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Premier performance?

Nick Robinson | 09:43 UK time, Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Shares in Smith soared last night. As Labour MP's and peers poured out of the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting all were agreed that Jacqui the home secretary had put in the performance of her life. Some went further and claimed that this was the best ministerial performance in the past year or two.

Jacqui SmithEven those Labour MPs, who still refuse to vote for 42 days - and there are still quite a few - know that the home secretary was not the one to come up with the idea. Instead she was handed this poisoned chalice by Gordon Brown.

Last night in the lobby, some even dared think whether our Jacqui might be the next leader that Labour is looking for. Who better, goes the theory, than a straight-talking Midlands mum, an Aston Villa season ticket holder, who still holidays in a caravan in North Wales to take on the Tory toff Cameron.

Labour's electoral system tends to favour women. Look at Harriet Harman's surprisingly good performance in the deputy leader contest. Now, of course, as Labour ministers keep telling me there are now no vacancies but expect the name of Smith to join those of Millibands and Purnell, Straw and Johnson in the list of candidates to succeed Gordon after he stands down or maybe after he's pushed.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Perhaps the Home Secretary does have hidden talents - I believe she was the government's chief whip before taking over at the Home Office! However, this is still the individual that refused to give the police (in England and Wales, and British Transport Police everywhere) the settlement - that had been agreed through arbitration.

    The list at the end there, potential sucessors, is completely lacking in political ability. In Scotland, any of the above taking over would cause Labour's vote to shrink even more dramatically - especially if Wendy Alexander were still in charge of Labour at Holyrood. I dont say that because I value or rate Brown in any way, he is clearly just as incompetent as those listed. What Labour has to ask itself is (GB-wide) would the damage inflicted on the party by a challenge be worth it: or is it better to simply accept defeat in 2010 (on the basis it would be better to lose then, than spend a decade or more in the political wildernesss).

  • Comment number 2.

    Ann Widdecombe will back Government on 42 days
    The former Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe has confirmed that she's likely to vote with the Government on 42 days pre-trial detention:

    "My reasoning is very simple indeed: it's that if we have a state of emergency then the government should be able to ask parliament for emergency powers, as we did for example over Northern Ireland … providing that the legislation does not remain on the statute books indefinitely until somebody gets around to repealing it."
    Anne Widdecombe is a prime and shining example of one Conservative at least, with a cartload of common sense, such a shame she is standing down at the next GE. Conservative of her qualities are becoming fewer and further between.
    I hope others will follow her sensible example.
    Far better to err on the side of caution than be caught wanting, the cost in lives could be far too high a price to pay if the worst were ever to happen.
    People with a modicum of common sense take out insurance to protect against any unforseen circumstances and would be disaster, So should HMG.
    Terrorism is a real and ongoing threat in this country, all the security services agree with that and we ignore it at our peril.

  • Comment number 3.

    If this woman was chosen to succeed Brown the labour party would be going from bad to worse.

    I despair for my children's future, these incompetents are running this country into the ground whilst we work our guts out to just keep above water.

    I am Joe normal EX labour voter, I am very angry seeing my hard earned taxes being squandered at every turn.

  • Comment number 4.

    Some people haven't properly understood the specific threat the new law was tailored to address or the safeguards that have been built into it. They allowed habitual and reactive gesture politics and playing to the gallery to get in the way but as the moment of reckoning arrives playing at being politicians is giving way to something more serious. How much of that is down to Jacqui Smith or backbench MP's is so much fluff. The deal is isn't perfect but good enough, and life moves on.

    Meanwhile, the media ego is obsessing leadership issues. The Prime Minister had his brush with death but has the same pixie dust quality about him like Steve Jobs. Taken within a fraction of a percentage of oblivion he's bouncing back like a superstar. A lesser man would've been broken or knocked to his knees but Gordon Brown's ability to spot opportunity and persevere is typical of an archetypal character like himself. Some people call this luck. Others call it genius.

    As the Prime Minister's horizons broaden, I'd like to see him take on the big corporations who are fighting to block the single biggest piece of corporate governance legislation the European Union has ever considered. In Rome, the Pope is working on his most significant keynote to date that helps challenge their immorality. It is notable the Ieyasu Tokugawa, who the Prime Minister reminds me of, challenged their authority and laid the foundation of a 300 year renaissance.

    All Hail Blessed Leader! (Normal service is now restored.)

  • Comment number 5.

    @Kiwilegs, that is nonsense, sorry but we didn't need all these powers when we had the IRA running bombing campaigns and we don't need them now.

    All these new laws are doing is curtailing our rights as citizens, if you cannot see that then you are blind.

  • Comment number 6.

    The 42 days detention proposal is nothing to do with terrorism, it's about macho politics dreamed up by Gordon Brown in an attempt to hide his cowardice in not opposing Blair over Iraq. Between them, these two pathetic politicians, those in other parties and those in the media who either supported or did not speak out strongly enough against the illegal invasion have stained the name of Britain and the Labour Party for ever.

    The few decent Labour MPs that are left should treat these proposals with contempt and not give in to the career politicians in the party who do not have the guts or the integrity to do what is right and stop trying to defend the indefensible as they did when supporting Blair the deluded con man.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure Jacqui Smith has the experience to be leader- although maybe she has the charisma. Milliband looks like he has Gordon Brown’s inability to connect with the public. Purnell – is he known well enough by the public at large to be considered? Gordon could maybe avoid the seemingly inevitable train wreck if he threw open the opportunity to become Labour leader and fuel an Obama / Clinton Style fight between himself other contenders over a period of 3 months, with the expectation that the winner will then be required to go to the country for a General election within say 4 months on winning the Labour leadership. Off the back of 3 months of positive campaigning maybe Labour could avoid what is seemingly almost certain defeat and it gives Gordon a fighting chance of securing a real mandate.

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree with tomireland. We lived through all the IRA campaign without 42 days. the extension could make the security services lax in their approach to collecting evidence. We all know how a countdown timer focuses the mind.

  • Comment number 9.


    If Jacqui Smith can rise to the top of the pecking order on that basis that on one occasion she spoke well and skilfully, trying to defend a piece of bad legislation to a group of worried MPs, then there really IS a shortage of talent in New Labour...

    And she still did not explain coherently on the Today Programme why a further erosion of the rule of law is needed in the form of a power for 42 day detention or why emergency legislation at the time or an amendment to the Civil Contingencies Act now would not address any potential threat.

    So if this is "the best ministerial performance in the past year or two" we are in serious trouble.

    I think she is still part of the problem, not part of the solution. I retiterate, Nick, that this is party politics of the worst sort designed to make GB looks strong where he is weak.

  • Comment number 10.

    She might be a potential leader, but only in Opposition.

    I can understand (but don't agree) the reasons for 42 days. But I am more concerned about how the law would be abused by some councils, which has been seen in similar circumstances recently.

    But 42 days is not required. The Home Secretary has at her disposal a whole raft of emergency powers which can be used if circumstances dictate.

    That is a more sensible approach.

  • Comment number 11.

    Problem with that theory Nick is that her seat in Redditch is looking very vulnerable. The conservatives will do well in the Midlands and the doughnut strategy could see a lot of the Birmingham sattelite seats falling to the Tories.

    Her majority at the last election was a mere 3000 votes. As the highest placed woman in cabinet come the election she will be forced to go campaigning all over which would leave her seat open to challenge.

  • Comment number 12.

    The woman that lost the personal financial records of 25 million people? The woman theat Presides over illegal immigration whilst illegal immigrants are working in her department? Oh yeah, that's a safe pair of hands.

    Please labour, please do give her the job. Then labour will be utterly and totally destroyed at the next election.

  • Comment number 13.

    I asked in response to your previous comment for a lawyer to explain the difference between the proposed legislation and the Civil Contingencies Act (and its predecessors) which seem to me to provide for the possibility of longer (indeterminate??) detention in emergency situations, but without the same level of judicial protection. If that is correct, I fail to understand the level of supposedly principled opposition to the more tightly-drawn 42 day proposal. There was one response, but not at the level of authority I was looking for. Surely this is what the BBC is supposed to do - inform and explain? Instead we get gossip and supposition at the Coronation Street level, and that is not good enough in my opinion.

    I think that this issue has illustrated very well a major problem with our political system, in that whoever is in power the opposition feels it necessary to denounce almost every government action on principle. This is not a party political point - both sides are guilty - but taking the present issue as an example, does anyone believe that a Cameron governmment would revert to 7 day detention? or 14 days?

    As for possible future PM's, I can see three credible candidates on the government benches (Milliband, Smith, and Johnson), but none on the opposition side with the possible (but not probable)exception of Cameron. Can anyone suggest anyone else?

  • Comment number 14.

    Why would it matter who is leader of labour.
    The party has never looked like listening to anything from, what was, their voters.
    Labour lied, taxed, regulated, went health and safety mad, banned, helped everyone but the wage earning people of the country.
    What part of this would make them a party worth voteing for.
    Will pubs, working mens clubs, small business owners or their patrons want to see labour go on to even greater restrictions.
    The biggest problem now is
    Who else to vote for

  • Comment number 15.

    I am in good company as there is not a fag paper between my opinion and that of Anne Widdecombe. We learned a lot out of Ireland , that was then, this is the here and now
    This is the fast moving times of the Computer, the Mobile Phone etc.
    I will move forward and leave Luddite thinking to those who feel at ease with it.
    I live for now ,this day and age, technology has moved on vastly. At a tremendous rate since the IRA troubles. So has my thinking.
    Please stay safe in your comfort zone of the past.
    I will live my life in this dangerous day and age and hope people are sensible enough to take precations to safeguard me and mine.
    We will agree to differ.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    @number 11, you are correct that the civil contingencies bill provides for all of the measures that this new 42 day legislation covers and more besides, but it can only be enacted in an officially declared state of emergency. I think that the Government want to allow this 42 day measurement into law, with all the civil liberties safeguards, and then later on, table amendments in committees or in other bills that will, piece by piece, remove all the safeguards so that this 42 day legislation can be adopted to cover more and more "potential" crime. Eventually perhaps visiting the wrong website may create a reason for detention without charge.

  • Comment number 18.


    I realise that this is the key issue that's doing the rounds at the moment - fair enough.

    However, what about everything else that's (supposed) to be going on?

    I would echo a comment on yesterday's post about the utter disgrace that has people dying from cancer because New Labour doesn't want a "two tier" NHS.

    IMO, this was the moment when this Administration categorically lost its "Licence to Operate" - as they say in business.

    It makes me absolutely spitting with anger.

    This Administration is most definitely now the Problem, and never again (if it ever was) the Solution.

    For the record, this 42 mularkey is just plain wrong.

  • Comment number 19.

    Nick, I always read your blog but have never felt the need to comment, even had to join up to do so today! It would be a disaster for Smith to progress any further, with the standing of politicians at an all time low she refuses to uphold a recommendation on police pay made by an independent body. She would also need to be parachuted into another constituency because her majority in Redditch is wafer thin.

  • Comment number 20.

    Kiwilegs, why have the Government not banned bee-keeping? Statistically you are more likely to be killed by a bee sting than by a terrorist.

    You may decide to give in to fear and live as a coward and choose to restrict your liberties any way you wish, but I am NOT afraid, and I will never ever live in fear, because fear is the state that the powers that be need us to live in to give in to their plans to control everyone.

    I am not giving in to the terrorists (of the laughable calibre that cannot even get a small car fire going properly), nor shall I give in to Government tyranny. Even if it is implemented in tiny steps.

  • Comment number 21.

    #13, if Cameron is to win at the next GE I think he needs to rework his front bench (specifically to move George Osborne into a much more low profile position).

    For Labour, my opinion is that they thought the transition to Brown would be enough to present the image of a "re-born" party (thus bypassing the usual problems associated with multi-term governments). So far this has failed spectacularly and it looks like they need a plan B, fast. I'm sure that no one at party HQ is saying that a term in opposition would be good for the party in the long term (at least not out loud), so maybe they need to find an alternative? However, having said that, if Cameron cannot create an electable package and if Boris makes a mess of London during the next 18 months then maybe Labour would limp over the line anyway? Just my thoughts.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Jaqui smith may have shown promise as a future leader but surely she hasn't had enough experience at the top level. No one had heard of her before last July.

    I suggest that this article is a bit of trouble making. Trying to show a split and desperately cling on to the idea of a leadership contest.

  • Comment number 25.

    Furthermore, Charles, Japan under the 250-year rule of the Tokugawas was a period of repression, isolation and stagnation -- not a renaissance! Why else do you think exploited farmers continued to revolt throughout those centuries, even though they knew they faced certain death for doing so? Why else do you think peasants and samurai alike fought so readily to topple Tokugawa's regime in the mid-19th century?

  • Comment number 26.

    She seems more likeable than Brown, but as was said earlier her constituency is marginal and on the current polls she'll be toast at the GE. But if she were to end up as PM she might come through OK as leaders tend to get a boost in their contituency vote. I can't see Labour ditching Brown though. Having 2 unelected PM's in 1 parliament would be tantamount to sticking 2 fingers up at the electorate, and if they don't drop Brown before the summer recess then the new leader wouldn't have enough time to establish themselves before the GE. The fact Labour MP's are so excited after her PLP performance is more a reflection of how low their morale is that anyone who gives a good account of themselves is suddenly seen as the Messiah.

  • Comment number 27.

    4. At 10:46 am on 03 Jun 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote:

    "Some people haven't properly understood the specific threat the new law was tailored to address or the safeguards that have been built into it."

    Utter piffle! People disagree that the threat even exists. There are no terrorists who have been released to attack the public because the police ran out of time to investigate. It simply has not happened.

    I'm seriously starting to question whether or not you've been paid to post here. Either that or I want some of whatever drug you're on because you sure aren't looking at the same world I am.

  • Comment number 28.

    There can be no reason that the UK requires greater powers of detention than other western democracies. It's really about Brown trying to look tough and saving face. Yet Jaqui Smith on Radio 4's Today programme (3rd June) implausibly implores us as she giggles: "Trust me, as a minister, as a Home Secretary"

    This would be from the same government that told us that Sadam could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. The same government that told us the EU constitution was just "a tidying up exercise". The same government that pretends the Lisbon Treaty is completely different to the earlier constitution. The same government that allows anti-terror legislation to be used to evict an OAP from their conference for heckling. The same government that has empowered local councils to snoop on law abiding citizens.

    Who are they trying to kid? This government has lost all credibility.

    When Brown was Chancellor, he used to pretend he was 'prudent'. Now the government is borrowing billions, plunging us ever deeper into debt to cover up the mess left by his bungling incompetence.

    Frankly, if Gordon Brown promised "fine weather", I would build an ark.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think you need to go and have a lie down in a darkened room Nick.Ms Smith is truly inept which is saying something for this government of incompetent imbeciles.

  • Comment number 30.

    22# think you have said enough, if you do not agree with people, that is your right. What definately is not your right is to accuse people of being on anything, even as a metaphor.
    I take exception to the remark which was totally uncalled for. My opinion is of equal value to yours or do you have extra voting rights?
    As for what Anne Widdecombe said, I not only read it in full I also said there was not a fag paper to chose between the two of our opinions. They happen to be one and the same.
    We do not yet know and will not know until Jacqui Smith gets onto her feet just exactly what the Govenment is promising.
    Labour rebels have also passed the same remark, they seem not at ease with it. So hold your thunder and do not jump to conclusions until you know exactly what the Home Secretary has in mind.
    In the meantime the only thing I have ever been on is Tea and an occasionally a coffee.

  • Comment number 31.

    4 CEH:


    Did I bump into you last night on one of my regular out of body experiences? I'm sure it was you. I was floating above the city trying a bit of remote viewing (you know that stuff the CIA were into) and bang, I'm sure I bumped into you. You certainly looked relaxed, legs crossed, eyes closed, chanting away. What was it you were chanting? Oh yeah, 'I am the great zen protector of Gordon the great.' It got a bit wearing after a while, on and on you went, but I see that you've returned from your flight and you're still chanting it.

  • Comment number 32.

    Me thinks Dr Brown is under estimated

    Who put the Mac in MacHiavelli?

  • Comment number 33.

    Sort of ironic that the one measure Brown took to try and look tough, he's ended up making himself weaker. As much as I would hate to see Labour's collapse lead to another Tory government, I believe this is a measure that needs to be defeated at all costs.

    Simply put, the government have put forward no argument or any evidence to say that the time without charge needs increasing. If they could produce any evidence to back up their claims about it actually being needed there might be a case but only 3 times have suspects been held more then 14 days and all 3 were found innocent and the police chiefs actually said that they were comfortablely in the time limit. Never during the IRA terror campaign were these measures needed and that was a far more severe threat then we face now. If you want to defeat terrorism it helps if you don’t do their job for them. The main aim of terrorism is to cause terror, and curtailing Civil Liberties just does their job for them. People forget that the terrorists we are facing are fascists themselves, anyone remember the radical Islamic protestors demanding an end to free speech?

    Another argument the government have failed to address is the isolation of the Islamic community. If we really want to defeat terrorism then just locking up individual terrorists is not the answer, we need to cut the stem of terrorism not pull off the petals. We should reach out to the Islamic communities, not isolate them, as this measure will do. An innocent Muslim being released after 42 days would just divide the Islamic community and that is where radicalism thrives. I’m sure terrorists are dreaming of the propaganda they could generate from this eventuality. If you want more young Muslims to become terrorists, support this measure because that is exactly what it will do. Not so long ago the same government was saying that we need Muslims to help the police if we are to defeat terrorism, and for once they were right, but they’ve now contradicted themselves in true New Labour style by attempting to make the Islamic community not trust the police. How can we expect Muslims to trust the police when innocent Muslims are being taken from their families without explanation and undergone over a month of intensive interrogation? Isn’t it funny that we only learn that person X was a terrorist after they’ve been arrested? Read the papers, only after the person has been stopped do we hear that he watched videos of 9/11 or talked about killing innocents, if the Islamic community trusted the police enough to reveal this to them before the arrest then we would see a very swift end to terrorism. This measure, however, goes the other way and will just lead to fear and Islamophobia. Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither and lose both.

    As for the Labour leadership challenge, I was hoping to see Alan Johnson be a major contender, he seems to be the most competent of the Cabinet although that fiasco with the NHS might stop his popularity. I bet Labour are kicking themselves that they couldn’t hold on to Vince Cable, the best MP this country currently has.

  • Comment number 34.

    #21 colinefb - I agree, especially about Osborne. The problem for Cameron is that I just don't see who he can bring in to strengthen his existing team, which seems to me to be woefully weak. No doubt somebody will put my mind at rest and point to the hidden talent on the opposition benches.

  • Comment number 35.


    In case anyone still doesn't think the authorities are abusing current powers, in today's news:

    1. A man was not allowed on an aeroplane because he was wearing a t-shirt showing a cartoon character

    2. Three people were arrested at Heathrow bus station for wearing t-shirts objecting to a third runway

    We certainly need 42 day detention for dangerous subversives like these!

  • Comment number 36.

    Oh come on Nick!
    The majority of the British population are in favour of 42 days and even more.
    The majority of the British have nothing to be afraid of and nothing to shame them when confronted by terror police.
    If this does not go through and something happens to anyone in a terror attack because the police would not have sufficient time to investigate further (to avoid terrorists disasters), one should then challenge the Tory Leader in court and blame him for all that happens.
    Is this not the way forward Nick?
    Is that not the direction we're moving in modern days? The Government (which ever party in Government) is blamed for everything, but then again, this would be the opposition's fault.
    Where were these so called Liberty and freedom of speech Campaigners when Britain used to gag all opposition in other countries that wanted independence from the British rule?
    Let us all hope that even if this 42 days detention only stops one idiotic maniac in his/her tracks for as long as we live, it would still be worth while the effort and money, because the victim could have well and truly be ourselves, or our loved ones.
    Have a nice day Nick.

  • Comment number 37.

    1 - If she wants to be leader she needs to look for a new safe seat (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath perhaps?).

    2 - Why is the official government position to make out that anyone who doesn't agree that it's a wonderful idea to let them have the right to lock up anyone they fancy for 42 days is a bit thick and soft in the 'war on terror'? Personally I'd prefer not to let this bunch of dimwits (or any governmnet for that matter) have such powers.

    3 - Why 42 days? Why not 30, or 50? There's no rhyme or reason, except they think they can get this figure through. If they do, no doubt they will come back in a year and say we need 60 days!

  • Comment number 38.

    The best I can say for Jacqui Smith is that she comes across as a normal human being, unlike Mr Brown, but she hasn't shown any competence as Home Secretary yet and so it is ridiculous to start pushing her for PM on the basis of one private speech.

  • Comment number 39.

    There are no meaningful safeguards built in to the legislation ... imagine how any government of the day would react (party politically) if the opposition were even to question the need to hold any number of individuals for the total 42 days. Someone claimed opponents of the bill are only playing at making political gestures: the whole bill itself is nothing but a political gesture! "I am tougher than him on terrorism".

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with DavidGinsberg @11 - Redditch is now a prime Tory target.

    We_are_not_at_war @22 and @25 - Thanks for puncturing Chuck E Hogwash's pompous profoundities.

  • Comment number 42.

    "The majority of the British have nothing to be afraid of and nothing to shame them when confronted by terror police."

    Tell that to what's left of Jean-Charles de Menezes.

  • Comment number 43.

    Jacqui Smith for Prime Minister? Noooo!!!! That would just about finish off Labour.

    On the 42 days issue she's ignoring what nearly everyone in the country wants.

    She commissioned a report from the Drugs Advisory Council on the classification of cannabis, and then ignored what they said. She had obviously made up her mind already, but she wanted to be able to say "I have no personal views on this matter, I am simply following the scientific advice." So she spent public money to try to hide her political views. She is the worst sort of devious politician.

  • Comment number 44.

    Furthermore, Charles, Japan under the 250-year rule of the Tokugawas was a period of repression, isolation and stagnation -- not a renaissance!

    Ieyasu Tokugawa brought in the rule of law, stamped out banditary. This compares well with Britain's Henry II. This created a growth of trade and culture in Japan that is at least equal to the renaissance Europe experienced.

    Some people think the closing of Japan was understandable and quite savvy considering the external threats during its time but when the time came for another change Japan made the choice with equal decisiveness.

    As Britain needs more discipline and sociability, so Japan is changing today and becoming more creative and open. Both government's have learned from each other and the general picture if this unfolds well looks quite reasonable.

    This is the fast moving times of the Computer, the Mobile Phone etc. I will move forward and leave Luddite thinking to those who feel at ease with it. I live for now ,this day and age, technology has moved on vastly. At a tremendous rate since the IRA troubles. So has my thinking.

    The emerging threats are quite sizable in terms of weaponry, communications, and zealotry. That's not saying they will happen or succeed but people crunching the numbers know they're greater than zero. We need some law that sits between an IRA style outrage and, say, a nuke falling out of the sky. This law seems to fill that gap and could help save precious time and avoid panic measures.

    Looking beyond enforcement, the government seems to be pushing ahead with education and community outreach to calm communities and bring people together. Again, this is one half of the package people forget about as they jump at the bogeymen in their own minds. People tend to judge others through the lens of their own mind, and that may be something they wish to reflect on.
  • Comment number 45.

    Re 24#
    dhwilkinson: absolutely right. This is media spin. I will be David Cameron's official biographer before Jacqui Smith is Prime Minister or Leader of the Labour Party.
    Nick Robinson must be bored to post this nonsense. I am suspicious that he is trying create his own news agenda. I hope not.

  • Comment number 46.

    #2 Actually all of the security services DO agree on the ongoing threat. But if I understand it it is only certain sections of the police who are vociferous in their support of 42 days.

    When you think about the Newsnight report on the surveillance of 68 activists that is not reassuring. The Doors as an extremist organisation. Police feeding the press with scaremonger stories and then investigating them.

    As for the preparedness and precautionary principle - rubbish!

    If the crisis has not happened then how do you know whether you needed 42 or 41 or 781?

    You don't because its a non argument. Emergency legislation could be prepared and sit and wait and then you could fill in the dots on the basis of hard information.

    #4 This is the party of Alistair Campbell and the spin meisters. Most people these days would check if Brown said it was day. You are going to try and write off the simmering internal Labour problems as down to the media? How many of the top journalists are card carrying Labour supporters who might take a gentle steer. Media ego or people trying to distract from core issues.

    As for Labours chances at the next election consider that Ms. Smith has looked vaguely competent for a week (with all barring the police) and she is being tipped as a leader. If that icon of mediocrity John Major was New Labour he would be in with a really positive chance.

  • Comment number 47.

    ScepticMax -- thank you.

    No sane person who values Western civilisation (democracy, liberty, the rule of law) would appreciatively liken any Prime Minister or President to a brutal warlord and feudal fascist.

  • Comment number 48.

    Those in this blog and elsewhere who support the 42 day proposal miss some very key points about the opposition to it. In the 90 day debate under Tony Blair, the opposition had the same argument. It is simply that judicial oversight is necessary. If you want to hold someone for any length of time without charge, you should put your case in front of a judge. Furthermore, if post charge questioning was permitted and intercept evidence was usable in court, then there would be no requirement for more than, say, 14 days. But the Government has resisted both these matters. What is interesting is that the Government's argument continues to be simply that, "we might need these powers." What they fail to do is actually provide any supportive evidence of why they need the powers, and why those alternatives that have been put forward by the opposition on multiple occasions are not acceptable.

  • Comment number 49.

    Jacqui Smith as next Labour leader ? Pause for thought -

    Tony Blair had high appeal in the country and low appeal in a room-full of Labour MPs.

    Pre-PM Brown had higher appeal than Blair in a room-full of Labour MPs.

    Jacqui Smith has impressed a room-full of Labour MPs.

    Hmm - -

  • Comment number 50.

    Her talents are so hidden that I am unable to see them.

  • Comment number 51.

    If she has talent, she's been hiding it really really really well.

    She has been humiliated and heckled over police pay, and now she is doing this country another great disservice over 42-day detention.

    Then again, she probably wouldn't be as bad as Brown.

  • Comment number 52.

    Charles, Ieyasu stamped out bandity only for it to be replaced with repression, opressive taxation and a steadily growing number of peasants' revolts throughout the Tokugawa period. Trade and culture flourished as a result of patronage by merchants as much as samurai.

  • Comment number 53.

    I've had the misfortune to have to deal with a lot of psychotics and junkies and I'm familiar with the sort of concentrated, strident, unwavering unreason-disguised-as-reason that they spout.

    I've consulted for failing companies and did voluntary work with the down and out. I've seen where arrogance and marginalisation takes people and it's not pretty. Some of those companies are gone, and some of those people are now dead.

    The British tend to lack confidence and sociability at an individual, corporate, and national level. These comments are full of it with people over-reacting and getting into personal insults. This is immature and it's better people get over it.

    Gordon Brown is bringing some measure of order and consensus to politics, and building for the long-term. People may dislike the genie being forced back into the bottle but it's better than going off the rails. And that's something to be grateful for.
  • Comment number 54.

    CEH 44:

    Pheeew! Charles, for a moment I really believed that the government were floundering around on this terrorism thing, if you'd have just mentioned 'education and community outreach' earlier this whole debate about extending detention would have seemed so pointless.

  • Comment number 55.

    Classic case of a not-listening Government... the people don't want it but they lock themselves in a room and convince each other it is the "right thing to do". Garbage, if you arrest someone then you must have evidence or at least reason and if you have neither then you have no right.

    i hope they lose lose lose!

  • Comment number 56.

    Smith as Leader?

    Sheesh, that would be, well, terrible.

    People need to trust GB, I think he will come through in the end.

    He has had a rocky (amend: dreadful) end to his first year in charge, yet people forget the smooth sailing that came before.

    I have no doubt he is a Leader and has the best interests of the country at heart.

    What's the alternative? A Tory Party who have no cohesive policies and who have a front bench near full of Toff's.

    And because they're Toff's, they have no interest in low earning families; primarily because they don't understand the concept of being poor.

    At this point I await the 10p issue to be brought up.

    But when you think of all the measures that the Tories opposed in helping poor families, it soon puts into context which Party has the broader interests of UK in mind.

  • Comment number 57.

    We_are_not_at_war, What a refreshing change to read the kind of reasoned and wise writing of someone capable of sound reason and good judgement.

    "The majority of the British have nothing to be afraid of and nothing to shame them when confronted by terror police."

    Jean-Charles de Menezes is merely the grizzly end of the stick. There are hundreds of thousands of completely ordinary innocent people, from all races and religions and backgrounds, who have been arrested and detained for days, Submitting their DNA to be permanently stored in Government databases then released without charge. Their lives blighted without recourse to common justice.

    More than 90% of those arrested and detained for alleged terrorism offences have been completely innocent, and of the rest, the majority where not actually planning terrorist offences, but merely had literature that has been banned.

    My comment earlier about being arrested merely for visiting the wrong website still stands. People can already be arrested and charged and imprisoned for merely downloading books. Once these laws are in place, greedy politicians cannot help themselves, they have to slowly increase the terms and range of these laws to grab ever more power.

  • Comment number 58.

    40#How dare you!!!!
    How many 70+ year old grandmother junkies have you had to deal with ?
    The worst my generation ever did, was smoke and I never, ever had that filthy habit.
    Nor has any of our offspring or their offspring and none as far as I am aware ever resorted to taking drugs. Only weak characters do that.
    This is still a free Country where the last I heard, I have the right along with the next person to express my views whether you agree with them or not. Without been accused of being a Junkie, because you do not share my views.
    Who the hell do you think you are?
    It is your right to disagree and I would defend that right.
    What definately is NOT YOUR RIGHT! is to suggest people are addicts because you had the misfortune to deal with it.
    It has been my good fortune never, ever to have come across it in my lifetime.
    Having said that I am very particular with the company I keep. And I have never knowingly broken any law in this Country EVER!!! not even a parking ticket or motoring fine EVER!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    Would Labour risk electing someone who's about to lose her seat?

  • Comment number 60.

    wow; the thought of someone who's actively pushing for the right to lock up innocent people for 42 days just because they look foreign or follow the muslim faith is pretty scary stuff.

    If you have the evidence then charge them.

    If the evidence isn't admissable in court then change the law to make it admissable but with caveats to safeguard various aspects.

    If, after that, you still don't have enough evidence to charge them then you had no right to arrest them in the first place and they should go free.

    If the only evidence you have is an encypted file that you can't open, then why were they a suspect in the first place if you couldn't see that file?

    That's it; that's the end of the argument; the pro-42 days arguments are 100% flawed/invalid. In fact it should be reduced to no more than a handful of days at the most.

    Terrorism is no different to any other crime, don't treat it differently as there's no logical reason for a differential.

    Labour; stop using terrorism to inflict terror on your own people. It's the labour MPs who are creating the terror; attempting to push through legislation which gives them the right to lock up people they don't agree with for 42 days.

    This is *not* detention without trial, this *is* detention without charge. Big big difference.

    By passing such laws they'd be half-way there when it comes to comparisons about how Nazi Germany started their path through to the holocaust.


  • Comment number 61.


    I haven't had so much fun in a long time. Some of the views posted on here are beyond parody.

    The individuals who are in support of Smith and 42 days detention need to stop kidding us on. There is no prospect that holding anyone for 42 days will bring about safety and security in this country. I repeat, No Chance!

    So instead, the government are intending to pretend that we can lock up foreginers, or those who associate with foreginers, or even those who we think might one day commit a crime, and that this will make us secure.

    How often have we heard views expressed along the lines of, "we knew who dunnit, but we didn't have the evidence to put them away"?

    Unfortunately for the police and other agencies, that is why we have a court system. The alternative is to lock people up and throw away the key (or execute them).

    So Kiwilegs, how far are you prepared to allow the government to go in infringing our rights just so that you can feel safer?

    As for Smith as Leader, I am still laughing at the notion!

  • Comment number 62.

    Good fun this!

    Everyone in the Conservative Party want Gordon to go or be pushed.

    On the other hand:

    Everyone in the Labour Party want Dave and Gideon to be left alone and continue to run it for the Conservatives.

    Tories are a bit too thick to decipher this but I'm hoping that everyone else gets the picture.

    Here's to a Fourth Victory

    Keep it up!

  • Comment number 63.

    If Jackie Smith becomes Labour leader I will despair of this country. To my mind she epitomises the worst of New Labour...bossy, humourless and totally without any charisma at all...the living embodiment of the nanny state. I am female but this type of woman should not be given the time of day let alone a ministerial position. She's not happy unless she's bossing people about and controlling absolutely everything. We wouldn't have room to breathe...........

  • Comment number 64.


    "Terrorism is a real and ongoing threat in this country"

    First off, I'm sorry, but that's overblown rubbish, how many people have died from terrorism in the UK today? How about during the last week? The last month? Or maybe even the last year?

    Off the top of my head I think it's approximately none (I may be wrong, please feel free to correct me).

    That's not to say that something won't happen in the future, but who really knows what's going to happen in the future. Maybe we should all be put under house arrest - just in case.

    If it's really to protect people's lives, how many people have been stabbed this week/month/year? Why hasn't there been a law brought in to arrest and hold anyone who may stab someone, without charge/evidence?

  • Comment number 65.

    The Government knows the game is up.

    And it may not even be primarily their fault.

    The economy, upon which their fortunes are predicated, has turned sour because of mix of internal and external factors.

    Some will argue as to whether the low-cost credit boom which NL did nothing to curb has done for them and/or some of the banks/building societies 'unwise' investments (which I suspect the BoE is frantically bailing out - but of course, we must never know - this will be a State secret 'forever').

    Problem is, Labour, especially Gordon Brown as Chancellor, trumpeted loudly that they had ended 'boom-and-bust'.

    They have'nt - so now their protestations ring hollow.

    We must struggle as best we can through the next two years.

    A number of business people I know will go under during this period.

    But hopefully by 2011/12, with a totally new political framework in place in England, we can see economic recovery taking place.

  • Comment number 66.

    #62, I think people with Conservative leanings want the Labour government out (not Gordon out with another Labour PM in his place). It's not about GB being the person that Conservatives fear at the next election, it's about getting rid of the whole lot of them.

    I think the media want Gordon out, or at least a leadership contest, because it makes a good news story.

    I think you're right about Labour, their best bet is for the Cameron / Osborne "ticket" to still be in place come the next GE. I think Cameron and the Conservatives could win, but they need to move Osborne firmly out of the public eye.

  • Comment number 67.

    56 deep-breath-sedna:

    What is it with this Toff thing? Wasn't Tony Benn a 'toff'. Does he understand the plight of the poor??? So what if the Cameron Clan are all 'toffs'? Personally, I don't care if a politician's background is 'toff', middle class or working class: who cares.

  • Comment number 68.

    Everyone in the Labour Party want Dave and Gideon to be left alone and continue to run it for the Conservatives.

    Yup. Big business and the Tories must be laughing their asses off at how they're duped people into having a go at Labour for their security and community initiatives to protect what civilisation we've accumulated against thugs and sociopaths. Meanwhile, big businesses like Virgin Media is trying to create a two tier internet and sneak in snooping your datastream by the back door. If people want to have a go at someone for bullying and invading your lives they could try looking at the real culprits.
  • Comment number 69.

    68 CEH

    Yes Charles, but the 'real culprits' wouldn't be culprits at all if our government saw fit to support our rights through legislation, instead of eroding them.

  • Comment number 70.


    What colour is the sky in your world?

    As I understand it many in the Labour Party are asking questions about Gordon. Its not the Tories Brown will fear.

    Probation is the phrase I recall.

    It may well be that people don't feel that much more positive about the Tories than they did a year ago. But the polls don't lie. Labour are deeply unpopular and the core vote in disintegrating.

    Crewe was not a moral victory for Labour.

    Propaganda undermines the democratic process - is it good governance that people want or just a tribal desire to see their team in power and who cares what policies they introduce?

    Why not 41 days and 12 hours? Why not 43 days 1 hour and fifteen minutes? Because its just an electoral gambit that could badly misfire (as is usual these days like 10p) if the privilege gets abused.

  • Comment number 71.

    20# I do not live in fear. I take lessons from history. Have you ever heard of Neville Chamberlain, he was British prime minister between 1937 and 1940, and is closely associated with the policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany.
    If not I take it you have heard of Winston Churchill. Mr Chamberlain came back fro Germany saying " peace in our time" no war with Germany. Churchill disputed that.
    Odd is it not that happened in 1939 no sooner had he said that when we were at war with Germany ?
    I spent the first part of my childhood with my Father a Ship's engineer on an unarmed Merchantman out in the North Atlantic being hunted by Hitlers, Wolfpack Submarines, willing and able to sink this Ship and every other one they could spot. And every adult male member in my family in uniform from 1939-1945.
    The strange thing being, Chamberlain was certain that because he thought he averted it, it would not happen.Old Adolph had convinced him there was no threat, so he in his wisdom thought there was none.
    Now the moral of that is , just because we have not needed 42 days up until now, does not mean to say we will never need it in the near future.
    Bear in mind on more than one occasion the security services have only managed to do it in 28 days by the skin of their teeth.
    Now you go along with your bees and their sting and Chamberlain's mindset.
    I will go along with past history and the example of Sir Winstone Churchill.
    I feel safer with people who have fore-sight just as he did. And he was laughed and ridiculed by some at the time.
    Who was right and who was wrong?
    Hope the only harm you ever come to is by bee sting and it is only a bee that stings you, rather than a suicide bomber who has managed to slip the net.
    Bear in mind, our intelligence peole are very good , they are not superhuman and they too can make mistakes and miss vital information.
    But then perhaps we should have people empoloyed in the security services who never make mistakes. Do you know anybody who never makes a mistake. I confess I do not.

  • Comment number 72.

    Kiwilegs: you say "This is still a free Country where the last I heard"

    Not true, in a free country anyone would be free to air their opinions, no matter how ghastly or distasteful, they would be free to own and read any book or literature, they would be free to think whatever they like.

    This country arrests people for opinions and imprisons people for looking at the wrong books or websites and that list of banned books is constantly growing.

    No British government in the last 100 years has done more to restrict freedom than Labour.

    Labour the party of the poor working man, who doubled the income tax of the poorest workers whilst bailing out billionaire bankers.

    Come on... you defend labour, how on earth do you defend that as a protection of core labour values? or the fact that labour still have not rectified this and my daughter, single, low pay, will now (after labour borrowed a further 2.7billion) be paying 25% more tax than last year?

    Labour exist only to tax and control the peons. They bend down in pure fealty before the international global elite, leaving our borders wide open and punishing the innocent for wearing the wrong T-shirt or reading the wrong books.

    This is NOT the labour party of Bevin. It has been taken over and corrupted from within. It has turned into a fake cheapened version of the old nasty tory party. They steal tory policies in a hail of publicity and implement them badly only for them to fail and be abandoned like some fake rolex.

    The Islamic terrorist threat has been massively over exaggerated. As was the non-existent threat from Iraq's non existent WMD. Again brought to you by your listening Labour party.

    This 42 day mess has NOTHING to do with protecting you from terrorism, for the Government already has bundles of laws to deal with that, including the totalitarian civil contingencies bill.

    This 42 days mess is all about labour's new core value, CONTROL!

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes Charles, but the 'real culprits' wouldn't be culprits at all if our government saw fit to support our rights through legislation, instead of eroding them.

    Then we'd have some people banging on about Labour "destroying business". Actually, Labour is pushing for a better internet and looking at competition regulation to break up the cartels. The problem is big business dragging its feet and opposing any loss of their jealously guarded power.

    It's clear that the banking crisis was caused by British banks gaming the system and kings ransom bonuses. A workable system was in place but it wasn't prepared for the level of cheating and greed. Now, the banks have never taken responsibility for that but were the first to cry for corporate welfare.

    Civilisation takes an age to build but a moment to destroy. Terrorists and their sociopathic equivalent in big business are what the American's would call "a real and present danger". It's not just bombs that ruin lives but companies and finance that act to their own narrow agenda.
  • Comment number 74.

    71: Kiwilegs:

    First , we can't predict from past historical events what will happen in the future, so no argument. Second, let's make it 120 days then: 'just because we have not needed 120 days up until now does not mean to say we may never need it in the near future.' How about 6 months?: you never know you just might need ...: And on and on: Get the point?

  • Comment number 75.

    No.36 - Nonsense - when real people on shows like Question Time etc., not so those in some biased government survey, are asked to vote, overwhelmingly they vote against fascist measures like 42 days detention and ID cards.

    No.68 "they could try looking at the real culprits" - exactly, who is it that is supposed to protect us from the worlds predators such as banks, fuel companies, large corporations? ....... the government!!!!

  • Comment number 76.

    For gods sake this is a dishonerable minister who should never be trusted. She renaged on an arbitrated settlement with the Police.
    She fits the mould for most of the fiascos this shabby tactics this Labour lot stand for.

    Get rid of her with the rest of them and the sooner the better.

  • Comment number 77.

    Kiwilegs, the flaw in your analogy is that the threat from terrorism is in no way comparable to that posed by the Nazis. I'm sorry that 50 innocent Britons died from terrorist bombs on 7/7, but 50 THOUSAND British civilians died from German bombs during WW2.

    Repeat after me: Al-Qaida is not, repeat *NOT* going to succeed where the millions of soldiers of Hitler and Hirohito failed -- I'm as certain of that as I am that today is Tuesday.

    Only if we allow fear to remove our freedoms do the terrorists win.

  • Comment number 78.

    Kwilegs: "Have you ever heard of Neville Chamberlain,"

    Yes I have, he gave Hitler the thumbs up to take Czechoslovakia in a gross act of appeasement. What is your point?

    "Now the moral of that is , just because we have not needed 42 days up until now, does not mean to say we will never need it in the near future."

    We 'may' need indefinite or permanent internment in the future as well, so why not implement that now?

    You argument is as incoherent as it is foolish. If you do not think that we should have appeased Hitler, why should we appease another group of neo-fascists in Downing Street or GCHQ.

  • Comment number 79.

    Jacqui Smith for PM?

    What next? Mandelson for Pope?

    Jacqui has had a charisma by-pass. She appeared not to know why 42 day detention was important when she appeared on Andrew Marr three weeks ago. Just like Liam Byrne 'forgot' to bring the documents on immigration when he appeared with Andrew Neil.

    New Labour are running scared and will clutch any crumb of comfort in the current environment.

    Why would an Aston Villa fan, caravan hugging light weight be the answer to Tory Toffs? People voted in a Tory Toff in Crewe and Nantwich. They didn't vote in the single mothr of five just trying to scratch a living.

    People are done with NuLabour gimmicks and it now doesn't matter what they try it's a spent force; bankrupt intellectually, politically and financially.

    NuLabour have had their go with big government and left us to pick up the tab. If you thought Northern Rock was bad, what are they going to say about the FSA not picking up on Bradford and down 90% from it's high? Now admitting fraud? Now letting in private equity? Firing its CEO.

    All Hail Blessed Ditherer (Normal incompetence now restored)

  • Comment number 80.

    You can claim luddite thinking all you like, the truth is very simple and always has been. [It's called liberty, without interference from the state].
    Off course, your point of view and voicing that point of view is your right, the right my father died for in the 2nd world war and one I would uphold.
    We don't need 42 days detention, they have far too many laws as it is and new laws cost us tax money.

  • Comment number 81.

    @ 73, Charles, really? You can do better than that can't you?

    Do you understand that the central banks only exist to create money out of thin air and then charge interest upon it?

    It is no use complaining that the banks have done, what banks always do, (which is to create a credit bubble then pop it to take possession of tangible wealth).

    But to defend labour, who have bent over backwards to support such criminals as the banks, is really beyond the pail. No Government has done as much to bend over and show supine fealty to the banking elite as labour have. That is how they won such praise and 3 elections over the last 11 years.

    Labour have set aside hundreds of billions, enough to double our hospital capacity overnight, to prop up corrupt billionaire bankers whilst doubling the income tax on the poor.

    I am still waiting for a labour supporter to twist logic to the extent that that kind of craven compliance to their banking overlords is somehow, in keeping with labour's kind and listening, warm and fuzzy, core principles. Come on Charles, come on Kiwilegs.

    How can labour be progressive by increasing the income tax on the poor whilst spending billions to bail out the banks?

    They should let the private banks collapse!

  • Comment number 82.

    Anyone else not surprised that those lovely people in Sein Fein, who are in no way connected to terrorist organisations are now playing brinksmanship over in Stormont as they can see the Prime Minister is in a very bad state (politically) and doesnt have the clout to sort them out.

    What Gordon needs right now is a break down in the Northern Ireland peace process just to add the cherry to the top of the cake.

    Still, if they get this anti terror legislation through they can lock them all up for 42 days to defuse the situation.

  • Comment number 83.


    You really will have to stop throwing these little chestnuts of unsupported information in your posts (civilization takes an .... etc.) Stick to the point: New labour have had over a decade to bring in sound regulation for the Banks, they failed to do so. And many of their initiatives encourged speculation. (eg. favourable tax criteria for venture capital etc.) So, give it a rest. By 'crying for corporate welfare', I assume you mean the BOE bailing out Northern Rock etc. again, new Labour. And how can New labour defend us against these internet companies snooping on us, while at the same time wanting to use the very same companies to access our personal data?(telephone calls, emails etc.)

  • Comment number 84.

    Thank you KIWILEGS

    We have had several jousts on other threads and I have read your posts and learnt. I have only before ever posted my opinions and never been active in politics. But your views have helped me make the decision as I feel I can help make the UK a better place in which to live.

    So this morning I joined the Party.

    No, not Labour, the Conservative Party and they have my 25 pounds.

    The reason why I have done this is that I was totally appalled by your description of Tories as "completely objectionable human beings". I would use that phrase for people like Robert Magabe or the leader in Burma. In fact many of my friends are Tories and thoroughly likeable people they are too. I also have Labour and Liberal friends, all likeable.

    Now being a member my first task will be to contact my prospective candidate, who is very active in the area, to offer him my services to oust the current Labour MP. This is sad because the current man is a likeable, hardworking constituency MP who opposes the government often.

    In fact, its not him I want to remove but people who are willing call other citizens of the UK "completely objectionable human beings."

    Thank you again as I would never have made this decision without your time and guidance.

  • Comment number 85.

    77# And your argument about 70+ year old junkies is then?
    And your vast experience dealing with them.
    What a bloody handful they must have made ,for you to cope with!

  • Comment number 86.

    The argument for 42 days seems to be that terrorist plots are more complicated. But that is an open ended argument. Can anyone honestly say there will be a time when terrorist plots get LESS complicated?

    So, if they will always get more complex, then (obviously) we will always need more time, so applying the precautionary principle now we should vote for unlimited detention without charge, just in case!

  • Comment number 87.

    GaryElsby calls all Tories thick.

    This is Gary "I went to Crewe and couldn't find a Tory voter" Elsby.

    Kiwilegs says that on "more than one occasion the security services have only managed to do it in 28 days by the skin of their teeth." Not according to the police. And anyway, the point is that if 28 days is available, they will use 28 days, if 42 is available, that's what they'll use, if 365 were available, they'd take 365.

    Charles complains that Virgin want to snoop on people's datastreams. OK. Just as well the government aren't planning to monitor every single phonecall made and email sent by every person in this country then. Oops.

  • Comment number 88.

    Good for you, well done have ersatz instead of coffee or go about in plastic instead of leather with Blair mark 2. or to put it as Gideon Osborne did "the heir to Blair".
    A Leader who can do a complete 90% turn in his beliefs and priciples in the space of 12 months.
    The same leader who was the author of the most right wing manifesto this Country has ever seen.
    I hope you can afford them. never mind just think of all the tax-cuts andt the services that have to be cut to pay for them.
    Once again well done you are a true blue Tory!

  • Comment number 89.

    Charles says, of the bank regulations in the UK :

    "A workable system was in place but it wasn't prepared for the level of cheating and greed"

    Charles, a workable system would have prevented and punished cheating and greed. The system allowed the banks to do what they liked without serious scrutiny or oversight. Consequence, Northern Rock.

  • Comment number 90.

    When you consider the scope of technology, communications, and porous borders that exist today, and what legislative tool and safeguards need to be in place, what would you come up with that's short of declaring a state of emergency and greater than an older conventional measure?

    It's easy to complain and perform to the gallery but building anything well takes effort. Before any of the critics mouth off again, what proposals do you have that don't involve knee-jerk reactions when time is in short supply? Now, consider how you would you feel if someone tore your proposals to shreds and threatened you with the sack.

    Not so easy now, is it?

  • Comment number 91.

    Jaqui ("trust me") Smith claims that the 42 days detention without charge is safe in her hands. In her increasingly desperate attempt to persuade wavering MPs, she offers new concessions, including greater parliamentary 'scrutiny' when an order is brought in - and possibly even a vote on a case by case basis.

    The point is, Parliament would not be able to know all the details of an individual case for obvious reasons.

    But far more worrying is Smith's total lack of understanding of the principle of the 'separation of powers'.

    In a democracy, an elected government makes the laws, but Justice is administered by an independent Judiciary. The rule of law requires that the Judiciary is free from day-to-day political interference.

    If politicians are given power to oversee 'justice' themselves, this is a recipe for tyranny.

  • Comment number 92.

    Charles, if their proposals can be "torn to shreds" then they can't have been very good in the first place.

  • Comment number 93.

    88 kiwilegs

    Thank you, but your apology comes to late.

    The deed is done, the wheels are in motion.

    Just as the Conservatives deserve me, the Labour party deserves you (not a compliment). It wasn't until I started posting that I discovered how nasty and vindictive Labour supporters can be. And how, like Brown, they have little or no sense of humour.

    Just as Old Labour died, let us all hope that this is the death of New Labour.

  • Comment number 94.


    "what legislative tool and safeguards need to be in place...... short of declaring a state of emergency"

    I paraphrased slightly there Charles, hope you don't mind.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but aren't these new legislative procedures being brought in to be used in cases that could/should be called states of emergencies?

    And if so, why not call it what it is, and deal with each and every threat as and when (and if) it comes up.

    As has been mentioned above, 42 days is an arbitrary number, no-one knows how long it would need to be, so why legislate for it?

  • Comment number 95.

    Dear Nick,
    Please tell me you were dreaming when you thought this on up?? god help us if she ever gor near the PMs job,

  • Comment number 96.

    Some of these postings put me in mind of Monty Python sketches (think Life of Brian's Mum played by Terry Jones - just of bunch of fishwives hurling abuse and taking offence at whatever is hurled back Do you think we could raise the tone a little? Otherwise we may be causing Nick unnecessary embarrassment!

  • Comment number 97.

    84# Mikepo you are and always will be a Tory, so stop using me as an excuse.
    I changed nothing, you said so on an earlier post.
    I should have been more wary most of your posts gave it away, my fault was I did not wish to see it.
    You had me fooled for most of yesterday and probably others also. I see you now for the Red Green Blue Yellow closet Tory you always were and always will be.
    You will enjoy being with DC, you are both slick Alec's.
    You are a real Tory. But be more truthful about it in future, I at least state that I am Labour to the backbone. However the truth is what my well educated parents taught me to speak the truth.
    Sadly others are not so fortunate.
    AS for the membership the other leg is the one with bells on.

  • Comment number 98.

    93# and both legs have now got bells on.

  • Comment number 99.


    You scorn Cameron for changing his opinions, yet praise Brown for doing the same (10p).

    Need I remind you that in opposition Tony and Gordon not only changed their opinions, but also opposed everything done by the Conservative government, and yet in power they changed . . . practically nothing. They even (and how this must hurt) said that Mrs Thatcher had done a number of good things!

    P.S. You said in an earlier post that you retired more than 10 years ago. Just for interest's sake, (and feel free not to answer this if you don't want to) was that before or after Labour came to power?

  • Comment number 100.

    Nick, you are missing all the good news.
    NR has paid back more millions to the BOE.
    Remember that story Nick?
    Check it out, or do we have to wait until the end of this month?


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