Sunday, November 13, 2005

Whose rights?

I’ve been watching with increasing disbelief the fallout surrounding the defeat of the Blair government’s proposal to detain for up to 90 days without trial persons suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. I say disbelief because I’m completely unsure of the rationale against such a proposal and I’m dismayed that once again, politicians preferred to play politics instead of using some much needed common sense. I’m also witnessing commentators of all political hues and sympathies completely losing the plot.

Just what is the problem with the police being given powers to detain for up to 90 days people suspected of being involved in terrorist activity? I’ve really been struggling with this one because I’m just an ordinary bloke living in an ordinary town in the north-west of the country, a tad scared of being blown to bits by someone with some suspect morals and a huge grudge. I don’t have any particular political allegiances and I’m not religious or racist; like most people, my politics are a pick ‘n’ mix of bits and pieces from the major dogmas. So, if an innocent member of the public gets banged up for a few weeks because he or she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time then that’s not a gross violation of their human rights, it's just a bit unfortunate. The alternative – that a terrorist is left to his own devices and takes out The National Gallery because the police were unable to collate enough evidence in time – is too horrendous to contemplate.

It’s a weary old cliché but terrorists don’t hold much to the concept of human rights. After all, it’s their denial that brings attention to their causes. They would claim to be acting, albeit misguidedly to the majority, in the greater good so in that case why can’t the security services? We’re not talking about swarms of armed police swooping down on road-tax evaders or a return to the “sus” laws that abounded in the 70s and 80s, we’re imagining the scenario whereby a meticulously planned operation to disrupt the normal life of the country using grotesque and obscene acts of unimaginable violence can be thwarted by intelligence gathering, infiltration and skilled detection. This takes time, it’s not like Spooks off the telly with a different story each week featuring the same people. Everybody knows the courts throw out cases because evidence hasn’t been compiled correctly or that there isn’t enough to convict, so the police are asking for the chance to get it right this time. Can somebody tell me where the problem with that is? Doing it this way they are seeking to preserve the rights of the vast majority of the country to go about their business unhindered. Seems logical to me. You see, I think the CPS will find it tricky trying to prosecute a suicide bomber under the new double-jeopardy legislation when the compelling new evidence is the DNA taken from the remains of the bomber's spleen scraped off the front of Harvey Nichols.

Now we’re getting complaints that senior police officers advising MPs to vote for the proposal were being used as political stooges. Something else I can’t understand: surely they’re just like any other self-interest group that lobbies parliament. Is it wrong to phone up an MP and tell him what you think they should do or is that just the prerogative of the whip’s office? They’re the ones asking for these powers of detention in the first place aren’t they? We won’t be living in a “police state” as the outgoing (read "failed") leader of HM Opposition would have it. The fact that the Conservative Party is in such turmoil at the moment and failed to vote for an amendment that would have been meat and grist to the Tory masses under normal service shows what a vapid bunch of losers they really have become. No, if I’m the Home Secretary wanting advice on detaining terror suspects, I’ll ask a policeman, not Gordon Ramsay.

Throughout his tenure Tony Blair has always struck me as a deeply moral man who tries to do right. He seems unswayed by politicking and that's as it should be. The reason he comes unstuck is because he’s surrounded by dodgy advisors and career politicians seeking the main chance. The greatest problem with this country is that the minority who hold the contrary viewpoints have the ability to shout loudest. If a suspect ever blows himself up 30 days after being arrested and released, I’ll blame The Guardian.

1 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Bunny ~N~ Early said...

You think you have some messed up stuff going on there? Try swallowing the shit they shovel us here in the USA. Makes me sick.

10:19 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home