I watched the TV as the vote was announced. To my horror it was true. The new anti-terrorism legislation, where an individual can be held up to 42 days without charge, on suspicion of terroism was passed. This video is the best I could find on YouTube discussing why this is a big mistake. George Galloway’s arguments were recorded in April, and hence before the recent parliamentary vote. He makes a passionate plea saying don’t let this folly occur: stop it before it is too late.
But it is too late. The goverment stitched this one up nicely. With a majority of only 9 votes and to the astonishment of many in the House of Commons the motion was carried. It appears that the voting was swayed by Unionist MP’s eager to secure some financial and political rewards. The usual tricks in the world of politics. I bet the whips had to work overtime on this one.
Today The Independent reports on the resignation of David Davis, Shadow Home Secretary forcing a by- election. He wants to make a stand against what he perceives as an erosion of civil liberties and human rights. I agree wholeheartedly with him and in brief, I give my own reasons why I am against this legislation.
- This act can be open to abuse. People banged up in cells, where any whiff of terroism is suspected. The state can and does get it wrong. We only have to look at the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes last year.
- Could this open the door to other areas of law and order enforcement where the detainment rule could apply. The insidious erosion of people’s democratic human rights where non-terror crimes are treated in the same way.
- What I hate most about this is, theoretically anyone could be taken off the street, detained under anti-terror laws and just taken into custody without any powers of appeal over the 42 day rule.(Correct me please if I am wrong on this last sentence).
- The absolute power of the state over an individual who has no say in the incarceration of their person. The act here implies guilty until proven innocent.
While, I acknowledge the threat of terrorism in this country, I can see Galloway’s point when he talks about Northern Ireland as a parallel. Before the peace process no where was potentially more volatile and open to acts of terrorism then what occurred In Northern Ireland and also the bombings in main land Britain; where even our own Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher could have easily have been killed in the Brighton hotel bombing. However, the government did not pass this kind of legislation then.
I believe this law could further feed the fanatical worry of terror; so called terror. Yes, terror exists and we need international responses to combat terror. Let’s start looking at the wider picture of real terror. For example, what is occurring in Zimbabwe where two women were murdered in the most in-human way because their husbands support the opposition party. Somehow, the government appears to take little interest in eradicating such an evil despot as Robert Mugabe. We will just leave that one alone should we?
This new law makes Britain what it really is. A frightening place to live in. Better watch out for that knock on the door. It might be you they have come for.