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42-days is dead

Nick Robinson | 10:46 UK time, Monday, 6 October 2008

If it were not for the small matter of a global financial crisis or the vital debate over what Peter Mandelson did or did not say over the hummus to George Osborne, all eyes would now be on the next stage of the debate about extending detention without trial. It is clear this morning that 42-days is politically dead.

House of LordsMinisters have told Gordon Brown that when the proposal comes to the Lords - probably next Monday - it faces defeat by a three figure margin.They have also warned him that to use the Parliament Act to drive the bill through would be politically suicidal.

For now, the official line is that the prime minister still believes in 42-days and that ministers will try to persuade the Lords to back him.That line will last only until the Lords kick the idea out. It is possible that some form of extended detention without trial may be revised and revived for Labour's next election manifesto.

A clear sign that the game's up came in the reshuffle when two of the ministers most closely involved were moved -Tony McNulty's left the home office to go to DWP and Baroness Ashton is leaving the Lords front bench to replace Peter Mandelson in Brussels.

Even if the PM had not made up his mind, an article by Andy Hayman, Scotland Yard's former Head of Anti-Terrorism, in today's Times would have made it up for him. Hayman writes that :

"It would have been my job to make these proposals work but just trying to understand them gives me a headache... Let's get real. This will just not work... The bill is about politics and it won't work."

He adds intriguingly that :

"I was astonished when, in July last year, the government floated the idea of revisiting the detention limit. I remain curious as to what prompted this rethink."

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    42 days is dead! Rejoice!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hopefully Nu-Labour will be dead soon, too.

  • Comment number 3.

    Very good news.

    Plus another nail in Browns coffin.




  • Comment number 4.

    Looking forward to hearing the Zen Buddhism version of this story...

    Some folks get all angry and upset but this was in the Brown plan all along... relax and dither and the world will dither with you.

    At last someone has the common sense to agree with the tories and David Davies and argue that this bill will be clubbed to death and should never return.

    What next?

    Where does this leave Jacqui Smith who spent an evening haranguing her party on behalf of the dithering leader? looking like a loyal but complete and utter fool...just like she does about her protestations over Sir Ian Blair.

    Next stop the IMF; who will come knocking as soon as they see the monstrous rise on government spending and the collapse in tax receipts.

    Put an end to all our msiery; we don't like you.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 5.

    Was it not rather predictable, before the financial crisis, that the 42 day bill would go through with a smallish majority then stall in the Lords'?

    Which does not mean that the govt could not try to force it. GB has rather amazingly not been hanged for the lamb; would he be hanged for the sheep?

  • Comment number 6.

    I was persuaded that under extreme circumstances 42 days detention was necessary and proportionate. The problems started when the usual ideolgues and vested interests started getting a slice of the action. Their efforts just twisted the bill into an unusuable shape so, of course, it became unworkable.

    The steel jawed heroes of business and their Tory pals have dug their heels in over corporate governance and fair wages in a similar way, and the consequences of that are seen in the global financial crisis. As surely as bad CEO's turned a blind eye to shady balance sheets, similar forces of procrastination are operating here.

    It's no coincidence that risk aversity and lay-offs are part of British culture. Folks say they want "fit for purpose" and a "better world" but when the solutions are put on the table the panic begins to tighten their chest and grip their throat, and they run crying back to mummy for the "safety" of the old and familiar. Of course, when the inevitable happens they cry: "How could it happen?", and "Never again!", and so on, and so forth.

    A little more Zen in your ego, dear?

  • Comment number 7.

    42 days was only ever about 'macho politics'. It was Gordon trying to look big and authoritive.

    Speaking as one lone individual - the whole issue drove me to examine what the Conservatives were saying and I signed up as a member of their party.

    I hadn't voted in a general election since 1997, however, the Conservatives stance and David Davis links with Liberty made me think that the Conservatives really have changed as a party.

    At a personal level 42 days was the final nail in the Labour coffin. It mobilised me to do all I can to actively ensure we get rid of Labour at the next election.


  • Comment number 8.

    I think everyone will be glad about this in one way or another.

    Lets just hope that David Davis doesn't think it is some kind of existential justification for his absurd vanity trip earlier this year.

  • Comment number 9.

    Great News for freedom... however...

    Nick

    Could you estimate what this legislation has cost the tax payer?

    All the time/expenses etc?

    What does parliament cost to run a day, and how many days were spent on this etc...

  • Comment number 10.

    Hows that for you- the unelected part of the UK, is helping to stop the prevent tyranny

  • Comment number 11.

    Doesn't surprise me, this ones been nailed and shelved.

    No more nails, that has a nice ring to it carrots.

    Nick, becoming more frustrated by the day!

  • Comment number 12.

    Now GB should drop ID cards. That will save lots of money and shoot one of the Tory foxes.

  • Comment number 13.

    Cue Laborties slating David Davis for wasting money by resigning over the issue.

    42 days has always been a Norwegian Blue, beautiful plumage, The only reason it stayed on the perch was because Gordon Brown Nailed it there.

  • Comment number 14.

    Looking forward to hearing the Zen Buddhism version of this story...


    I wouldn't obsess about Zen, sweetie.

    It's missing the point...

    Typical Tory.
  • Comment number 15.

    This is why I totally support the House of Lords. They are a good safety net if any ridiculous policies make it through the lower chamber.

    My Lords I have only one thing to say - thanks.

  • Comment number 16.

    As surely as bad CEO's turned a blind eye to shady balance sheets, similar forces of procrastination are operating here.

    Bwahahahahahaha.

    Bad CEO's turning a blind eye to shady balance sheets?

    Step forward Gordon Brown. CEO of UK PLC.

    This 42-day gig offers Gordon the perfect political 'out' for his destruction of the economy. He could go to the people on a 'point of principle' ie this 42-day thingy knowing he'll get obliterated as the electorate show their gratitude for destroying the UK economy and all their pensions and savings.

    He can then live on in obscurity with the delusion that he is not responsible for the destruction of our entire economy. Deluded Labour apparatchik apologists can blame the Tories for bringing us into recession. Twenty years from now they'll be going on about how unemployment was really bad under the Tories in 2010. etc etc.. A bit like they go on about how bad it was in 1979. A week after Thatcher took over. Myopically omitting how bad it was the week before she took over.

    After all, thanks to another bit of figure-rigging we're not in technical recession yet.



  • Comment number 17.

    All the surreptitious deals behind the scenes and subsequent denials were for nothing then by the looks. If as expected this is thrown out by the Lords, where does that leave Gordon Brown ? Even more beleaguered, if that's possible.

  • Comment number 18.

    Once again it's the supposedly undemocratic and elitist House of Lords which people have to thank. The Lords has many faults but it has one huge thing in it's favour. People appointed for life cannot be whipped or browbeaten into backing a government with threats of deselection or being pushed out by boundary changes. It's worth remembering that Thatcher used to get beaten by the Lords time and time again, but she never thought about turning it into a lackey's chamber, only Balir tried that!

  • Comment number 19.

    Cue Laborties slating David Davis for wasting money by resigning over the issue.

    Cue me lambasting those so-called defenders of civil rights, the 300-plus Labour MP's, who failed to take their cue and show solidarity in a non-partisan manner by having even a single Labour MP resign in sympathy.

    They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Comment number 20.

    Andy Hayman is quoted "I was astonished when, in July last year, the government floated the idea of revisiting the detention limit. I remain curious as to what prompted this rethink."

    Easy - Brown saw political advantage. A chance to wrong foot Cameron and Co. by pushing this through. And at what a cost to the integrity of parliament and certain Northern Ireland politicians? I thought Davis was a wally to resign but he did have good cause to be upset at the shenanigans.

    Same mindset that brings Mandy back into the Cabinet. Not a good move for the Country (friction within Cabinet - to much baggage); a smart move for Brown because it wrongfoots the Bliarites.

    Same mindset that saw the 10p tax debacle.

    It seems to me that most of what Brown does is self and not Country serving.

    If his Granny's still alive she needs to go into hiding - she'll be on eBay within the week!

  • Comment number 21.

    I celebrate along with everyone else, but . .

    Andy Hayman writes in The Times, "I am convinced that we will soon need the power to hold suspects for more than the current limit of 28 days".

    I dare say they do but there in nothing stopping the authorities from bringing suspects before magistrates in camera to obtain a warrant. It is the without charge that so offends against the first principles of justice.

  • Comment number 22.


    Charlie the somnificator, persuaded, surely not!



  • Comment number 23.

    Now GB should drop ID cards.

    He can't. He'd have to admit that he'd made a mistake. The man is incapable of admitting he's made a mistake. Even with his 10p tax debacle he wasn't sorry for sticking the poor with higher tax. He was sorry they were upset about it.

    It's the sort of apology where I (say) smash your window with a house-brick and when apprehended express regret not for the damage to your property but tell you that I'm only sorry you misunderstood my motives. Huh?

    Gordon Brown doesn't do apologies. Gordon Brown doesn't admit to mistakes.

    That will save lots of money and shoot one of the Tory foxes.

    Naaaah. Not a chance.

    Gordon Brown admit he's wrong? Don't be silly.

  • Comment number 24.

    Excellent!

    ID cards are next on the hit-list.

  • Comment number 25.

    #14 Charles_E_Hardwidge

    Do you think it might be courteous to include the posters name and position when responding directly to a contribution?

    How does you increasingly spiteful manner of late square with your teachings?

  • Comment number 26.

    Haymans comments sound so similar to the remarks of Inland Revenue tax inspectors who admitted that they did not understand the new IR35 rules brought in by the brooding "genius" Brown. He was busy setting up the economy for its fall as the then Chancellor.

    Also when you consider that 10p and raising the GM debate again recently were patently suicidal should this surprise us?

    Clearly Brown has almost total contempt for those that disagree with him and will keep pushing forward duff ideas assuming that the little people will recognise his great "genius".

    In fairness a surprisingly large number of people were for 42 days. But its like the death penalty - they are in the majority until the detail and implications are made apparent.

    I can only assume that the current realignments of factions in Labour is to do with money as they are probably bust and need donors. In any event they are doomed. Utterly.

  • Comment number 27.

    #14 Charles_E_Hardwidge

    I wouldn't obsess about Zen, sweetie.



    That's a new keyboard you owe me!

  • Comment number 28.

    Apparently he still plans to push ahead for them, despite it being 'political suicide'

    I'd love to know what goes on inside that head of his, first he brings back Mandy - who not only hates him, but is incapable of honesty and will likely get sacked inside a year - and now he plans to push ahead on this?

    His going to be squeezed between a simmering rebellion, Mandy's plotting, grassroots resentment and embarrassment over 42 days and Glenrothes.

    If he thought the weeks running up to the conference were bad... I still maintain he'll be gone by Easter.

  • Comment number 29.

    If you are going to flog a dead horse you may as well flog it to the point of utter exhaustion!

  • Comment number 30.

    re: 10 ker-chop

    "Hows that for you- the unelected part of the UK, is helping to stop the prevent tyranny"

    True; it's also one of the good points about the eu which is rarely mentioned.

    Sometimes having an unelected chamber/organisation which can supercede the democratically elected chamber/laws is actually a good thing.

    This is precisely the kind of reason that organisations like the un and eu were created after world war 2; to stop individual countries from passing laws which would have steered them towards a nazi-style state.

    Even if it was forced through by the Parliament Act, it wouldn't become accepted law, because first of all the eu would overrule it, and secondly if a case came to the Lords they would treat the passed law in the same way that a lawyer would treat an invalid/illegal contract.

    For example, if someone signs a contract, but the contract itself is illegal (eg by being unduly unfair), then the contract is deemed to be void; the fact that both sides had signed it is irrelevant as the contract itself is illegal; the same would happen if they passed this law; the law itself would be deemed illegal and void by both the eu and the Lords when it comes to judging individual cases, because other more basic laws (human rights) make the passed law itself illegal; an illegal law is not valid no matter how many parliamentarians voted for it.

  • Comment number 31.

    We have to have some extended period of detention. I'll go along with 28 days but 42 is over the top.
    As others have said...next stop ID cards to go too.
    And, by the way, I speak as an ex London copper.

  • Comment number 32.

    Deluded Labour apparatchik apologists can blame the Tories for bringing us into recession.


    The City "faith" in turbo-capitalism and the Tory "faith" in Thatcherism are equally bankrupt. The financiers and their Tory pals brought us to the point of meltdown and are trying to capitalise on that. This approach isn't reason, science, or reality. It's just another delusion.

    It's no wonder that the unthinking Tories were so quick to whip up a crowd. Their ethos is to burn the witch but, as we know today, many witches were educated people who helped play a vital role in society by healing people from illness. It's sad they're so closed off they can't see that.

    I have no idea if the bill will be dropped or not but the same problems of ignorance and hysteria remains in the system, and that's the real problem. The calm, realistic, and mature approach of Brown, Darling, and Mandelson can help change that.
  • Comment number 33.

    Im not so sure Nick... Downing St is still suggesting that this will be happening.

    And I for one would be very very happy to see Gordon committ political suicide... so can no-one talk him out of it please!!

  • Comment number 34.

    42 days detention without trial is dead.

    Gordon was wrong, again he refused to listen

    Bringing Peter Mandelson into our government was not a good move, it just proves how out of touch he is with the general public.

    A new Elected government is needed, the public must have trust in the people who govern them.

    The EU is a mess, no unity, very expensive, not popular, not wanted by any but politicians.


    Labour has divided this country and it must be put right but Labour can not solve the problems we have got.
    Labour created them.

    We work to live, we need freedom to enjoy.





  • Comment number 35.

    Charles

    Hows that "I told you so" feeling in your throat doing?

    Student Knee Jerk Politics I as typed earlier.


    Why 42 days pushed forward

    Are Islamic Terrorists more nasty than Catholic ones?

    The government runs on fear and bullying.
    Blunketts Tanks at Heathrow after Sept 11.
    A true nonsense.

    Or the Bully McNaughty, bullying people with the Labour line We're right and you're wrong and if you don't believe us we'll Smeer you.

    I wonder how many phones have been thrown by Calm Gordon this morning?

  • Comment number 36.

    Hey.... Where have all the drones gone.


    Probably all in an equality and diversity meeting.

  • Comment number 37.

    I suggested Carles E Hardwidge be a member of the panel on Questiontime.
    For some reason the Mods banned my comment; why would that be?

  • Comment number 38.

    Does CEH really believe the drivel he brings forth?

  • Comment number 39.

    The financiers and their Tory pals brought us to the point of meltdown and are trying to capitalise on that.

    And there was me thinking that '63 quarters of unbroken economic growth' were entirely due to Gordon Brown's magnificent stewardship of the economy. Because that's what Gordon Brown kept telling us. Now the wheels have come off it turns out the whole thing was actually an 'age of irresponsibility' and all the Americans/yanks/banks/other people's fault.

    Like I said. Delusional Labour apparatchiks. But none more delusional than the unshiftable nominal head of the UK government.

    I have no doubt too that he'll invoke the Parliament Act. It's been invoked for a lot less (fox-hunting). There may be political capital to be made amongst those who were able to forgive even the Iraq war as long as nobody was enjoying their afternoon chasing foxes on horseback with dogs. Look, we're the party that saved all the ickle foxes.

    Forget the economy. Forget the Iraq war. Forget 42-day detention without charge. We saved the foxes in the teeth of these unelected Lords. Let's stick it to these 'privileged' Lords again and show them who's boss eh?

    We are doomed. Have been since about 2001. This was never going to end well.

  • Comment number 40.

    I don't go with the idea still being bandied around by some that that McCavity Brown is a decent man promoted (self-promoted) one step too far. Ditto that he's trying to do what's right in difficult times.

    He more than any other single individual in the UK is responsible for helping create those hard times, not least by evangelically promoting minimal regulation of the city generally and the banking centre in particular. "not just a light touch but a limited touch" - CBI speech 2005.

    And everything he does seems to be calculated to shore up his personal position, before any consideration of the national intest.

    42 days is one of the most egregious examples of this: of zero practical policing benefit; never likely to pass into law; hugely divisive; but permitting GB and Labour to say to the Mail and Express that they're tough on terrorism.

    I am now more optimistic that ID cards will follow 42 days into the dustbin of history and the taxpayer will be saved billions - which will also be of significant help to the economy.

  • Comment number 41.

    #2 power_to_the_ppl wrote:
    "Hopefully Nu-Labour will be dead soon, too"

    They are dead, but won't lie down.

  • Comment number 42.

    There is one thing I dont fully understand.

    IF Gordon can make Mandy a peer because he put him in his cabinet. What stops him creating 150 other peers and staffing all his ministrys with unelected peers.

    It would guarantee that when they are in oposition they will be able to block all bills that they dont like.

    I presume that there must be a rule around this that stops him doing it. Does anyone know if there is? What is it, a limit to one per parliamentary session?

    It was bad enough that they sold peerages for party funding, but this is worse Mandy without having to offer a thing, his support isnt even guaranteed.

    I suppose Mandy could be there as the 42 days enforcer as well. how many other peers would he have to drag through the Aye lobby to carry the vote for Gordon

  • Comment number 43.

    #40

    I am now more optimistic that ID cards will follow 42 days into the dustbin of history


    I don't share your optimism. It has been apparent for some time that the Maximum Leader has lost the plot but still they can't find 70 Labour MPs to initiate a leadership contest. Why?

    Well, either they think a: Crash Gordon is doing a sterling job or b: they're afraid to lose even 18 months more pay, expenses and pension contributions. Not one of them could find it in their hearts to quit in sympathy with David Davies.

    The entire Labour party is now shackled to this disaster. They'll take their hiding in the Lords and then invoke the Parliament Act. They'll go ahead with ID cards. They have to. The die is cast. They might as well get their 18 months extra dosh. Assuming the pound will actually be anything other than kindling in 18 months time. By no means certain at this rate.

    They're all going down together. And they're going to take us with them.

    It's a catastrophe.

  • Comment number 44.

    Some folks may remember the odd cases of violent serial rapists where the police DNA tested an entire area or a certain description of person to identify or exclude suspects. The usual die-hards and vested interests would naturally protest but one can't doubt the effectiveness of a measure like this when necessary.

    The 42 days detention bill is similar in nature, and is intended to deal with what geeks would call an "edge case". You don't wear a seatbelt because you plan on crashing your car, nor fit an alarm because you plan on getting your house burgled. This bill is no different. It's just a specialist tool for a specialist requirement. It's an insurance policy against a small but very real and nasty possibility.

    When seen in these terms, I'm puzzled how the opposition and vested interests can justify going into a frothing rage like some rabid pitbull on a chain. I think, their judgementalism and unsociable attitudes are just getting in the way. If they calmed down a bit they might start contributing, and it's possible a better variant of this bill could pass without a hitch. I doubt they will as ego loves to paint itself into a corner but miracles can happen, so some say.

  • Comment number 45.

    No doubt the deals done with the Irish, Kieth Vaz et al will now be not tendered either.

    Still on the bright side, watch Clegg go for it with the verve and swagger of a Tasmanian Devil, slating the Governments handling of this, bet he doesn't sit on the fence thats for sure.

    The only ones to come out of this with any creditablity is the Conservatives, said it was madness and voted accordingly.

    Call the election Gordon, do something the country wants for a change, oh I forgot, this is a time for experience.

    Guess what, we've had the experience, its not nice, its not clever and its certianly not what we want to put up with for the next 18 months or so....

  • Comment number 46.

    37. skynine

    Because its offensive, objectionable and would be likely to provoke attack.

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick,

    There is no point rejoicing in the defeat of the 42 days bill, since the mindset that delivered this policy to us has not changed. Neither Brown nor smith seem to appreciate the rule of law.

    I am also intrigued by the notion that Brown in considering bringing back Blunkett. If this is true, may we also a role in Government for Lord Tony?

    Incidentally, #32 CEH

    I thought it was only a matter of time until we saw the three words, Brown, Mandelson and Darling in the same sentence. I am just surprised it was Charles that wrote it, and that the mods allowed it!

    All the best

  • Comment number 48.

    They are dead, but won't lie down.

    The first thing Cameron should do on election is bang every single Labour MP that voted for this (the ones still with a job and the ones with fresh P45's) up for 42 days without trial, compensation or charge.

    Pour encourager les autres.

    If we do need to charge them we could charge them with attempted abuse of the human rights act or somesuch.

    See how they like it. More to the point, drive home good and early what a dangerous political weapon they've handed to some future government. Just like the ID card legislation. Have they no concept how this could be abused by a future government? Do they not think through the weapons they hand on to potentially less enlightened successor regimes?

    Although in the context of this catastrophe of a government it is likely that future governments will be more enlightened for a decade or so. That doesn't mean they'll repeal these awful laws/ID cards though. The government's philosophy will always remain 'better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it'. So this garbage will remain on the books until the day some successor to the present Dark Lord's government is elected.

    And then it will be too late.

  • Comment number 49.

    6

    Why do you always post such fanciful nonsense. Brown has had his fingers in the Treasury for 10 yrs and by all accounts still has. To blame anyone else for this debacle is delusional. It was Brown who created the useless FSA and took away that responsibility from the Bank of England, no one else. The buck stops with Gordon Brown.

    As for 42 days , Brown picked it up so he could appear tough, now as per usual its all turned sour.
    Brown was the worst chancellor in living memory and likewise is the worst PM.

    The only saving grace is that no bank in their right mind would have him on the board after he has been booted out.

  • Comment number 50.

    #42 - Pot_Kettle

    "I presume that there must be a rule around this that stops him doing it. Does anyone know if there is? "

    I don't think there is Pot. Remember all those 'working peers' Blair created in the early years. In fact, when the economic situation reaches the point where the unemployment figures are unacceptable, I think everyone who has been out of work for more than two weeks should become a working peer and then not count. Our jobless figures will be the envy of the developed world.

    I offered to return to blighty if they gave me a peerage and they wrote back offering me a dukedom to stay away.

  • Comment number 51.

    That's good it's been dropped ... 28 days sounds a fairly long time already to be held without charge. Sounds too long actually. A decrease rather than an increase is what we should be discussing. As for ID cards, I'd be very surprised if they see the light of day.

    On the 42 days thing, this was an example of Labour pandering to what they think "Middle England" want to hear, rather than getting on with fostering a more equal and civilised society. A somewhat bigger example of this was their refusal to hike direct taxation for higher earners ... that's why we have so many of the so called "stealth taxes".

    No, I don't like it when Labour try to please Middle England. Eventually gets them into trouble, doesn't it?

  • Comment number 52.

    #18 garethm2
    "Once again it's the supposedly undemocratic and elitist House of Lords which people have to thank."

    Agreed, as debated on the last thread, but it hardly reflects any credit on our so-called democracy.

    What's actually needed is separation of the legislative and executive powers in such a way as to end the "elective dictatorship" of the PM. Without a written constitution adopted after a referendum, any "safeguard" we have is purely illusory since the PM could create enough NuLab peers to push 42 days through tomorrow if he wished to.

  • Comment number 53.

    Do we think GB cares if using the Parliament Act would be politically suicidal? Here is a man who recently appointed Peter Mandelson to a cabinet position. Political suicide seems to be what he does: perhaps he's just trying to figure out a way to hang himself and shoot himself at the same time, just to make sure (metaphorically speaking, of course).

    Seriously though, why can't he use the Parliament Act? My understanding is it's not usually used to force through something that's not a manifesto commitment, but that's just a convention, isn't it? There's nothing to actually stop him doing it if he wanted to.

  • Comment number 54.

    May I suggest that mandy should be elevated with the title 'Lord Voldamort of Despair' - ?

    However regarding regulation -- it is not quantity that matters it is quality.

    There is already too much regulation - the problem is that the FSA are regulating the wrong things in the wrong way.

    One of this quangos 'business plans' was based its future financing (including pension payments) being generated by fines!

    Suggesting that 1) they don't expect to stop bad behaviour and 2) stopping bad behaviour would be 'bad' for their business...

    Let the banks fail -- its the only way to get rid of bad banks -- it is how capitalism works.

  • Comment number 55.

    "The 42 days detention bill is similar in nature, and is intended to deal with what geeks would call an "edge case". You don't wear a seatbelt because you plan on crashing your car, nor fit an alarm because you plan on getting your house burgled. This bill is no different. It's just a specialist tool for a specialist requirement. It's an insurance policy against a small but very real and nasty possibility."

    A valid point - but doesn't the existing law already allow for the limit to be broken in exceptional conditions?

    This is just a way of getting round nasty things like legal safeguards.

    The easier the law becomes to detain someone without trial the more that law will be called into force. We may be trying to prevent ourselves from terrorists only to open the door to tyrants.

  • Comment number 56.

    The usual die-hards and vested interests would naturally protest but one can't doubt the effectiveness of a measure like this when necessary.

    Ahhhh. The old 'If you ain't guilty you've got nothing to fear' approach.

    I object to blanket DNA testing to 'catch' rapists. Doesn't make me a rapist.

    Are you in favour of torture or mind-bending drugs if there's just one example that it worked and saved an innocent life?

    Where do you draw the line? How much do I 'belong' to the state?

    Most child abuse/rape is carried out by family members. Perhaps we should have every room in every house fitted with CCTV cameras to make sure we're not abusing our children. Only the guilty could possibly object.

  • Comment number 57.

    "IF Gordon can make Mandy a peer because he put him in his cabinet. What stops him creating 150 other peers and staffing all his ministrys with unelected peers."

    I am not sure if there is anything in place to prevent this. Only the fact that when another government takes over they will just create a load more peers to regain control of the house and it would soon esculate out of control.

    I remember reading that Labour have created more peers then the entire Conservative government before them - but I can't remember where I read that, or even if it is true.

  • Comment number 58.

    One of the arguments I heard for the 42 days detention was that was how long it would take to decrypt any data that was encrypted on a suspects PC.

    As any second rate geek will happily tell you, its a complete piece of cake to encrypt data in such a way that the combined forces of the NSA, MI5/6, GCHQ, Mossad and the KGB couldn't decrypt it in a reasonable time scale. It's possible they never could, if they were really devious.

    The assumption that with time you can decrypt data is worrying for another of the Government's bright ideas - ID cards. If encrypted data can be decrypted (by any means and with time) then it's just a paperwork exercise. Nothing is gain except the justification of the scheme itself, that it must continue because we have created it...

    Both these examples will work perfectly if we assume that "Bad People" are stupid, but in actual fact they are not, so neither will work.

    Additionally it rather vainly assumes we are brighter than the "Bad People", which I am afraid we probably are not.

    For what ever Political reasons you wish to put forward for binning both of these ideas (and there are many!), there are glaring elephant-in-the-room sized technical issues that mean they should never have even got this far.

  • Comment number 59.

    What a strange world it is we now live in where our elected house is trying to take away our basic rights and the only people trying to stop them are the unelected, often hereditary, peers.
    Strange times indeed.

  • Comment number 60.

    #42 Pot_Kettle
    "What stops him creating 150 other peers and staffing all his ministrys with unelected peers."

    Nothing, zilch, nada.

    It's that constitution that's not worth the paper it's not written on, again.

    OTOH, it would make him an even more universal figure to hate fun than he is already, but Mugabe coped with that OK for a long while.

  • Comment number 61.

    It's progress, another unworkable or liberty threatening policy proposal ditched. Still a few to go.

  • Comment number 62.

    whenever you look at this board, somebody has written "call an election" at the end of their post. can we please stop using this irritating refrain? i think from people's posts it can usaully be interpreted that they individually would like a new government anyway. not only is it boring and unoriginal, it is ridiculous: why should a government resign simply for being behind in the opinion polls?

  • Comment number 63.

    U @ 43

    ... "It's a catastrophe." ...

    Yes it is. And Gordon Brown has been shown to be a rather empty politician who is now flapping around for little more than personal survival.

    BUT it's crystal clear that the catastrophe (if it's the economy you're talking about) has primarily been caused by excesses of capitalism, in particular the buffoons who've been running the US Federal Reserve and many of the banks. I thought we'd agreed that, no?

  • Comment number 64.

    #24 xraspecs

    Excellent indeed, and with you on ID Cards too.

    Enough of this scaremongering!

  • Comment number 65.


    The 'detention without trial' period should be consistent across all of the EU.

    If a basic human right such as this cannot be agreed by the EU, then you wonder what the value of being a European citizen is.

  • Comment number 66.

    #44 Charles_E_Hardwidge

    The 42 days detention bill is intended to deal with what geeks would call an "edge case".

    It's just a specialist tool for a specialist requirement. It's an insurance policy against a small but very real and nasty possibility.

    I'm puzzled how the opposition and vested interests can justify going into a frothing rage like some rabid pitbull on a chain.



    I can give you a couple of reasons why wise counsels should be against this law.

    1. This government appear to be unable to draft a proper piece of legislation.

    When they have finished with it, the bill will be so loosely defined that it will be able to be used in all sorts of unanticipated ways.

    Well meaning platitudes such as "It's not intended to be used in such cases" count for nothing. It will end up being used for purposes outside the stated aims.

    2. All of the "terror legislation" pushed through by this government has done nothing to prevent a terrorist attack. Indeed it has not been about preventing terrorist attacks, rather it is about instilling a heightened fear of terrorism and terrorists in the population at large so that this government can curtail individual liberties even further.

  • Comment number 67.

    Please see below ... if you are more A than B, then I respectfully submit that you are a misguided fool.

    Statement A

    I am extremely angry with Gordon Brown for over expanding the public sector in the UK at a time when it would have been more prudent to have done the opposite.

    Statement B

    I am extremely angry with the capitalist bankers who have so greedily, foolishly and fraudulently chased higher and higher yields over the last few years, the consequences of which are now driving the whole of the developed world into a long and painful recession.

  • Comment number 68.

    The idea of Peter Mandelson and George Osborne bitching about Gordon Brown in idyllic holiday surrounding is enough to turn anyone's hummus sour in the mouth.
    I seem to remember the extension of detention without trial was originally a Blair initiative, which Brown had returned to after cutting the proposed length of detention by more than half.
    Whatever the outcome of the vote of the Lords, it makes David Davis's resignation over this single issue look particularly foolhardy and futile.
    Any changes proposed by Parliament to the processes of law and justice will always be debated fully by both houses before they can go on the statute books or can be moderated enough to be generally acceptable.
    Our parliamentary system may have taken more than 600 years of continuous development and reform, but as it functions today, it offers a perfect platform for further reforms and is the highest court of appeal for perceived injustice.
    As such it is debatable that an extension to the time terror suspects can be detained without trial is actually needed.

  • Comment number 69.

    Good

    There was no evidence it was needed and much that it could make terrorism worse

    I think Nu Labour loves populist authoritarian measures.


    They love the idea of people demanding measures which will enable the government to more fully spy and monitor them.

    Make no mistake its not terrorist that suffer or care about whatever authoritarian measures th government make

    History shows that powers demanded by government are invariabley used and abused far more widely than originally claimed, witness the use councils have been making of anti terrorsm laws to spy on people suspected of not recycling --enviro criminals as they are now called


    This 42 day law will also be abused, it will next extend to ordinary criminals, then whoever tyhe police dont like then people who might do something etc and finally to anyone accused of anything

    Nu Labour have single mindely pursued a police state since the day they came to power. Their nightmatre goal is to be able to spy on absolutely everyone all the time for any reason they see fit, to lock anyone up for any period of time at behest of anyone in power.

    If ever there was proof of the worthlessness of the commons it is the way they have allowed it to happen, and ironically the value of the lords that they have blocked it



  • Comment number 70.

    I'd like to know what Zen buddhism has to say about that true mark of a great leader: the one who knows when to go...

    Tony Blair will godown is history (indeed he already has) as having timed his exit to perfection; and yet he could have demanded he stay longer to beat Lady Thatcher's record in office. But he went.

    Now the man who spent thriteen years plotting against Blair...who has that plotting etched into his face doesn't seem to understand that his time is up.

    He stood right full square with Clinton and Greenspan's social engineering project when they decided to throw money at the masses instead of ask for a ten percent deposit. ALl of the expansion fo banks balance sheets happend under newlabour; noe of this was happening under Thatcher or Major - desptie their deregulation.

    Now he can't even get the wors out 'a problem that started in America' without realising half way through that no-one beilieves him anymore; it was started by him.

    And yet on and on he goes with more and more unpopular measures forced through with threats and pacts and all the time the damage is being etched further into his grotesque grinning face.

    The tragedy is that there was never a time when he was great; only a time why no-one could understand how he had managed to keep all the plates spinning at once. Now the bigger tragedy unfolding is that he can't see when it is time to go.

    He has made his mark in history with his spendaholic social engineering ways.

    It will punctuate 21st century history as an experiment never to be repeated again.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 71.

    The easier the law becomes to detain someone without trial the more that law will be called into force. We may be trying to prevent ourselves from terrorists only to open the door to tyrants.


    The amateur sees shadows in everything and lurches all over the place. Mostly, this is just lack of skill and experience on their part, and the Tory party is more than happy enough to supply you with razor blades.

    Indeed, the most extreme comments and paranoia can be found in the Tory sympathisng comments. Hysteria, anger, and other forms of mental illness are catching, so one keeps a distance.

    The controlling and insular mind feeds Freudian damage, but the Zen Buddhist mind routes around it and allows it to die of its own accord. Thus, happiness takes "no effort".
  • Comment number 72.

    57: of course they have. they had to replace all of the hereditary peers removed by house of lords reform. peers are elected roughly on the basis of party strength in the commons.

  • Comment number 73.

    Well whose a silly billy Give you a clue DD there see if you can work that out.
    Does anybody on here believe that DD has influenced to lords or anyone else for that matter.
    He may not have ruined his career but he hasn't done himself any favours.
    I had thought that the Tories had made a mistake when he wasn't elected leader but he has proved himself unsuitable thats not to say the other one they chose was.
    To be perfectly honest I have never thought that 42 days was necessary, but acting on the advice of the police and Mi5 and the rest it seemed the right thing to do, lets in this case that things dont prove GB to have been right otherwise a lot of people including my self will look pretty silly and perhaps a lot not feeling anything ever again..

  • Comment number 74.

    As any second rate geek will happily tell you, its a complete piece of cake to encrypt data in such a way that the combined forces of the NSA, MI5/6, GCHQ, Mossad and the KGB couldn't decrypt it in a reasonable time scale. It's possible they never could, if they were really devious.

    The assumption that with time you can decrypt data is worrying for another of the Government's bright ideas - ID cards. If encrypted data can be decrypted (by any means and with time) then it's just a paperwork exercise. Nothing is gain except the justification of the scheme itself, that it must continue because we have created it...


    If you knew anything about signals intelligence, counter-terrorism, security systems, or the new passport system you wouldn't make a comment like that.

    When given an opportunity to educate and reassure folks the Tories just print lies and wind them up. And this is a party some people want as a government?

    Dudes, you have a credibility problem.
  • Comment number 75.

    #62 moderateprogressive

    whenever you look at this board, somebody has written "call an election" at the end of their post. can we please stop using this irritating refrain?



    I'm assuming my position is sufficiently obvious that I don't need to add the tag-line "call an election".

  • Comment number 76.

    Next ID cards and after that the really hard one BBC censorship.

  • Comment number 77.

    Nu-Labour are beaten for sure
    So we must be strong and endure,
    Thanks to Gordon's mad hatters
    The red flag's in tatters
    And their evil plot is no more!

  • Comment number 78.

    64

    Scare mongering indeed!

    Iraq could attack UK soverignty in 45 mins.

    Grannies body searched in Airports.

    Tanks in Heathrow Airport.

    Concrete Barriers up all round london.

    82....no.....42 days locked up without any reason.

    That! is scaremongering...get over yourself.

  • Comment number 79.

    whenever you look at this board, somebody has written "call an election" at the end of their post. can we please stop using this irritating refrain? i think from people's posts it can usaully be interpreted that they individually would like a new government anyway. not only is it boring and unoriginal, it is ridiculous: why should a government resign simply for being behind in the opinion polls?


    The Tories have such overwhelming desire to grab onto power that they'll do anything to get attention and throw a hissy fit like the angry German kid.

    I must admit, I laugh when it throws up a mental picture of, say, Osborne rushing around like some schoolboy with piles from TV studio to TV studio.

    Game forums are full of fanbois like that who throw an apoplectic fit when they don't whatever bling it is this week that's the height of some whimsical fashion.

    Call an election? Hmph, call an ambulance.
  • Comment number 80.

    I've just noticed that Andrew Adonis (a former education policy adviser who was made a Lord so he could be education minister, and is one of the people most responsible for the Government's obsession with league tables, testing and Academies) has been made Minister of State in the Transport Department, about which he presumably has little or no expertise.

    Another outrageous example of bypassing the democratic process, such as it is.

    Adonis has never even stood as a candidate for MP, let alone been elected - although he was a Liberal Democrat councillor in Oxford and was at one time a LD prospective parliamentary candidate. At least Mandy was an MP before he was shunted off to Brussels.

    Deafening silence on this in the press.

  • Comment number 81.

    62 Says---" Why should a government resign because it's behind in the opinion polls " . Not why people want it to resign, it's because this government is totally incompetent and is in increasing danger of destroying the economy . It has now lost the trust of a majority of the population, is unable to govern effectively because of the incompatibility of it's hierarchy and cannot appear to make any decision without recourse to it's masters in Europe. For three weeks we have listened to senior members of the government proclaiming that " action will be taken ", to the best of my knowledge, apart from a trip to the USA and a trip to Brussels, no effective action has been proposed or taken which has made any difference to the economic situation.

  • Comment number 82.

    #67 sagamix

    I'm flippin' livid with Gordon Brown, livid. Not for expanding the public sector but for all of his deleterious decisions as Chancellor and PM. Thankfully the rest of our elected (and non-elected) public servants have come to their senses and thrown out this latest catastrophe of 42 days but others have sneeked through.

    Capitalism has cycles, despite our idiot's pledge of no more boom and bust. However, as Heseltine put it last week, 'capitalism sometimes gets it wrong but the State always gets it wrong'. The guy's still a legend. I would far rather live under capitalism than socialism.

  • Comment number 83.

    "sagamix wrote:
    Please see below ... if you are more A than B, then I respectfully submit that you are a misguided fool.

    Statement A

    I am extremely angry with Gordon Brown for over expanding the public sector in the UK at a time when it would have been more prudent to have done the opposite.

    Statement B

    I am extremely angry with the capitalist bankers who have so greedily, foolishly and fraudulently chased higher and higher yields over the last few years, the consequences of which are now driving the whole of the developed world into a long and painful recession."

    I have to lean towards Statement A - but only because Statement B is distorted to fit your opinion.

    The whole basis of the system was to make as much money for their employers (and themselves and in turn the government). So I find it hard to be angry at the bankers as they are not really the problem - the problem is the system that allows this to happen. Basically - "Don't hate the player hate the game" and Gordon Brown was happy for the players to play the game as it drove the economy forward.

  • Comment number 84.

    #68 newtactic
    "Our parliamentary system may have taken more than 600 years of continuous development and reform, but as it functions today, it offers a perfect platform for further reforms and is the highest court of appeal for perceived injustice."

    Wow! so was NuLab just having a laugh by putting all that constitutional reform referendum stuff in the the '97 manifesto before ratting on it?

  • Comment number 85.

    67. sagamix

    What if Im both?

    How does your character analysis pan out then?








  • Comment number 86.

    74

    My how many strings to your bow have you got?

    Now a counter terrorist expert!

    Now tell me expert, whose actions prompted terrorist activity in the UK recently, if you need a clue it's in most of the videos made by the terrorist before tha attacks.

  • Comment number 87.

    CEH

    Just a little info to rock your world

    For Buddhists ultimate reality is not understood as personal. But morality requires personality. To illustrate consider the morality of a rock. One does not blame a rock for being used in a murder since it is not a person with moral duties. Rather the moral duty lies with the person who used that rock for evil purposes. Buddhism lacks the personal framework for moral duty to hold. With Buddhism, karma is that framework for morality. But karma is impersonal. It is akin to a law of nature. Breaking a karmic "rule" is not intrinsically evil. There seems to be no significant difference between error (non-moral mistakes) and sin (moral wrongdoing). Furthermore, many Buddhists even assert that the dualities of "good" and "evil" ultimately break down. "Good" and "evil" would be part of maya, the illusory world of sensory reality. The categories of morality are not grand enough to map onto ultimate reality. And enlightened individuals will see that good and evil blur into one. But such a position means that ultimate reality would not be "good." It wouldn't be "evil" either, but what assurance then exists that "ultimate reality" is even a worthwhile pursuit? And what grounds would there be for living a morally good life as opposed to an amoral life without regard for moral distinctions, or an inactive life avoiding moral choices as much as possible? If Buddhism asserts that reality is not ultimately personal and the distinctions between good and evil are not actually real, then Buddhism does not have a true foundation for ethics.

    Once you have read and understood you will be truly enlightened

  • Comment number 88.

    73. grandantidote

    Just on a small point of order:

    MI5 were not pro 42 days, they were agnostic towards the issue.

  • Comment number 89.

    @62

    Call an election

    I do hope you are now suitably iritated

    Call an election

  • Comment number 90.

    60 - Brownedov wrote:

    "It's that constitution that's not worth the paper it's not written on, again".

    Which maybe explains why they never got round to writing one in the first place?

  • Comment number 91.

    I thought it was only a matter of time until we saw the three words, Brown, Mandelson and Darling in the same sentence.


    Brown, Mandelson, and Darling are equivalent to the Tao, Zen, and stoicism. This is what the Chinese call the "three pillars of wisdom", and quite a potent combination.

    Who can fathom the depths of Tao?

    Who can understand the mind of a Zen master?

    Who can disbelieve their own eyes?


    And so, it begins...
  • Comment number 92.

    I hope you are right and that it is scaremongering and political posturing by the Government.

    The Government have managed to stop several attempts at terrorism just in time, though it would appear mainly due to luck than judgement (e.g. Haymarket bombers).

    In each of these cases, it has been clear that the potential perpatrators (even the 7/7 bombers) had been under surveillance by MI5 for some time, but they had to wait until the specific evidence was sufficient before they could act.

    Let's hope that we do not end up in a situation where a terrorist has to be let go due to lack of evidence and succeeds in their plot.

    Though maybe if that happens it's the price of liberty. Difficult issue.

    RE ID Cards

    Unquestionable that the Conservatives would bring them in the medium-to-long-term.

    There would be massive efficiency gains to the state and improvements in the quality of public services (i.e. lower taxes, better bang from the buck) from allowing more effective data-sharing between Government departments. It would also help with illegal working - a visa could be included on an ID card that contains information about work status (most illegal workers are allowed to be here e.g. students, just not to work). It would also be a passport to public services, if a government wished to restrict free services to e.g. British citizens only.

    It just depends on a) if there are sufficient safeguards to prevent misuse (e.g. no requirement for everyone to carry them around on their person at all times); and b) the Civil Service can administer the scheme to prevent data being lost or stolen

    It's a trade-off between liberty and whether these gains are worthwhile e.g. I'd rather have inefficiency, higher taxes and services that are not as good as they could be if we need to have some ID card (or ID care-lite such as shared data) to get there.

  • Comment number 93.

    #71. Charly McObfuscate, wrote
    "The amateur sees shadows in everything and lurches all over the place. Mostly, this is just lack of skill and experience on their part, and the Tory party is more than happy enough to supply you with razor blades."

    Whereas the professional uses moronic zen platitudes to cover up the fact his ideas are verifiably nonsense.

    Normally, by the time the amateur has realised that the supposed zen wisdom is nothing but a few poorly chosen and brutually mutilated metaphors, the professional has deftly changed the subject to something else entirely thus leaving the amateur in a perpetual game of catch-up until they lose interest.



    "If you knew anything about signals intelligence, counter-terrorism, security systems, or the new passport system you wouldn't make a comment like that.

    When given an opportunity to educate and reassure folks the Tories just print lies and wind them up. And this is a party some people want as a government?"


    You honestly don't see the problem with those two paragraphs? Do you have any sense of irony?

  • Comment number 94.

    #64 vor_tecks

    Good 2nd post. Sorry I didn't spot that your 1st post was intended as irony.

  • Comment number 95.

    Mark @ 83

    ... "I find it hard to be angry at the bankers as they are not really the problem - the problem is the system that allows this to happen" ...

    Totally agree with you, Mark ... the problematical (and now discredited) system being free market capitalism.

    Robin @ 70

    I concur with a lot of what you're saying there too, Robin.

    So are you with me on this? Ready for a good dose of socialism?

  • Comment number 96.

    Chancellor Alistair Darling says the government will do whatever necessary to ensure stability of the financial system.

    He said that would include action to support the banking system as a whole as well as supporting individual banks.

    The chancellor told MPs that European countries needed to work more closely together on responding to the crisis.

    His statement came as stock markets worldwide plunged on concerns about the health of the banking sector.

    Thanks Darling you have said exactly what you said last week. It had no effect then and it will have no effect now

  • Comment number 97.

    My how many strings to your bow have you got?


    Know one thing, know many things.
  • Comment number 98.

    Carrots @ 85

    ... "What if I'm both? How does your character analysis pan out then?" ...

    Trust you to be difficult!

    If you're both equally, then I guess you can't be a misguided fool. You must be either one or the other.

  • Comment number 99.

    Sorry Nick.

    "If it were not for the small matter of a global financial crisis ........, all eyes would now be on the next stage of the debate about extending detention without trial."

    But the fact is the global financial crisis is a thundering herd of elephants. At this point, who really cares if Mandelson is a "good pick"?

    Peston may be doing the economics, but surely you must concentrate on the political impacts?

    Brown trolled off for a meeting between heads of state of the 4 biggest economies in Europe. Came back and (as I understood) told us there was some cohesive view about how to make progress.

    Then Merkel sprung a surprise within 24 hours.

    So what does that say about Brown's political antennae?

    Could he be the Revered Architect of a new global financial order, if he can't even agree a real position with 3 other neighbours?

    Politics ain't just about what you do in your back yard. It's about international relations. With the possible exception of defence, none are so important as the economics.

    The "42 day" issue is important. But right now, there's an Australian (who has committed no crime in his own country or the UK), likely to be deported to Germany because of an EU law allowing such an effect if a 3rd country has a law he "would have" broken.

    Don't like what the Aussie says, but do YOU know what laws exist across the individual EU countries?

    Surely there's some real political issues to talk about.

    "42 days" will come back into play at some point. It's not today...

    Right now, I'd like to understand the international politics affecting a current financial crisis and existing laws.

    Bugger the squabbles between the guacomole brigade.

  • Comment number 100.

    73. grandantidote

    To be perfectly honest I have never thought that 42 days was necessary, but acting on the advice of the police and Mi5 the rest it seemed the right thing to do


    Does anyone else see just how scary this degree, level and depth of thinking towards our liberty is?



    It should also be noted that despite this rather ambivalent position Mr G still made 17 posts against DDs position in June.

    You just cant trust these old communists.

 

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