I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

PR vs Liberty

It seems that Brown has won his popularity contest to get the 42 day limit on terrorist suspects. This is a disgrace, it's a total disgrace. I haven't sworn on this blog since I started it, but I'm seriously close to doing so now.

In the face of abysmal polls, Brown has decided he needs to look tough, tough on crime, tough on Labour Rebels and tough on National Security. Because Brown wants to look tough, we will now (subject to the Lords' approval) have a law on our books allowing the police to hold a person in a cell for a month and a half (that sounds much longer than 42 days doesn't it!) without evidence that they are a criminal.

And that's what bugs me most about this. We keep getting told that these powers will only be used to hold terrorists in extreme cases. But this is not a law to hold terrorists, it's a law to hold suspects who the Police do not have enough evidence to charge. In other words people who the police have no case against. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty!

The police chiefs have said they need these powers. They tell us that they need more time these days because computers are hard to crack and terrorists' computers are harder because they're all in Arabic. Are they honestly telling us that if they get a computer filled with terrorist plans - it will take them a month and a half to workout what it says? That fills you with confidence doesn't it!

What's more, while the police chiefs supported Brown, everyone else did not. The Crown Prosecution Service, the people who have to look at the evidence the Police have gathered and decide whether to charge or not, don't want this law. Lord Goldsmith, the ex-Advocate general (the government's top lawyer) doesn't want this law. Scotland's Lord Advocate doesn't want it. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the government's own Commission!) doesn't want it and says it's illegal!

Two years ago the government raised the maximum non-charge detention from 14 to 28 (having been upped from 7 to 14 in 2003). Now they say they need 14 more days. Really? Even though there has never yet been a need to detain someone for 28 days?

Let;s hope the Lords have enough guts to stand up to this disgrace.

And there's more. Another of Brown's new laws is that it is now illegal to be in possession of a drawing of a child in a sexual position. A DRAWING! Apparently all you need to be a peado these days is a blank sheet of A4 paper and a HB Pencil.

This is nothing more than a PR exercise by a desperate Brown. What's next, bringing back the death penalty?


O'Neill said...

It seems that Brown has won his popularity contest to get the 42 day limit on terrorist suspects

He won the vote, it's true but the amount of horse-trading involved to reach that point shows how weak his position is within his own party.

The simple mathmatics dictate that if he'd had to rely on his own MPs, then he would have lost.

In the wider world outside Westminster, I fear he may have indeed had a PR result, most of the right-wing tabloids are giving pretty positive headlines today.

Steffan said...

These increasingly frequent events leave the political process in disrepute. The Labour government in Westminster has arrived at a similar position to the last Conservative administration (for both similar and different reasons) where one can have nothing but contempt for it's representatives and their behaviour.
One just wishes them gone.