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Monday, February 28, 2005

I have just had the most saddening and infuriating experience of watching the debate on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill live online. The disregard the Labour Government shows for Parliament and concerns about civil liberties is really quite chilling. We have just been treated to Charles Clarke using some tangentially-relevant Telegraph poll, which we all know is affected by the exact words used, to justify taking such draconian measures where a politician can lock up individuals without a judge. For me I find the whole idea terribly chilling. As Sir Patrick Cormack very powerfully said "we should never grant powers we would not wish our opponents or enemies to have". I have to say I completely agree.

We have to attack terrorism and make life difficult for those who hate and wish to destroy our society, but if we throw out safeguards for our liberties then we effectively let terrorists win. If this issue goes through, with the sham of debate we have seen, not only will it be a sad day for Britain, but it will be clear this is another of the Labour dirty trick election games.

UPDATE: Fantastic and powerful speech by shadow Attorney-General Dominic Grieve just now. When I met him in person I was distinctly underwhelmed, but he has just put Charles Clarke right in his place with a rumbustuous attack on Labour's spouting of opinion polls. Particular highlight was his assertion he wouldn't vote for such a dog's breakfast which undermined civil liberties if 99% of the country was in favour of it.

Isn't it a bit odd to argue in one breath the Tories are playing politics and then in the other to assert that public opinion is different!?


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