the view of AC Ghaffur, made some Muslims vulnerable to extremism. During a speech to the National Black Police Association, he is reported to have stated that tighter anti-terror laws had indirectly discriminated against Muslims, and that partnership with the Muslim community was vital. He said: "We must think long and hard about the causal factors of anger and resentment. In particular, we need to adopt an evidence-based approach to building solutions.” Something the Government refuses to do, explaining the reason why the Government refuses to call Tarique Ghaffur as an expert witness during Parliamentary session to its Select Committee. However, the Lib Dem leader is reported to have suggested Mr Ghaffur attend to speak to parliamentarians. However, it appears this was rejected. I therefore support those who are calling for an independent judicial review of the issue of young Muslims and extremism and the wider community dimension. Similarly, Mr Ghaffur had his reservations concerning the discriminatory stop and searches primarily targeting young Muslims, the vast majority who are law abiding citizens. In essence, the problem that we face is that we all support stop and search in principle; however, we do not expect our stop and searches to be based upon the colour of our skin. It is Mr Ghaffur’s view that, the use of stop-and-search powers and so-called passenger profiling in the fight against terrorism tended to be based on physical appearance rather than actual intelligence.