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Not a resigning matter

Nick Robinson | 10:05 UK time, Monday, 2 June 2008

"I don't think it is". With those five words Ed Balls ends any suggestion that next week's vote on extending detention without charge to 42 days should be treated as a vote of confidence in the government. That was the question he was asked on Radio 4's Today programme this morning.

Gordon BrownWhat this means is that you should discount any nudge by the whips or wink from a spindoctor that Gordon Brown's future depends on whether he wins next week or not. Let's be clear. He can lose and stay prime minister just as Tony Blair did when he was defeated on his 90-day proposal. That is not to say, of course, that defeat wouldn't have huge consequences for Mr Brown.

The prime minister's hope is that the argument which will dominate politics for the next 10 days will show that he is "taking the right long term decisions in difficult times" and is "on the side" of voters many of whom would instinctively back locking up terrorist suspects for 42 weeks without charge.

If he loses, however, people will be reminded that this is a battle he chose to fight despite having been warned as long ago as last November that:

• there was no consensus for change (he met Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti twice in one day in order to find a deal)
• that he faced parliamentary defeat
• that the director of public prosecutions, the former attorney general and former justice secretary did not support the need for change
• that MI5 would not back his arguments either privately or publicly - the spooks have let it be known that they are "neutral" on the issue
• and that many of his own ministers - not least the man he brought into government to deal with terrorism, Lord West - had had real doubts about whether this was the right priority.

Labour MPs return to the Commons today for the first time since the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. They will watch as the man dubbed the "Tory toff" fills the space once taken by Gwyneth Dunwoody. Many will be asking themselves what they should now do to avoid losing their seats.

When it comes to the vote on 42 days many Labour MPs will vote out of party loyalty, many out of conscience but the group to watch are those will vote out of self-interest. They must decide whether defeating 42 days with the consequences for Gordon Brown is more or less likely to save their skins. One thing they now know, thanks to Ed Balls, is that defeat will not trigger his immediate removal.

UPDATE, 02:50PM: Gordon Brown has, under pressure, confirmed that the 42-day vote will not be a confidence vote by declaring that it will be a "normal" parliamentary vote.

He was speaking alongside the Japanese prime minister - a man who got his job when his party sacked the previously failing leader. John Rentoul of the Independent on Sunday wrote an excellent piece about the parallels... or not.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I see...., So what Ed Balls says goes, does it. ?

  • Comment number 2.

    Ed Balls, the man who says "so what" to voters' concerns, is hardly the most reliable source! He's right though. Brown will not be forced out, probably over anything, as the Labour Party know that another 'appointed' PM would be unacceptable to the public and to go to the polls when their ratings are at such a low ebb would be suicide.

  • Comment number 3.

    42 days or 42 weeks?

    And it's Chakrabarti with two 'R's, I believe. Silly non-rhotic English accents.

    Back on-topic, you've got to admit that GB must really believe in this policy to go ahead with it despite substantial opposition, and with personal and party approval ratings in the Mariana Trench. It's very courageous.

    Either that or he's completely lost touch with reality and reason, which is also a distinct possibility.

  • Comment number 4.

    My understanding of this issue is that the extraordinary circumstances this legislation would be triggered under is proportionate to a sizable terrorist attack. It's a useful tool to have should circumstances dictate and having it available so panic driven legislation isn't needed or ministers time isn't wasted seems fair enough. It's a half-way house between an outrage and needing to declare a state of emergency. If parliament and vested interests reflected on that this would be a much more minor matter and dealt with more sensibly.

    Is it a resigning issue? Some people may think that or wish to fan the flames of disharmony but I wouldn't say it was. In fact, I wouldn't even call it close. Perhaps the issue wasn't framed the right way and vested interests didn't deal with it maturely enough but it's on the table for when circumstances change or people have developed a calmer outlook. The narrow minded and partisan view clutters discussion and makes things more emotive than they need be. Win, lose, or draw this should people something to chew on in their own time.

    Personally, I consider this time the lowest point for Labour, and the Tories high water mark. As surely as the moon moves across the sky the tides will change. Perception lags reality and, I believe, a little of the Gordon Brown pixie dust will begin to mysteriously but surely move political fortunes more in his favour. Simply, by being more humble in presentation and allowing people to discover their inner success, the sage succeeds with little effort. One can almost hear the screeching of political brakes as good-time friends flip-flop on the ashes of their ego.

    This is quite amusing. Truly, Blessed Leader has a great sense of humour.

  • Comment number 5.

    Gordon is fighting for survival. While many of us support the notion that we should do whatever we can to fight terrorism, this is simply an attempt to undermine the judicial process. As you point out Nick there seems to be little stomach for this measure. It will be strange indeed if he has to call on his 'enemies' to defeat his 'friends'.

  • Comment number 6.

    we don’t need detention without charge, and to say it wont be used is silly, if its legal, then it will be used, not necessarily as intended, but look at the councils using the new surveillance laws to snoop on people not using their bins correctly.

    It’s easy enough -

    Police Officer "Give me the password to your computer"

    Suspect "go do something rude to yourself"

    PO "I’m charging you with obstructing the police in their enquiries"

    Quick easy and means we're not losing people in the system, and before people come on and say "it'll only be used on terrorists" that’s what its intended for, but who knows what it could be used for in the future.

    There is no proof, evidence or reason to do this, it is an arbitrary figure plucked out of the air, it’s a stupid dangerous idea.

  • Comment number 7.

    What the voters 'instinctively' want and conscience are both important, of course, unlike specific MPs' electoral prospects.

    However, it would be nice to see a bit more illumination of the logic by which people think this would actually help in the fight against terrorism.

    It's not enough to argue, as Brown does in the Times today, that these cases are complicated and take a long time to sort out. The link to the need to keep people locked up needs to be made explicit.

    That's something the BBC could help with: not to argue the Government's case for it (or counter thise arguments), but, for example, to lay out the background at a deeper level than 'he says - she says'.

  • Comment number 8.

    Given the way that existing anti- terrorist legislation was (ab)used to shut people up and stop them making their views known at the Labour Party Conference its obvious that Brown needs at least 42 days.

  • Comment number 9.

    "Watch those who will vote out of self interest". Well that will be around 650 of them I suppose. the very suggestion that any of these people have principles would be absolutely hysterical if it were not so serious.

  • Comment number 10.

    Labour MP’s need to tell Brown that he is a lame duck until such time that he has secured a mandate following a general election. It is excruciating watching a stalled Government who are unable to implement any policies without a u-turn or series of concessions. Surely there is someone courageous in the Labour Party who can force Gordon to set out a time table for an election?

  • Comment number 11.

    But this doesn't mean anything for in the eyes of New Labour nothing is a resigning matter. It never has been and that's why they are now the most unpopular government in living memory; nobody is ever held accountabe for anything. And they never will be until they call an election.

    When an election is called - like the local elections; the London mayoralty; Crewe and Nantwich the great British publioc gives its verdict on this lack of accountability every time and kicks them out. Resoundingly.

    So does it matter that Gordon Brown and Ed Balls don't think it's a resigning matter if he loses the vote? The real issue is when he calls an election people will give their verdict on this arrogance and dithering and incompetence once and for all.

    This is far from the lowest point for New Labour as they have decided to pursue the 'carry on regardless' strategy when clearly 75% of the country loathes them. Ther's another 25% to go at who will be too ashamed to admit they have ever supported this bunch of losers.

    Gordon Brown will have his place in the history books as the most spectacular failure of all time.

  • Comment number 12.

    That was particularly stupid of Balls. If he'd left the "resigning" issue in doubt he might have shored up a few more waverers.

    Now MPs in marginals can vote as they please knowing that they can present themselves as guardians of liberty for their constituents whilst not triggering a leadership election in their party.

    I wonder how Gordon will take it when the voters boot him out? Will he refuse to go? Of course, that assumes that he's still in the job....

  • Comment number 13.

    We have a government that is intent on doing the terrorists job for them. Every Act they pass and every statement they make reduces the freedom of the individual and allows the state to intrude into our lives.

    Oh for Glasnost, this lot have lost it; not that they ever had it.

  • Comment number 14.

    I doubt if Bottler will be displaced even if he loses this vote.

    I hope he stays as Labour leader (- he's not the PM because he denied us the opportunity for an election when Blair left -) because he is the best person to ensure the Conservatives win the next general election.

  • Comment number 15.

    This government deserves to fall and in my opinion will fall due to policies of this Ilk.

    For a *Labour* administration to have validity it needs to appeal to peoples sense of fair play and decency.

    Voting Labour at its best is a guilty pleasure, we know that it isnt really good for us financially but it feels good in the moment.

    Labour have lost this and become a more intrusive version of the "nasty tories".

    That regardless of the economy is why Labour are at a low watermark in my opinion.

    They should ditch this policy immediately and instead look at how they can bring our communities together.

  • Comment number 16.

    @12 - He'll lock up all those who voted against him for 48 days ;)

    That was a joke btw before the NuLabour cheerleaders get all in a tiz - Brown is many things, but a dictator he is not.

  • Comment number 17.

    This is just another example of Brown's authoritian leanings, as with ID cards. I hope he is defeated on it. It would be a great shame if Britain, who already locks up more people than any other Europe country, goes down this road.

    I think people will be wondering why, with so many other pressing problems, Mr Brown is willing to put his already shaky premiership on the line over this. It just has to be political posturing. As with many of Labour's new laws it is not necessary anyway, can anyone seriously believe that police do not have enough powers already, and the wit to bring suspected terrorists to court?. And if all the powers of the state cannot find enough evidence to charge someone after a month in custody, many will think there is no real evidence anyway.
    It's simply moving the goal posts - and why stop at 42 days? Why not indefinitely until they confirm the state's suspicions, as with Guantanamo Bay?

    I hope the Labour rebels will have the courage to say no and not be manipulated into voting yes to save Brown's skin.

  • Comment number 18.

    I read on the bbc somewhere that Ed Balls is Gorden's Choice to replace him.

    I wouldnt put too much stock in what Ed Balls says, his political future is going to tainted with the infamous 'So What' remark.

    I agree with the above posters gorden will attempt to hang on even if he is defeated.

    He just better hope his own back benchers will let him hang on.

  • Comment number 19.

    Gordon is sticking to 42 days not because of some deep-seated principle involving his beliefs, but because he thinks it makes him look tough, and because if he caved in yet again from something that he has repeatedly said he would not budge on, then he would lose whatever shred of credibility and authority he had left.

    Incidentally, Charles, there are already powers in place to hold people for at least an extra 2 weeks on top of the 28 days. All they have to do is declare a state of emergency. Now I don't know about you, but a sizeable terrorist attack (to use your words) sounds like a state of emergency to me, so I don't see the need for this extension. Especially when they could utilise other things such as post-charge questioning and use of intercept evidence in court.

  • Comment number 20.

    So, a government perceived as unpopular has its sails trimmed repeatedly by a cautious back bench. Which is a lot better for all concerned than the trauma of an overt leadership crisis. A doubtful bill is up for debate. If it ever does materialise on the order paper at all (Hmmm...) I see some desperate calulations by the whips, a narrow majority and a defeat in the Lords. And no stomach to do much about that.

    It will go the way of the Identity card initiative, slowly down the plughole.
    I mean has the Home Office (as was) really survived the Labour government as a force for anything?

  • Comment number 21.


    Will the scale of any defeat affect whether Ed Balls' is right?

    I for one hope Labour MPs do have the backbone to reject this nasty Bill.

    That *might* also hasten a General Election, although GB wants to stay as PM so badly that one suspects he'll delay an election until almost the last possible date and have to be dragged out of No. 10 the day afterwards.

    All this would be less scary if the Government and police didn't have lots of previous form on using legislation in a more Draconian way than they told Parliament and applying it to people other than those they said it was aimed at - eg Brian Haw, demonstrations near Parliament, Walter Wolfgang for heckling Conference, Mark Wallace of the Freedom Association for collecting signatures on ID cards, etc. etc.

    The spin that this is just a precautionary measure in case of a major state of emergency would be laughable if it wasn't frightening. Let's all hope this won't arise, but if there is a real emergency Parliament should vote on this after debating all the circumstances (and be recalled if necessary).

    My judgement is that the reality is that this is naked party politics of the worst order and has little or nothing to do with operational policing or security.

  • Comment number 22.

    There is very little historical precedent of policies like this ever being successful. What there are historical precedents for, is poilicies like this being unsuccessful. In ireland at the turn of the century when thousands of catholics were detained, leading to massive civil disobediance, or perhaps to look at a more recent examply, Abu Graib, used by Saddam Hussein to torture civilians, and then reopened by the Americans to erm...well ... the pictures say it all.

    These draconian measures have been asked for by a police department who shoot an ordinary citizen dead for no reason under these so called heightened circumstances and plays into terrorists hands as they want the Government and the ignorant racists who support these moves to be shown up for exactly what they are.

    Why have the BNP when the Government are listening to an organisation that was, as pointed out by the Steven Lawrence inquiry, institutionally racist.

    This was written over 50 years ago and is sad to see that it is just as relevent today.

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn't a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    nuff said

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Nick, do you think that once the vote is won we will get a queue of cabinet ministers declaring they would have resigned had the vote gone the other way? I remember this happened when Tony Blair won the Iraq war vote in parliament and all the gang were falling over themselves to re-declare their loyalty.

  • Comment number 24.

    This obsession with Gordon Brown is making Nick Robinson and his political coverage, look like jumped up celebrity gossip television. Perhaps he could start up a new channel with Andrew Neil. Instead of E! it could be called P!

    I wonder if the RBS and Barclays banking scandal can be connected to labour? like Northern rock.

    I will demonstrate the BBCs reporting tactic. Is Nick Robinson up to the job? Is Nick Robinson pro conservative and anti labour and is that a resigning matter?

    I am against 42 days and not particularly pro labour.

  • Comment number 25.

    I think GB is right using 42 days.
    Remember, 42 was the answer to life, the universe and everything.
    Maybe by using 42, GB has the answer to everything!
    Somehow I doubt it!

  • Comment number 26.

    42 is the answer the life, the universe and everything so Gordon must be a fan.

    It is the only explanation that makes any sense.

    People have mouldering away in places like Belmarsh for years anyway - despite the legal issues.

    This NL Government and we must stagger on through the next couple of years to the GE in 2010.

    By that stage, Labour should be more or less wiped off the face of the earth in England as 'Dave's' shower fill the boots.

    Perfect timing for Alex Salmond to call the Scottish referendum and then the game changes completely.

    A couple of examples from the weekend illustrate how Labour have lost their compass.

    First, in Browns own constituency, a Post Office is being shut ... Post Offices are/were one decent piece of public space for the community, which you would think a Labour Government would try to protect .. instead they are cutting the PO network, whilst the Italians maintain and even open new PO's.

    Secondly, and much more seriously, English people are dying of cancer because of Government NHS policy in England but not Scotland.

    Alan Johnson is doing English people a huge dis-service by claiming that founding principles of the NHS must only apply in England.

    This is truly outrageous and another nail in the coffin of the so-called Union.

  • Comment number 27.

    I suppose I am being very silly if I suggest that actually Gordon Brown is rather dim and that he has been continuously manipulated by his great mentor, Balls (of the demob haircut, expenses skills and eye watering ambition) into the pretty pass he now finds himself.

    Ridiculous! Can't possibly be, but hmmmmm......

  • Comment number 28.

    Ed Balls sounds up there with Thatcher and "the Chancellors position is paramount!". He is a dead duck if Brown goes so he would say that Brown will not resign.

    But three points.

    One is I never believed that the 42 day mob believed in the 42 days. Too many officials don't back them. I believed that it was window dressing to out muscle the Tories. They are now in a corner and can't retreat.

    Two is if he loses will he have much chance to be able to think about resigning. Even with their fixed constitution he would have zero credibility.

    Three, I bore the other posters I am sure, as 2010 draws nearer then the fact that Brown is Scottish and the SNP may well win the independence referendum will become a factor. He would be gone then as I see it.
    He can't "do a Crewe" without exciting Plaid Cymru and alienating the English. If they lose the referendum then what does the Party do as many top politicians would then be ineligible.

    People tell me sometimes I am "out there". I wonder about the politicians and the media (no disrespect Nick) myself.

  • Comment number 29.

    "Remember, 42 was the answer to life, the universe and everything"

    The trouble was that, as Deep Thought pointed out, they never actually knew what the question was. Simple answers are rarey satisfactoy.

    As a working thinker, I demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm not sure which I find most alarming, a Conservative Party, memebrs, friends and bloggers all banging on about Human and Civil rights or:

    A pack of hounds ripping a fox apart?

    Both quite sickening to observe by this writer.

    Tories talking about Human Rights and Civil Rights. Come on!

    There is nothing decent about 20th Century Conservatives attempting to sway a weary public of how very 21st Century they all are and we are best served by their reason.

    Conservatives hate Europe (the biggest Civil rights and Human Rights organisation in the world) and they hate the very thought of the British working class having any rights whatsoever.

    Tories have no credibility on this issue with the working voter and try as they might, they will never have any either.

    My honest opinion is that my Labour MP will vote against this bill. It will take a mountain to move his opinion. It will have to be a water-tight case that persuades him. So be it.

    Is it a resigning issue?

    For goodness sake, give us a break.

    No. simple.

  • Comment number 31.

    # 28

    I would not worry about being in a gang-of-one.

    I am myself.

    It seems to me that the whole political establishment, including parts of the media, are in denial about the remorseless political timetable which is driving the political entity 'Britain' into its final days.

    This Englishman will be very glad to get our England back again because it will bring much needed political clarity to our situation.

  • Comment number 32.

    I must admit that like some other posters I feel very uneasy about potential abuse of the legislation. I also don't see this as a party political issue. I suspect that there are members on both sides of the House who are firmly pro or con the proposal so I tend to agree that it is not a resigning matter but more about our individual visions of a just society. Having said that I don't think it would be good news for GB if he lost by a substantial margin, not least because such a vote would demonstrate a lack of good judgement of the mood of the House. Ed Balls was right to say what he did and to be up front about it.

  • Comment number 33.

    I really don't understand why someone can't be charged within 42 days.

    I do worry that a government can't be defeated without it being seen by politicians and reporters as a vote of confidence. Why can't a defeat just mean the democratic will of parliament? Instead of part of some power game.

    Labour people may feel the need to vote for this even though they don't believe in it and conservatives and maybe lib dems. may be forced to vote against it even though they think its the right thing to do.

    This sort of political game and our voting system, that is only good for boffins on BBC Election coverage. Makes a mockery of democracy.

    moderator: I withdraw dhwilkinson@24.

  • Comment number 34.


    Please can you broadcast what a waste of time this whole process is and has been? How many hours have been spent discussing this issue when the country and our banking infrastructure is collapsing around us? If we had politicians who recognised that the magistrates and judges have the ability to detain if the evidence is presented and can be trusted to do their job then this is not required. It is also up to the police to present their findings, and not just circumspect evidence that is not enough to charge. Should they not have enough evidence in 28 days to charge someone with some misdemeanour then I fail to see how another 12 days is going to create such evidence.

    As for the PM, he should resign if he fails in his bid. He has spun this to seem that he is tough on terror, he is doing the 'right' thing for the country. I suspect he is so far away from reality he has no idea which country he is trying to protect. Ultimately I believe the laws are in place to deal with any network of terrorists, and this is just a smoke screen. Shouldn't the MPs be debating Europe instead?

  • Comment number 35.

    Am I imagining something, or was it not that long ago that GB wanted us all to know what a caring PM he is and how he is listening to everyone else's concerns? Doesn't seem to be doing much listening here, does he?

  • Comment number 36.

    There's a lot of cliche and handwaving in here. From a Zen Buddhist perspective it's quite funny seeing people gnash their their over policy and perform to the partisan gallery, as if it means anything. It's like watching a baby cry over having a case of wind. People are just making an emotional mountain out of a policy pebble. It's just posturing and attention seeking.

    As I've already commented, this is a halfway house between the normal and insufficient way of dealing with an outrage and something that might otherwise require a heavy handed state of emergency to be declared. Plus, it's got so many lock-outs that prevent it being used it's silly. Prisoners on remand stay in prison for longer and with less justification.

    The problem with the prosecuters is they're not getting their heads around the real problem so can't appreciate how the new law is safe and proportionate. They're living in the past of a single car bomb or conventional wartime attack. A critical outrage is between the two and may require sweeping but targetted powers. This new law deliver exactly that.

  • Comment number 37.

    27 greytiles

    "I suppose I am being very silly if I suggest that actually Gordon Brown is rather dim and that he has been continuously manipulated by his great mentor, Balls (of the demob haircut, expenses skills and eye watering ambition) into the pretty pass he now finds himself."

    I might think so but I couldn't possibly comment.

  • Comment number 38.

    I think an important point to think about is that, in the US, the home of 9/11 and fear of terrorism, the equivilant legislation allows for prisoners to be held for 2 DAYS without charge!

  • Comment number 39.

    Re item 6, while I agree 42 days detention is not required your scenario would not work. The suspected terrorist would be quite within their constituttional rights not to reply to the question and could not be charged with obstruction if he did not.

    The only people who do not seem to have the right of silence in this country are registered keepers of motor vehicles who have to disclose who was driving their car at a given time and place, even, if themselves, or get fined and penalty points.

    Obviously combatting speeding drivers is much higher up the Government's priorities than dealing with terrorist offences

  • Comment number 40.

    Just because Ed Balls says it's not a resigning matter, that doesn't mean it's not. He's even more of an idiot than Gordon Brown is (and that's saying something), what he says is completely meaningless in most people's eyes; everyone else just laughs at the man, nobody takes him seriously. A similar message from someone like Hazel Blears would have the same "so what?" impact.

    Obviously Gordon Brown doesn't see it as a resigning matter; he doesn't see anything as a resigning matter while he's the subject of the potential resignation. Even if Gordon Brown intentionally blew up parliament with a bomb he wouldn't resign over it; the man will try to cling onto power come what may, he's a dictator pure and simple.

    Personally I hope he loses the vote because I don't like the idea of being locked up for 42 days just because the current PM doesn't like the look of you or just because you disagree with his policies.

    Remember the labour conference, when they used the "only in extreme emergencies" anti-terrorist legislation to kick out a pensioner from their conference for heckling "rubbish"? That shows you how easy it is for them to abuse such laws. Rest assured, if this passes they *will* abuse it and they should not be given that chance.

    Remember that a "suspect" is just that; a suspect, not proven guilty or even charged. You can be a suspect just because you're a certain race in the police's eyes. Being a "terrorist suspect" is not the same as being a terrorist; it just means that the powers that be don't personally like you but they haven't bothered to do their job well enough to gather any evidence, and that should never ever lead them to being able to lock you up for 42 days.

    Anyway, just because the majority of the public would prefer something that doesn't mean it's right; "give £1million to everyone as a one-off gift" would be popular, but wouldn't be the right thing to do.

    Gordon Brown's arguments are completely flawed; I hope the other labour MPs see this for what it is; it's Brown wanting to turn the country into a Stalinist state where the thought police can shoot you in the head 5 times for looking foreign.

  • Comment number 41.

    # 39

    That is not strictly true.

    The Idris Francis case went to the EU Court which found against him but ... according to the write up in the Times, the only mistake he made was to refuse to co-operate in any way with the police.

    If you show that you have made some efforts to assist the police with their enquiries but are ultimately unable to identify the driver, then this will count heavily in your favour at any court hearing.

    However, it is only likes of Harry Redknapp who have the money to take on the police when they behave outrageously.

    Most folk are cowed and simply pay up ... which is not this Englishman's idea of justice at all.

  • Comment number 42.

    I think #14 is right.

    A GE in 2010 with GB as the PM will be what the conservatives most want. They will campaign on how little he has been successful coupled with his broken promises. Think 10p tax, extra fuel duty, no referendum on Lisbon etc.

    A referendum in Scotland could well produce a majority vote for separation such is the (political) loathing of all things English at the moment. That coupled with the disarray of the Labour pary in Scotland could well mean far less Scots Labour MPs, thus helping "Dave" to be the next PM.

    GB's only hope is go long and not call the GE in 2010 hoping that the economic cycle has improved, helped by a giveaway Budget in April 2010. An improvement in the security situation would help, but 42 days imprisonment without being charged will not help that particular situation.

  • Comment number 43.

    I have read in the papers that prisoners have the right to stay in their cells and do not have to turn up in Court these days. If we afford this priviledge to ordinary prisoners, we would be discriminatory if we did not afford it to possible terrorists.

    How would that work then?

  • Comment number 44.

    My previous posting was fairly general, so I thought I'd add something about the 42 day argument itself rather than just the false motives behind it etc...

    The argument is "it's complex to find the evidence, so we need more time".

    The counter argument to that is a simple and obvious one:
    when the technology involved becomes more complex, 42 days will not be enough; it might end up taking 5 years to break an encryption key for example. Does that mean you should lock someone up for 5 years without charge?

    Basically, if you don't have enough evidence for charging someone and taking them to court, then it's also true to say that you don't have enough evidence to consider them as being a valid suspect in the first place. For example, if your only evidence is on a computer as an encrypted file that you can't open, then how did you know they were a suspect in the first place if you didn't see that file? Was it just that someone that they didn't like told you they thought the person was a bit dodgy? If so, then you have no right to lock them up for 1 day, let alone 42.

    All the arguments for 42 days are completely invalid/flawed and make no reasonable/logical sense.

  • Comment number 45.

    Mr Robinson (Ex chairman of Young Consvatives) why no blog (or comment)about the potential revolt within the Conservative Party due to Mr Camerons stance against the 42 days detention without charge? Some, notabily those who have earlier served in government, and know the score, have allready said (publically or in private a phrase typically used by Mr Roninson) they will vote with the government.

    A list of those against 42 days was provided in the blog so why no list of those in favour? It wouldn't be, would it, that as I have said, number of senior Conservatives backbenchers are in favour

    Nr Robinson must know that it only becomes a resigning matter (for not only the Prime Minister but for the whole of the Government) if a specific vote of no confidence is passed by the House of Commons. So if Mr Robinson and the Conservative Party consider it such an important principle why has Mr Cameron not tabled one. Until they do its just playing politics.

    What I fail to understand why people like Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti are quite happy for any old charge to be brought, the suspect held in jail for over twelve months, then for the case to be droped without a trial. This can be over year in custody deprivde of freedom not just 42 days.

    As for myself, I would change the law to that of Italy where, a judge can detain a suspect for up to four years without charge

  • Comment number 46.

    GaryElsby £):

    Gary, now now, you're at it again aren't you? Look, forget about whether it's new Labour V Conservative, just ask yourself which party is in power, yes I know, pretty obvious really - new labour. Now, join the dots: New Labour ... identity Cards ... longer detention ... the determination to implement US criteria for passport information on UK flights. What about those naughty councils, doing, well, you know what, with New Labour's peeping tom legislation? Oh, did I forget the stated desire to, what was it? let me think ... ah yes, collect records of our phone calls, emails etc. etc.

    Now, I know it's hard, but read it over and over till you've learnt it by rote, then take a long rest, freshen up, and have a cup of tea. It'll help you come to terms with it all.

  • Comment number 47.

    When one considers that immediately after the 2005 election Brown, along with Blair, "stressed the need to listen more carefully to an electorate", surely the fact that he is still having to stress that point three years on is proof that he hasn't been listening?

    And does he firmly believe that the main issue for most Britons is how long we can hold a terrorist? If so, I fear the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath is sorely mistaken, for the closest we in the South-West have come to terrorism is a Mr Nick Reilly, a man who succeeded only in injuring himself.

    Such an incident does not concern my colleagues nearly as much as the rising fuel and food prices, and the threat of strikes and protests over Government policies. Brown would do well to remember why Callaghan lost the 1979 Election - it was not over terrorism, despite the threat of the IRA. It was a combination of the economy and growing dissatisfaction with Labour due to the Winter of Discontent.

    A repeat of such a crisis thirty years on this winter could leave Labour out for as long as eighteen years again if Brown does not steady his ship. He needs to address the real issues that people are talking about, and he needs to do it quickly. If he has not turned it around within the next year than the chances are he never will.

    He won't resign, and no-one in the Labour Party has the credentials to make him resign - they're either notorious or too inexperienced. It appears he may go the same way as John Major - unable to be brought down by his party, but categorically snubbed by the voters. I look forward to him proving me wrong, for it will represent the biggest turnaround in fortunes since Thatcher's reputation before and after the Falklands. He needs to start by not obsessing on how long he can hold an extreme majority under arrest, and start obsessing on how he can placate an angry British public.

    As for Ed Balls' comment, "So what?" The man is about as effective in garnering support for Labour as "a cat flap in an elephant house." He will not be missed when he goes.

  • Comment number 48.

    Just to clarify, in the penultimate paragraph, I meant "minority", not "majority". Also, on the subject of terrorism, isn't the anger over Guantanamo Bay proof that holding people without trial for a long period of time is unpopular?

  • Comment number 49.

    Re post 41, you are right in what you say that if you try to cooperate but cannot identify the driver you will not commit an offence. But my point was that you should not have to cooperate at all in your own conviction, you should certainly not have to answer questions that can incriminate you. If you do decide to cooperate it should be your choice and it is for the police to prove the offence, not for you to prove it for them

    Currently if you rely on the view that you have the right to remain silent you will commit an offence of failing to notify the name and address of the driver of the vehicle and get the same punishment as if you were driving the vehicle at that time. I also agree if you are rich enough to afford a good solicitor you are ojkely to get off this offence

    Does seem surprising that this wide spread abuse is thought acceptable for motoring offences but there would be outrage if it was enforced for much more serious crime.

  • Comment number 50.

    I believe that Labour are finished in England as a governing force.

    In my lifetime, they have always, always, screwed up big-time in the end but of course, we the people end up paying for their mistakes and colossal wastage of taxpayer funds.

    The inherent contradictions in the NL project must now plain for all English people to see, especially when different policies are being applied across the so-called Union.

    It will be fascinating to see which political groups emerge from the primordial stew in England around 2010, once the Tories are, by default, back in power.

    I'm sure English people will not be satisfied with "Dave" and his shower wielding practically unbridled power in England and that alternatives will rapidly emerge.

    We English have been far too accommodating to these politicians and they have abused our trust.

    Now the whole political system must be recast in our English image.

    Nothing less will do.

  • Comment number 51.

    But...but..but..Dr. Gloom, I have joined all the dots and lunatics the world over bounce off the walls at a full moon because of Conservative flip-flopping and sheer hard faced duplicity.

    Ask any Tory to defend their invention of a European Union and no-one anywhere will cough up!

    Asylum, Immigration, Euro's, the whole shooting match. Not a sausage will be admitted to, or defended by a rabid anti Civil rights, anti Union, anti European Conservative Party.

    Today they stand shoulder to shoulder in the lobbies and can't wait to defend me from big bad Labour and a willingness to bang me up at a moments notice by 'Yates of the Yard and his SWAT team.


    At this rate, Dave and Gideon will be announcing the 'freedom of the City of London' to Arthur Scargill as a champion of Liberty in the face of criminal oppression.

    I'm not sold on this policy-less bunch of flip-flopping Punch and Judy's who won't even admit to their own real names.

    What exactly, is a Conservative actually doing within an arena of 'rights'?


    Give me an honest Labour rebel, anyday.

  • Comment number 52.

    Brown'll never resign - he'll have to be dragged kicking and screaming from Downing Street.

  • Comment number 53.

    By the way; welcome back, Nick!

    I'm guessing you won't get the same 84 day fully paid summer holiday that the MPs will get, so I hope you made the most of your recent time off!

    It looks like you'll have some pretty heavy stuff to get stuck into over the next week or 2.
    It's all blood-boiling stuff whichever side of the fence you're on; certainly makes for interesting reporting/politics.

    (wow; 84 days paid holiday, and that's only one of the holidays they get; what a job, eh?)

  • Comment number 54.

    So everyone with a real insight into the benefits of extended detention don’t want or fail to see any benefit, But the PM wants it. That’s this mans version of listening and leading for you.

  • Comment number 55.

    How on earth anyone can call Brown's stance on this courageous is beyond me. Brown is a craven coward hoping that this will appease the populous and improve his flagging fortunes. But all he's doing in caving into the terrorists. They seek to change our country and they succeed with measures such as this.
    If this is passed it will be a national disgrace.
    The best way to defeat terrorists is to show them that whatever they do, they can't change us. Let them bomb us, but don't kowtow down to them by introducing measures such as this. It's shameful, truly shameful.
    Welcome to the new Dark Age courtesy of the craven coward Brown.

  • Comment number 56.

    When you are in a train heading for the unfinished bridge you have two options -

    (1) Pull the breaks and pray that you stop in time
    (2) Keep stoking the boiler hoping that your momentum will be enough to get you to the other side.

    One will end up in a high fireball at the bottom of the revine and the other result in being able to walk away and start again.

    Gordon seems determined that he knows best and has ignored all the warnings and chances to stop the train and keeps on stoking the flames so the fire gets hotter and hotter heading ever more quickly to oblivion.

  • Comment number 57.

    Garyelsby 51:

    You're at it again, look, let's go through this again. I take it you are against the erosion of our rights? Yes or no? If yes then be honest, hold your hand up and be counted. Believe me, if it'd been the conservatives doing what new labour are doing and intend to do, I'd be equally opposed to it. Capiche? This is not about point scoring it is about bad legislation which is eroding my (and dare I say) your rights. Now if you can't see that, or you don't want to, then OK. I admire your desire to see your party do well, but believe me, suspending your critical faculties in order to do this is pretty dangerous, especially given what is at stake with this abysmal legislation. All bad legislation should be apposed and sometimes some types of legislation are just bad regardless of who tries to introduce it.

  • Comment number 58.

    He's drunk his last cup of rice wine.

    He's tied the Glasgow Rangers scarf around his head.

    He's sung the National Athem.

    He boards the 42 day detention bill and sets off at top speed to crash it into the House of Commons.

    Kamikaze Gordon goes down in flames as the least successful pilot of the New Labour flying machine.

    I'd be laughing but this is our country he's making a laughing stock of. Get rid of him.

  • Comment number 59.

    It is to be hoped all MPs vote on the six week maximum detention for suspect terrorists according to their own individual convictions. To make a political issue out of the voting could be described as irresponsible. Until we get a "fair" election system i.e. proportional representation (mentioned in her list of fair things by author Doris Lessing in her Nobel Prize acceptance speech at the Wallace collection) it would seem political squabbling and mud-slinging will continue to take centre stage and prevent proper debate about important issues... such as this one.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm not a lawyer, and it's clear from the postings so far that neither are the majority of my fellow posters. I would find it most enlightening if someone who does know what s/he is talking about could find the time to explain the powers already available to government under the Civil Contingencies Act. I have just read through that document and to my untutored eye it seems to provide much more sweeping powers including detention with no very apparent limit, and without the detailed judicial oversight contained in the so-called '42 day' proposals.

    I have long experience of misunderstanding primary legislation, and no doubt I have done it again. But it would be interesting to know how and why.

  • Comment number 61.

    I've been reading and participating in these blogs for a little while. Does anyone else agree that you get approximately 20 - 30 posts related to the topic before the usual suspects steamroller in to state the same set of opinions that they've already trotted out dozens of times elsewhere? Stand by for a selective history of UK politics over the last thirty years, plus a few personal spats and thinly veiled insults to nudge the whole thing over 200 posts. Happy reading...!

  • Comment number 62.

    What I fail to understand why people like Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti are quite happy for any old charge to be brought, the suspect held in jail for over twelve months, then for the case to be droped without a trial. This can be over year in custody deprivde of freedom not just 42 days.

    I wrote to my, then, Labour MP and commented on the Human Rights Act. A few weeks later Tony Blair redrew the understanding of guidelines to be properly in line with the act as I suggested, and Chakrabarti postured as if she'd never read the act or listened to what Tony Blair had actually said. She may be clever and concerned but that doesn't mean she's right. Given this, why is anyone paying any attention to the woman on this issue? She's not credible because she lets her ego get in the way of her reasoning.
  • Comment number 63.

    Of course Brown should resign. He lacks any legitimacy and has done since Blair announced that he would serve a full term and failed to do so. He continues with our failed expedition into Iraq and as for the economy! He should have called an election as soon as he took over as a result of the coup. I know we are being told to move-on but some of us never will. Brown is a disgrace to democracy and as an intelligent person he knows it. I finish by the standard quote 'you can fool some of the people some of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time'. The emporer has no clothes and in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. Only now we have regained our sight and we don't like what we see.

  • Comment number 64.

    Isn't it long overdue that the epithet "Honourable" be removed from the description of politicians, especially the "Right"s - you can leave the "Right" but remove the 'Honourable'.

  • Comment number 65.

    ntil we get a "fair" election system i.e. proportional representation (mentioned in her list of fair things by author Doris Lessing in her Nobel Prize acceptance speech at the Wallace collection)

    It won't change a thing. Like a lot of things in life, people reach for the next silver bullet but forget that you can't change the world. You can only change yourself. Until stakeholders develop a more enlightened view themselves the same old issues will keep cropping up regardless of the system.
  • Comment number 66.

    Welcome back Nick!
    Tell you what is of interest today -
    Contrary to all expectations and predictions by the media, UK exports are still on the rise, manufacturing on the rise, and the order books are healthy.
    Now why is this news nowhere to be seen on the BBC?
    Is this not good news Nick, especially when most of our competitors have problems with orders and their exports are down?
    One wonders why the BBC is very economical with news regarding the economy in other countries.
    The other news which has not been heard on the BBC, is that China and India are going to have to reduce their growth predictions by more then 50% for this year and the next, due to higher oil and food prices.
    There is more important stuff in our lives then Brown and the 42 day terrorists detention Nick. Have a nice day.

  • Comment number 67.

    Will somebody up there please help!

    Dr-Gloom: I don't know if you have realised it yet but almost the entire critical race of anti Labour Conservatives that infect the blogsphere have gained success due to a 24 hour digital news phenominon based upon inuendo and conjecture.

    You yourself, condemn Labour to the dustbin of Politics based upon a falsehood of policies that form no basis in law in the United Kingdom.

    You lose the football match 10 minutes before kick-off.

    Ok, so you've won a couple of Council seats and a By-Election.

    You won those on ID cards (what ID cards?), Gordon shoving petrol and food up (no he didn't) monitoring my phone calls and e-mails (no he isn't).

    And you do this day after day, night after night, 24 hours a day!

    Guess what? We are fighting back and guess what else?

    Losing General Elections and dumping Leaders is not on our agenda.

    You are attempting to make Non-Politics an acceptable form of Politics and it is nothing of the sort.

    Facts are facts and those facts should be dealt with as and when they crop up.

    Dr.-Gloom, you have yet to state a case for Conservatism and you should do the decent thing and yield to the superiority of Labour delivering Social Justice for the whole of this Country, with no exceptions.

  • Comment number 68.

    Sorry, whats this to do with "principle"?

    Nothing. Its all to do with Brown wanting to look strong, but unwilling to resign if Parliament goes against him.

    So call it principle rather than policy so he look as if he is taking the higher moral ground. Pretty pathetic really.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Does anyone else agree that you get approximately 20 - 30 posts related to the topic before the usual suspects steamroller in to state the same set of opinions that they've already trotted out dozens of times elsewhere?"

    Yes it all gets a bit boring; I keep hoping that they disappear onto the Cbeebies website but it never happens !! They really do believe that they have a unique insight into the world of politics. In reality they spend all their time looking in their very own "black hole".

  • Comment number 70.

    i must have been removed from making anyposts looking at the time displayed on the posts you have accepted to be moderated, thanks a lot BBC, ill remeber that when ull need my licence fees...

  • Comment number 71.

    colinefb asked "Does anyone else agree ".

    Yes, I do.

  • Comment number 72.

    Quote "You won those on ID cards (what ID cards?), Gordon shoving petrol and food up (no he didn't) monitoring my phone calls and e-mails (no he isn't)"


    Im no Tory Fan but i see no difference between the 2 parties, Nasty Tory, Nasty Labour, I ask you why did Gordon Brown Invite Marg Thatcher for Tea and biscuits?
    It wasnt to watch the latest Simpsons episode was it?

    Dont beat about the BUSH, they are both just as bad as each other, but im afriad this Labour Govt have stepped to far.

    Keep living inside that box Labour Supporters, because more and more of our people will live outside it!
    Where is Bin Laden, Where are the WMDS?

    Get real!

  • Comment number 73.

    Should Brown resign/ YES

    If only for his lack of sartorial elegance.

    Did anyone see him this morning at his press briefing. Tie knot half way down his shirt front. Looked really scruffy, even in his expensive suit.

    Add to this all the broken promises, U turns, on mandate other than having pushed Blair out and taken his place without an election, and total lack of credibility in the Country.

    20% Gordon Brown approval rating - lowest in histoty

    23% labour versus 47% conservatives poll rating

    Even if I was a Labour voter (which I'm not) I would see lots of reasons for him to go.

  • Comment number 74.

    42 days is probably the time is takes for the bruises and crack ribs to heal enough after interrogation ?

    That cynical viewpoint aside, I still don't understand how the NeoLabours can't go with a change to be allowed to questions suspects after charge. This is the party that removed a right to silence and no-retrial - one more removal of suspects rights shouldn't matter ?

  • Comment number 75.
    Man wearing a t-shirt with a transformer on it "a security risk"- prime candidate to be locked up for 6 weeks under these proposals.

  • Comment number 76.

    GaryElsby #67.

    Stay off the funny tobacco!

    "You won those on ID cards (what ID cards?)" - I may misunderstand but they ARE proposed and nobody wants them. Nobody wants GM and Labour keep trying to slip that in. The carbon shortfall and inevitable current price rises has been on the cards for 15 years and we seem to be caught flat footed. Monitoring emails - well actually I would be fairly unusual but I am not a criminal, spy or terrorist and mine are. I would have a hard time proving it.

    Nobody wants 42 days. Nobody believed the case for the Iraq war before or after. Food prices are related to population growth and again its been obvious that that growth is on an exponential curve for years. So where is the Great Leader when harder decisions have to be made? McCaffertys cat.

    You can't claim that when the times are good Brown is the Iron Chancellor and then as soon as they get bad take no responsibility. Our economy and the world economy are LINKED all the time!! Surprise.

    Losing elections is never on anyones agenda. But Labour might do well to remember the Major analysis - it might have been better if they had lost in 1992.

    But I don't see you having the choice. Your comments are out of touch with reality and reflects the arrogance of the two party system that is failing so badly. Once Scotland wins the 2010 referendum will the UK break up? If so will Labour be thanked?

    "Facts are facts and those facts should be dealt with as and when they crop up."

    I think what you are trying to say very badly is that when you spin we should all play nicely and obey the spin-meisters. Fortunately this McCarthyism with a smile, all of the nice guy image and extraordinary renditions on the sly, is not going to cut it for much longer.

    Will you lose the election - it will be a bloodbath!

  • Comment number 77.

    Now why is this news nowhere to be seen on the BBC? Is this not good news Nick, especially when most of our competitors have problems with orders and their exports are down? One wonders why the BBC is very economical with news regarding the economy in other countries.


    I don't know if you have realised it yet but almost the entire critical race of anti Labour Conservatives that infect the blogsphere have gained success due to a 24 hour digital news phenominon based upon inuendo and conjecture.

    There's little milage in taking on the BBC or getting sucked into arguments with other people. You'll only get a sore head and wear yourself down. Really, the best thing is just to make the best comment you can and stop worrying.

    Nobody remembers anything if you argue against something plus getting sucked into competitive games with other people just lowers the tone. This generates a mountain of negativity and will be the only thing people remember.

    If it's good enough for Gordon... *swoon*
  • Comment number 78.

    Brown may have Balls, but he remains a political eunuch: he will make a lot of sound and fury, but as ever it signifies nothing but hot air expelled from an empty vessel.

  • Comment number 79.

    Ed Balls is an incompetent, just like all the other overpromoted individuals that prosper in today's Labour Party.

    I oppose 42 day detention as it is nothing but political posturing so Gordon Brown can appear to be "tough on terror".

    A government's first duty is to protect the people. If Gordon Brown believes he requires 42 day detention to do that, and fails to convince his own MPs of the case; he should resign or call a general election (which would be tantamount to him resigning). Of course, if and when he does lose - he wont do either. After all he has never got a mandate from the public - outside his fife constituency - and never faced a challenge for Labour's leadership: he simply doesn't "do" elections.

  • Comment number 80.

    spirite_uk exactly..

    Our freedoms are going to be taken from us either party, i do not know the anser to our problems, but im sure it must be better than ANY Labour govt or Tory Govt. You should see how they view our politicans in America, they are nothing but puppies or poodles. This special "Interest" is nothing to do with our history is about money-making and authoritarianism. Which BOTH parties have been invovled in, look at Blair now, When was he the Faithful man of religion, Brown a man who submits too much, Thatcher who was truly authoritarian. But we still live in this BOX of control, and to be honest we Britsh have had enough!

  • Comment number 81.

    #76 thegangofone "Nobody believed the case for the Iraq war "

    Ever heard of Dr David Kelly? - he did, and persuaded members of his family to the view that the war was necessary. You can disagree, but don't go in for this gross hyperbole.

  • Comment number 82.


    What are you on about?
    So its not good to be negative?

    Thats our own human alarm bells ringing in our ears!, thats being HUMAN and thats what democracy is and should ALWAYS be about, im afriad it isnt right now is it?

    Stop clouding judgement, let us speak and be spoken, stop the drivel.

  • Comment number 83.

    "Does anyone else agree that you get approximately 20 - 30 posts related to the topic before the usual suspects steamroller in to state the same set of opinions that they've already trotted out dozens of times elsewhere?"

    Yes it all gets a bit boring; I keep hoping that they disappear onto the Cbeebies website but it never happens !! They really do believe that they have a unique insight into the world of politics. In reality they spend all their time looking in their very own "black hole".
    I feel most humble to be commenting amongst such superior intellects. CBeebies Ha ha! that was hilarious. I do however feel though Sir(s)/madam. that you should allow people with differing views than your own. It makes things more interesting.

    Not wishing to offend you further here is my relevant submission:

    I do not understand why they need 42 days but MPs should be allowed to vote for what they believe without political troublemakers using the vote of confidence card. This is a serious issue. Was that OK oh wise ones?

  • Comment number 84.

    One thing about these blogs that really gets up my nose is how people express their oponions as if they are facts and also as if the whole of the uk supports their opinions (usualy by the sound of them influenced very much by too much time spent with the Daily Mail).

    Could people at least have some humility to add "I think.." I believe.." In my opinion..."

    I believe if the Government was currently Conservative and had to govern rather than oppose they would be tableing the same legislation. Perhaps if passed they will have a manifesto pledge to repeal, we'll see.

  • Comment number 85.

    What are you on about?
    So its not good to be negative?

    The science around communication suggests it's better to make a positive message and avoid being sucked into negativity. That doesn't mean someone has to overstate their case or gladhand their way through life, just focus on and stay within the limits of what's useful. Indeed, this is consistent with Doaism, Buddhism, and other sound strategy. 6000+ years of wisdom battle tested in all conditions around the world suggest this is true so I'm generally confident about it.

    The sword is generally associated with killing, and most of us wonder how it can come into connection with Zen, which is a school of Buddhism that teaches the gospel of love and mercy. The fact is that the art of swordsmanship distinguishes between the sword that kills and the sword that gives life. The one that is used by a technician cannot go any further than killing, for he never appeals to the sword unless he intends to kill. The case is altogether different with the one who is compelled to lift the sword. For it is really not he but the sword itself that does the killing. He has no desire to do harm to anybody, but the enemy appears and makes himself a victim. It is as though the sword performs automatically its function of justice, which is the function of mercy. This is the kind of sword that Christ is said to have brought among us. It is not meant just for bringing the peace mawkishly cherished by sentimentalists... [This sword] is no more a weapon of self-defense or an instrument of killing, and the swordsman turns into an artist of the first grade, engaged in producing a work of genuine originality.

    -- D T Suzuki.

    This comment gets to the heart of choosing between ways that give rise to life versus ways that give rise to death. Words and emotions, or policies and marketing, are mere tools. Better ways, or correctness, or the moral are all equivalent, and help solve problems and bring people together. By clearing the mind of junk one may more easily understand the issues and develop consensus instead of building a mountain of funk that will bite us in the ass.

    The Prime Minister has identified a problem and is pressing a solution. If people aren't persuaded, nothing is lost. He merely drops the whole thing and bounds on to the next challenge instead of getting bogged down in egotistical wallowing. This is quite masterful and will leave the Tories greasy fingers slipping from the bumper of his political vehicle. Left with mere hate and envy the Tories will have nothing left to do but chew themselves up.
  • Comment number 86.

    And again you CLOUD Judgement dont you?

    What makes you so special, does the average joe public understand that? NO!

    What cloud do you live on?
    Dont you get it by now, people have had enough of lies, spin, WARS.

    Our nation is desolving, not for power, just for green and manipulation.

    the Japanese translation for is a school of Mahayana Buddhism notable for its emphasis on mindful acceptance of the present moment, spontaneous action, and letting go of self-conscious and judgmental thinking.

    You can LET go, ill keep my Negativity!

  • Comment number 87.

    Brown is not fighting for survival a good many Tories agree with him regarding the 42 days. Cameron is playing fast and loose with the safety of the people of this Country.
    If Brown has the security people asking for this, he has to pay attention to them, it is his beholden duty to listen to them as they are the people at the front line, or do bloggers on here know better than the security services or are they playing lip service to immature David Cameron?
    Somebody ought to remind him a PM’s first duty is to the safety of the people of this Country, lest he forget
    Not a question of what the ordinary voters wish it is what is right for our country, I doubt if any MP will vote out of self interest they will vote with their conscience.
    I doubt if Brown will be a lame duck if he looses, he will have given it his best shot and failed, and if anything untoward does happen he can always say "I told you so clever clogs”", whats the beef about that?
    And as for resigning because he was not elected by the people, how stupid can one get? Neither, was Major until he fought and won a GE. That is the norm in this Country not the exception, a party is elected not the PM,always has been and always will be.
    Brown does not need to be authoritarian, common sense will suffice and prevail .
    As for the Crew by election, I wonder what the Tories will think of their hero if Brown does win this 42 days saga and the fact that Cameron has played fast and loose with all of their safety, and not only of themselves but their children and their children’s children. After all the first and foremost duty of any PM is the safety of the people in this Country, do not forget that little matter. That means you and yours, are you all willing to risk your loved ones to appease Cameron?
    I aint that’s for sure.
    Food for thought!
    Calculated guess, Brown will win

  • Comment number 88.

    Charles E H wrote:
    "Personally, I consider this time the lowest point for Labour, and the Tories high water mark."

    After I picked myself up off the floor, I now truly believe that Charles is Ed Balls in disguise!

    Next, you will be telling us that Alex Salmond is unionist.

  • Comment number 89.

    Never appoint the Head of Accountany to the Chief Executive's job. A brilliant Treasurer he may have been, but Gordon Brown's shyness and gruffness will always hide his well meaning. He also made a mistake by not breaking with Blair and New Labour, who people were sick of long before current electoral troubles. In July last year he should have left Iraq (we are still there, spending millions but doing little) and scrapped ID cards (more millions). It is difficult doing this stuff now because he has been there a year and this just gets the U-turn label (incidentally, there is nothing wrong with a Uturn, it shows politicians listen). A new PM could do this kind of thing.

    We elect governments not Prime Ministers. Besides Jim Callaghan in 1976, the Tories changed PMs in 1990, 1963 and 1957; each time without a genral election.

    Its ironic that (once again) a Labour government could be kicked out for not being left wing enough over issues like ID, Iraq, the market in public services etc) and replaced with the kind of misery we went through in the 80s.

  • Comment number 90.

    Have you changed your policy about displaying posts, but marking as them "awaiting moderation"?

    Is there now some "pre-moderation" check before comments are allowed to get through?

    My original comments were, roughly, these.

    If having a discretionary extension of detention from 28 to 42 days is a matter of principle, then what has changed?

    Not so long ago, Labour requested a period of 90 days. So have principles shrunk by 50% since then, or has there been a 50% increase in the government's desire to control people?

    What exactly has changed?

    Brown said that there are 30 plots. If they are known, I guess the people involved have been picked up, so they are no longer active.

    I am absolutely on the side of those who wish to protect people and property against extremism (from whatever source). If there is a strong case to be made for extending detention, then tell us.

    Remember, Sir Ian Blair who is supposed to represent the police in the UK, is a major advocate of proposed changes. This is the same Sir Ian who went before a Commons Committee and said that the security services had foiled "about a dozen" plots. Later he stated that it was actually six plots.

    So either he was misleading the Commons or hadn't taken the trouble to find out the real facts from his staff. Either way it hardly shows a man with a grip on a vital aspect of his responsibilities.

    So who can we trust?

    If it is truly necessary to extend detention, what happens on day 42, when the Met is waiting for "new evidence" that is expected (e.g. from Pakistan) within the next two days?

    There is always a worry that "work expands to occupy the available time". That is certainly not intended as disparaging to the security forces.

    Brown supported and was pay-master general to the Iraq and Afghanistan forrays. They offered a great excuse for radicals to react against UK aggression.

    For a decade, we've had a gradual growth of "home-made" dissidents. But plenty of incomers who should simply have been chucked out of the country for preaching extreme radicalism. A breech of their human rights? If you encourage terrorist activities, I see no reason to treat you as just another person with an opinion...

    But the real problem is that this government seems to believe that just passing laws will make things better. Does the proposed bill add funding for more security staff? If not, where will they be found?

    This government is creating a new QANGO (remember Brown's intent to have a bonfire of the QANGOs?) to have 11million citizens vetted and added to a new database if they have contact with children. And the individuals will have to pay £60+ for the privilege.

    ID cards are still on the horizon, although the current legislation does not require people to actually carry a card. But, with or without a card, I don't see how it will stop a suicide bomber creating havoc. Can anyone explain?

    If passing legislation were a panacea, I can suggest one. Brown should have a law that says "All British companies will produce 50% more goods and services, a half of which will be sold overseas". That would solve our catastrophic Balance of Trade deficit and offer more opportunities for taxes.

    Would it work. Of course not. And even if it did, the tax income would be frittered away.

    Get policemen back into the areas we need them? Change the surveillance laws, to allow covert information to be legally included in trials? Maybe there should be some changes there...

    BUT stop the creep of general surveillance on citizens by any amount of government and local council staff.

    Make it more possible for people to feel at ease with police and security services who are on OUR side - not directed by a bunch of ministerial twitchers.

  • Comment number 91.

    Chuck Chuck Chuck @85, Methinks you'd better lay off this zen nonsense - it has stopped being funny (it was never profound) and it has degenerated into sub kung-fu territory: i.e. total [Ed] Balls.

    As just one example of how wrong-headed can you get: You say "The Prime Minister has identified a problem and is pressing a solution. If people aren't persuaded, nothing is lost. He merely drops the whole thing and bounds on to the next challenge instead of getting bogged down in egotistical wallowing." when it precisely the opposite of Brown's actual behaviour.

    Brown has known for many, many months about the deep, principled opposition across all parties to the unnecessary '42 days detention without charge' - and what does he do? Does he behave like a good 'Grasshopper' and "drop[s] the whole thing..."? No. He digs his heels in like the stubborn, blinkered and damaged individual that he is and ploughs on towards the cliff-edge regardless. Hopefully, he'll drag all his awful government with him as he plunges.

  • Comment number 92.

    Hi Nick hope you enjoyed your break? I did.
    #87: Kiwilegs
    If Brown has the security people asking for this, he has to pay attention to them, it is his beholden duty to listen to them as they are the people at the front line, or do bloggers on here know better than the security services or are they playing lip service to immature David Cameron?

    Perhaps you should look at the header of this blog:

    • that the director of public prosecutions, the former attorney general and former justice secretary did not support the need for change

    • that MI5 would not back his arguments either privately or publicly - the spooks have let it be known that they are "neutral" on the issue

    • and that many of his own ministers - not least the man he brought into government to deal with terrorism, Lord West - had had real doubts about whether this was the right priority.

    Mr Bean has signalled that it is business as usual and that he is not listening - he knows best!

  • Comment number 93.


    You continue to provide a fantastic forum for like minded people to let off steam and vent their political frustrations - long may this continue - without it being unduly moderated.

    No I don't agree with colinetb - whilst specific views on the 42 day issue has in fact provoked a healthy exchange of comments - clearly many like myself will see the issue in a much broader context of a failing leader who is remote, unwanted and lacking the essential personal qualities for steering this country into calmer waters.

    The very thought that he will likely continue in office until the next General Election is good reason to feel dejected !

  • Comment number 94.

    89#I take a point that you make and I would dispute it. You say that quote" we are doing little in Iraq". I ask you, what do you wish Brown to do, cut and run and renegue on the commitment we have already made to the USA? That's not on. I cannot agree with that. We cannot do a U-turn there are too many allied lives at risk and believe me, I hated the Iraq war and unlike a good many I said so at the time, loud and clear. I was called a nut case by Tories that had more in common with Tony Benn than reality.


    Next 90#
    It was Blair who requested 90 days not Brown and he lost the vote for the very first time ever since he had became PM.
    I do not think principles have shrunk, I think people are taking a reality check and really listening to the security services. They must it is too dangerous out there to ignored.
    ID cards are a white elephant at this stage, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
    Excuse mefor reminding you, Brown has provided the money for the Police Force, it is then up to the Chief Constables to deploy Labour as they see fit, not for Brown to tell them how and where to do so ,as far as I am aware he does not. Perhaps you know otherwise?
    Without surveillance how do you suppose quite a few bombers were found so swiftly and even practically carrying out the evil deeds?
    Also how many murderers have been brought to book recently using the same method of surveillance?
    I for one feel safer knowing that these cameras can and do protect me and mine.
    And last but not least children should be protected at any price, they are our future just to name one positive thing.
    Perhaps you think different.

  • Comment number 95.

    92# I will use common sense thank you very much. I can make my own mind up, with or without a header.
    I will leave the comedy and childish name calling to you.

  • Comment number 96.

    This issue of 42 days, while being yet another example of this government's Orwellian tendencies, is difficult to imagine making much practical difference to most voters' minds (who just won't think of themselves as the sorts of people who'd end up being detained at all). But it does fit with other Orwellian policies of this government, such as the stuff about monitoring and logging everyone's internet use.

    Stuff like that is even more likely to put people off this government (and it does), and yet Brown's focussing on this 42 days stuff instead. Perhaps it's because this is something that plenty of Labour MPs are prepared to rebel over? Labour as a party would be a lot more credible if they showed the same concern that some of these rebels show when it comes to other incursions into our civil liberties.

    The government seems to keep making the mistake of thinking that each Orwellian policy will only adversely affect a tiny minority, and that they therefore won't lose much public support as a result. But us voters just keep joining the dots, and we can see the picture that's emerging. That's why we increasingly describe this government and its policies as Orwellian.

    We simply do not want to live in the sort of police state that the government is already building.

  • Comment number 97.

    Labour cannot go to a General Election because their party finances are near bankruptcy. Nothing will be a resigning matter until they can pay off their creditors.

  • Comment number 98.

    The former attorney general did not even say at the time that he did not support the 90 days so where are you coming from?
    As for Lord West, allow me to remind you, he had only just come into his job, he was in no position to dispute Brown's reasons, the same applies to most of his backbenchers.
    So take a reality check as neither West nor the backbenchers would be privy to that sort of security information.
    Last but not least come back when you address the PM by name and not by these stupid silly nicknames, given to him by an also ran, who will never achieve high office.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ 50. John, I feel that you are completely correct.

    What I see happening is as follows. That labour party continue lying about listening and do not change, do not do anything that the majority of the electorate actually are demanding (lower fuel taxes, EU referendum). They will lose the election by a massive margin to the Tories and rightly so in my humble opinion.

    I hope that labour get totally slaughtered down to about 90 MPs. Then the tories will be in by a landslide.

    I hope that labour are destroyed as a political force for their treachery in breaking up this once great nation and giving it away in peices to unelected oligarchs.

    The problem for the tories is, will they actually have any power at all to make a difference when they are in power? IF the Lisbon Treaty is eventually ratified (please save us Ireland, please) How exactly would the tories have any power to change things?

    I predict the English population becoming massively disenfranchised and then taking the only course of action left to a nation seeking self determination; revolt!

    I am not talking flaming torches and pitch-forks, but a democratic revolution. I can see the English waking up over the next 7 years and then voting, UKIP or BNP or any party that pledges to withdraw us from the EU. Labour will be finished for a generation. Even IF they became an anti EU party, nobody will believe them.

    There are already enough people put off by "politics as usual" to defeat all the mainstream parties. If these people agreed to unite on one day of protest, just once and vote for an anti EU party, then that party would win by a landslide.

  • Comment number 100.

    #97: Mad_Mad_Max
    Labour leaders have been told they will need to find £40 million over the next two years in order to keep the party from bankruptcy, continue to pay staff and fight the next election.
    The figure has been produced during the auditing of the party’s accounts, which have to be signed off next month and also delivered to the Electoral Commission by June 30. It includes £21 million outstanding loans, the day-to-day running costs and the cost of mounting an election if no legislation on spending caps is in place by the time it is called.

    Embattled Labour Party leader Gordon Brown today invited members to underwrite the Party's debts according to their means and pledged a major overhaul to re-establish a mass-membership organisation reaching out to every community in Britain to promote Labour values.

    Every member of the NEC now faces the prospect of personal bankruptcy if Labour goes to the wall. These include the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman, Employment Minister Pat McFadden and Treasury Minister Angela Eagle.

    So much for economic know how!


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