A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thank you My Lords

Thanks for making us all quite a lot less safe, dear unelected members of the Upper House with your daft vote denying the Government the right to lock up suspected terrorists.

It's bad enough having a completely undemocratic second chamber to our legislature at the best of times, but even more so when 309 peers vote against the public interest and against public opinion.

Security Minister Lord West says today:

"The threat is huge. The threat dipped slightly and is now rising again with the context of severe, large complex plots, because we unravelled one the damage it caused to al-Qaeda actually faded slightly.

They are now building up again. There is another great plot building up again and we are monitoring this."

The tools available to the Government to combat that threat are fewer because of the vote last night.

Shame on the Peers who made this the case.

If I was the Government I wouldn't have stopped at using the Parliament Act to drive through this legislation, I would have used it as the final straw reason to abolish the absurd anachronism of an unelected, unaccountable House of Lords and replace it with a democratically elected second chamber that gives proper consideration to issues of national security.

57 Comments:

Anonymous tim f said...

I broadly agree. I don't feel strongly either way on the 42 days issue, (I don't think it is the be all and end all of combatting terrorism and I don't think it undermines ancient liberties either), but it does seem like the lords feel they're better informed and better morally than the public and can just throw out whatever they feel like. Talk about elitist.

I too would like to see the government make this an issue about democracy and use it to completely abolish the lords. I suppose there are more pressing things on the PM's mind, (the global economy springs to mind), - and there is the question of how you'd keep Mandelson in the cabinet! - but you're right, the government won't get a better chance than this to pick a fight with the lords and abolish them.

Where I disagree with you is I don't think we need a democratically elected second chamber to compete with the Commons - I don't think we need a second chamber at all.

5:57 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Why do we need 42 days...it's not been needed so far....

It's a long time to be locked up without charge.

7:07 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Blogger Mark Still News said...

Its time MI5 MI6 stopped infiltrating Trade Unions and Socialist political parties and got on with the job of catching the terrorists?
Innocent until proven guilty, 42 days is a long time for ones loss of liberty.How many times as it happened before they get the wrong person

7:50 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Oxbridge Prat said...

Luke, you're turning into a parody of yourself. Not pretty.

Tell you what - if you're so convinced the people are behind you, why not hold a referendum? You could do it at the same time as the promised referendum on the EU constitution. You could even chuck in the promised referendum on the voting system.

7:51 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

I'm not at all convinced there is a need to hold someone for that long without charge. Can you imagine the damage this would do to your family and the relationship you have with your friends and employer.

All I can say thank god we have a house of lords that is wise enough to throw out this bill.

This bill has as much to do with Browns fight with the left of the party as it does with security. This is playing politics with liberties.

8:12 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous tim f said...

I think it was fairly clearly established who is playing politics with this issue when David Davis resigned and stood for election again.

8:14 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Andy said...

You're full of s**t Luke. 42 days is the latterday equivalent of Bread and Circuses, nothing more.

Get your head out of Brown's arse and START THINKING. Brighter people than you throughout history have commented that you never achieve security by removing liberty - and if you believe you do you're a dumb prat

8:18 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous tim f said...

andy, it's the kind of argument you make that meant I never fully bought either side's argument on this issue.

A lot of my friends were against the proposal so I ought to have been easy to win over, but specious platitudes like "it's the abolition of magna carta" and "you never achieve security by removing liberty" made me think there were no good arguments against the proposals, or else people would have been making them!

Those kinds of arguments are just as vague and uncompelling as the assertion that the proposals will keep us safer (without saying how).

In the absence of good arguments on either side I'll take the side of the majority against a minority alliance of Independent and Telegraph readers, and of the democratically elected chamber against the undemocratic one.

8:40 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Andy said...

Tim
It's really not a specious argument. When Jefferson said this he truly understood that you protect citizens by applying the rule of law (funding police, that sort of thing), not by giving police the power to lock people up.

Terrorism is appalling of course, but yopu deal with it by good old fashioned police work, not by assuming evryone who has uttered the word "bomb" or "allah" or who is brown must be a terorist.

Get it?
Cheers

8:49 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Andy said...

Tim
apologies for the dreadful spelling in my last comment - fast typing ain't my thing!

8:51 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Blogger Darrell G said...

It's true that the Lords are undemocratic but then again the governments 'pork barrel' chichanery to get this bill narrowly through the Commons wasnt that democratic either was it???

The Lords were right in the stand they took...the government failed to make it's case; it lost...i suggest it's supporters deal with it and stop 'acting tough' and start actually protecting people...

9:00 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous tim f said...

andy, there were plenty of safeguards in this bill. It didn't seem likely that it would ever be used to lock up more than double digits (and low double digits at that) of people every year. If we were locking up anyone who 'uttered the word "bomb" or "allah" or who is brown' then of course I'd be against it, but that's a straw man.

I'm not sure that terrorism can be dealt with just through old-fashioned policing methods.

9:28 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous tim f said...

The argument that you protect citizens by asserting the rule of law is dangerous when terrorists act so far outside the rule of law, and so far outside the rational consensus.

9:30 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Blogger Mark Still News said...

MI5 & MI6 should stop watching Bob Crow 24-7 and the RMT . They should do their work and catch terrorists?

9:39 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Tim F, that was David Davis making a stand for what he thinks is important. Whether you agree with it or not he clearly wanted to make a point to the country and to the conservative party that there is still support for keeping British freedoms.

We keep nibbling away at our liberties but in the end the result with be the creation of a monster. We live in a democracy and we don't need a climate of fear to force legislation through our parliament.

9:52 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

I seen enough of security to know that when needed the rules are broken anyway. Special forces before the Iraq war were given clear orders to elimate any civilians that blew cover during reconnaissance missions....this breaks numerous laws. Young goat herders were often shot as result of stumbling across our troops deep in Iraq territory.

We don't need more laws as when needed the security forces act outside of them without our knowledge....just remember the torture denials.

The only way we will tackle terrorism is to resolve the conflicts in the middle east. Turning Britain into a police state will almost create more of a threat on home soil. The Islamic extremists will produce propaganda on how fellow muslims are being locked up for 42 days and tortured by special branch. This is how they work and to this day they use pictures from both Afganistan and Iraq to recuit new fighters.

10:06 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

Sometimes governments overstretch their authority and need someone or something to hold them back. There are precisely no compelling reasons for 42 days, and I am glad they have realised that there are better things to worry about. Every other country manages without such regulations, and if the Government have evidence - charge the people concerned with a lesser charge whilst one investigates further

10:52 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

.... and whats the point of having a second chamber made up of the same % of people as the first? I do agree with an elected second chamber but on a strict PR basis and elections held between fixed general elections - so no party controls it. The result, then, would have been the same.

10:54 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

I agree mike, I think the second chamber needs electing but without party ties. I'm just glad there was a second chamber on this occasion elected or non elected they have managed preserve a great british freedom...."innocent before proven guilty".

11:33 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lords have just done Gordon Brown and the Labour Party a great favour. Isn't it time you got real, Luke?

11:49 pm, October 14, 2008

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

"I would have used it as the final straw reason to abolish the absurd anachronism of an unelected, unaccountable House of Lords."

Hang on a sec, Luke. Only last week you were banging on how great it was that Peter Mandelson was back in the government. Yet the only way this discredited and unelected figure was able to get back into government was through the Lords. And you seemed perfectly comfortable with that. So are you in favour of elected ministers and legislatures or not? Would you kick Lord Mandy out of government?

Not doing too well on the joined-up thinking front are we? Or is your definition of a democrat merely 'someone who agrees with me'?

1:12 am, October 15, 2008

 
Blogger kris said...

OT

Here's what I want to know, how much Hackney Council money has been invested in Icelandic banks?

8:42 am, October 15, 2008

 
Blogger Mark Still News said...

Those conspiracy theories saying it was an inside job this 9/11, are not being dismissed as madness by everyone, more and more people are believing it.

They put up big money for a reward leading to the capture of Bin Laden and those responsible and the use of sophisticated tracking equipment, surely by now they would have got him. In Afghanistan and Pakistan some sell their own daughters for a few pounds, what would would they do for 15 million. All we have so far is a lot of people being tortured and many false confessions extracted under barbaric torture and isolation. The whole thing is bullshit and a way of eroding all of our civil liberties.

12:25 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no reason to say that society is any less safe without the 42 day rule.

Who's to say that the authorities are any more or less likely to catch terrorist with an extra 14 days.

Why should civil liberties be put at risk but because the authorities can't get their act together and find evidence in time as they do in other cases.

1:01 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous James said...

Totally disagree Luke. This is one of the few good things the second chamber has done.

1:42 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Problem is that it is not members of the House of Lords wqho are likely to be maimed in a terrorist outrage, it will be ordinary working people.

I think there are many posters on the internet whinging about "42" days, or misinterpreting "Magna Carta" who whole ability to do so rests upon the security forces dedication.

3:09 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Blogger Duncan Hall said...

While I agree with you that we need to abolish the House of Lords, I think this rather illustrates the benefits of a revising second chamber: the anti-terrorism act will be a better piece of legislation as a result of this change. So the solution to our impasse is to get a democratic second chamber that can perform this scrutinising role.

6:40 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous The Voice of Reason said...

I completely agree with Luke. I would not be surprised if some of the opponents on here were in cahoots with some of the murkier groups that haunt our society and will benefit from the bill.

I hope Luke gets to a position of real influence and power soon so this issue can be pushed through. In fact i'd make it 90 days instead

7:49 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Kris

Nil.

Hackney had some money in Icelandic banks until a year ago then moved it all.

9:33 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy your sanctimonius, pathetic warblings Luke. Labour are finished. Cynical tricks like 42 days are, well, cynical tricks.

Once again the noble Lords, steeped in tradition and the grand sense of historic liberty that you so totally lack, have made the right decision for posterity.

9:34 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Well I lived through Northern Ireland and we didn't need 42 days then so why now.

There are simply too many questions unanswered for this bill to be passed. All I hear from our government are fear tactics and no anwsers. If they want it passed please justify the need.

9:38 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

It will be interesting to see how Labour do in the next byelection...due in November sometime as no one has given a date.

I'm getting the feeling that Brown has done very little to keep the left of the party happy. I'm hearing rumours that in many areas the traditional labour voter is dropping labour in the droves. Obviously these won't be voting for the conservatives but more importantly they won't be voting Labour.

9:50 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Are you really that scared of terrorist people....jesus. From some of these posts you would think we were under siege. Get things into perspective please. The chance of you being blown up are slim....you have a better chance of winning the lottery.

Life is full of dangers, if you had to do a risk assessment for just driving to work...you wouldn't leave your house. Terrorism is rare in the UK and we have never been safer.

The way some of you are carrying on shows just how selfish you really are. Thousands of British troops are fighting in some of the most dangerous battle zones in the world and you are worried about being blown up on mainland UK.

Cowards

9:58 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Blogger kris said...

(RE: Hackney funds in Icelandic Banks)

Dear Diary...

Thank you for Hackney finance officers.

10:39 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Blogger kris said...

Dear Rich

Having served in the military and having a partner in the Met I can unashamedly say that I have a well founded fear of another atrocity on British soil. It's just a matter of time.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

10:42 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Blogger Mark Still News said...

The situation in Northern Ireland was a deadlock because of all parties clashed and continued for a long time.When Rory Gallagher the blues guitarist played in Belfast, Republicans and Loyalists sat side by side and experienced the best guitarist the world had ever seen.In a way this started uniting some of the people. In the 80's Ken Livingston and Tony wedge-wood Benn through their initiative attempted to get some dialogue going, that actually started. The right wingers portrayed them as mad people. A few years later, the right winger John Major adopted part of the Livingston and Benn initiative and had talks with all parties and then right winger Blair made sure this prevailed. Now it's nearly resolved this northern Ireland conflict. Only because of democratic dialogue rather than guns.The imperialists would rather have a conflict with the rag heads, so they have an enemy and to justify the military expenditure and make even more money out of the arms trade they all have shares in?

10:50 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Dirty Euro said...

I support strong laws rather than the SAS death sqauds the tories used on the IRA. Misscarriages of justice are better for the courts than the secret police the tories set up.
It is war against terrorism and is not a like ordinary crime but in reality history shows it is either death squads or strong laws.

11:27 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Dirty Euro said...

rich are you aware mrs thatcher gave the sas a shoot to kill policy. Tell me where was this BS about magna carta then. It is fake liberalism.

11:29 pm, October 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Dirty Euroean Socialist said...

Rich
"Life is full of dangers, if you had to do a risk assessment for just driving to work...you wouldn't leave your house. Terrorism is rare in the UK and we have never been safer."
To you terrorism is just part of the entertainment industry.

12:04 am, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Dyanne Costello said...

Blogger Mark Still News said...
The imperialists would rather have a conflict with the rag heads, so they have an enemy and to justify the military expenditure and make even more money out of the arms trade they all have shares in?


Ouch! I hope you are not having a dig at my loyal comrade, Luke, here. OK he makes a nice packet out of aiding and abetting the warmongering elite, such as his "defence" sector clients, who include multi-billion dollar Iraq war contract beneficiaries Northrop Grumman, GKN Westland and Textron Systems, but he's not stupid enough to feature them in his share portfolio!

2:38 am, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Dyanne Costello said...

By the way, Luke. While British householders face record hikes in their energy bills this winter, the position is rather different on the continent where, due to greater state involvement, price rises are nowhere near as high.

Bugger our banks! Are you going to join the call for our energy utilities to be re-nationalised?

3:31 am, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Dear, so Rich's rich imagination now places him as a veteran of Ulster. Funny, cos over the months, Rich claims that he has worked for long periods in the North, West Midlands, East Anglia, London. As an employer and business man, and as a down trodden worker.

Dear readers please mark this up on your lists of fairy tales by Rich.

GW

1:23 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous dirty european socailsit said...

rich your just a liar

go bak to your frends in the gae torie maffia

this is a bolg for godron bronw suppotrers

1:32 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous stephen said...

The Labour party had the opportunity to abolish the Houe of Lords. You chose not to because you thought that it would be of more use to you as a repository for your political place men. Well guess what ... even your placemen failed to support you on 42 days. It was a crap idea, that you've never been able to justify, and the Lords properly rejected it as it is entitled to do under our constitution. If you think that this of all times is a good point to pick a fight with the Lords when you should be directing 110% of your efforts to the economy then you are simply demonstrating why your party is unfitted for government.

4:38 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous stephen said...

The argument that you protect citizens by asserting the rule of law is dangerous when terrorists act so far outside the rule of law, and so far outside the rational consensus

If you abolish the rule of law, which the nuttier apologists for tyranny posting here want to do, it is not just suspected terrorists who are put in jeopardy but everyone. And what the hell is "when terrorists act so far outside the rule of law" supposed to mean? Newsflash - they are terrorists so so what do you fucking well expect them to do? On the other hand, I expect the forces of law and order to abide by the law. I am expected to obey the law and I damned well expect the government and its servants to do the same. What precisely is the problem with that?

4:49 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Stephen

I didn't choose not to abolish the Lords - I've always argued for a 100% elected second chamber.

This isn't actually the official website of the Labour Party - it's the unofficial website of my personal views.

4:52 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous stephe said...

made me think there were no good arguments against the proposals, or else people would have been making them!

Tim, it is not up to the opponents of this proposal to come with an argument against it. It is up to the side proposing it to make the case. The fact that no one could come up with a compelling argument for it is the most compelling case against it.

You Labourites wanted this change. You couldn't come up with a good case for it. Therefore you rightly lost.

4:56 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous stephen said...

I didn't choose not to abolish the Lords - I've always argued for a 100% elected second chamber

So why conflate the argument about an elected chamber with the argument for 42 days detention? An elected second chamber, elected on PR and without whips, would very likely have also rejected 42 days. Voting against 'public opinion' is neither here nor there. The second chamber has a constitutional obligation to scrutinise legislation and if that means going against public opinion then so be it. This is *representative* democracy or had you forgotten?

This isn't actually the official website of the Labour Party - it's the unofficial website of my personal views

Yes, I am well aware of that. I was using 'you' in the sense of your party and government, not you personally.

5:04 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

The shoot to kill policy didnt' go through parliament, which was the point I made earlier. It wasn't an official policy it was a secret that got blown open.....just like the latest torture flights.

When needed the secret service runs outside of the law, they obey no rules at all. So why do we need to pass an act that authorizes 40+ days when they would probably just fly you off to some Eastern European integration centre.

If you were known to be a threat and you had no further use .....then I'm afraid you wouldn't be alive very long. The SAS have a squad on standby to deal with anyone or incident or threat. Why do you think we have a secret service?

Terrorism is not new, this country has seen a lot worse than these pesky bunch of islamic extremists can offer. There is no reason to be afraid at all as it is all scare tactics to force this bill through.

9:20 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Dirty Euro said...

Rich So in your view it is OK to shoot dead suspected terrorists, but niot OK to lock them up for 42 days. Just thin about that.
This crap from the tories about 42 days is is all stinking bull ####. I support strong laws so we do not need death squads all your #### about liberalism and Thacther never needing strong laws is utterrly #### if you then turn around and accept that the SAS did death squads.

10:17 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Did I say it was ok....NO. What I'm saying is about what actually happens in the real world. You talk about the conservatives but what also about the current government. There are known links with torture and supporting torture.....I think I'd prefer to be killed than tortured and then killed.

Really this bill makes matters worse as it gives the unknowns even more power. The police and special branch have rules but giving them 42 days is making them a lot more like secret police. And since the definition of terrorism is so loosely termed just about anyone could be locked up under the current legislation.

And by the way the SAS still do the same job today. Nothing has changed a target plus orders equals a kill and no questions.

There are certain things that are secret and in this country the officials secrets act means that somethings are kept secret. We are one of the few countries which has a level of secrecy that means you will never find out....no matter how long.

I'd much prefer to trust the SAS with the job of killing terrorists than our police. The whole idea of special branch running around with guns after the De Menezes bodge makes me a lot more scared terrorism.

10:40 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Blogger Mark Still News said...

Now this country condones torture-the worse terrorists will become, we have lost a lot of value's or did we have them in the 1st place?

11:47 pm, October 16, 2008

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

"I didn't choose not to abolish the Lords - I've always argued for a 100% elected second chamber."

So you agree that the unelected Mandelson shouldn't be in government, then?

2:48 am, October 17, 2008

 
Anonymous Haggerston Harry said...

Is it just me or do other people think the Government's arguments for stronger anti-terrorism laws were weakened - the moment Gordon started abusing our existing anti-terrorism laws to stymie Iceland and its defaulting bank sector?

Just wondered.

3:27 am, October 17, 2008

 
Anonymous stephen said...

Is it just me or do other people think the Government's arguments for stronger anti-terrorism laws were weakened - the moment Gordon started abusing our existing anti-terrorism laws to stymie Iceland and its defaulting bank sector?

No it's not just you. Of course, the use of anti-terrorist legislation against Iceland is not thre first use of terr4orist legislation outside its original remit. That is why laws should not be loosely draft and why we should never, ever trust a government when it says 'give us these powers as we'll never use them'.

When RIPA was passed in 2000 we were told by this government that it would only be used in the investigation of terrorism or serious organised crime. Trust us, they said. What do we find? RIPA being used routinely by local government to investigate utterly trivial infractions. FFS, they even used it to investigate a family whom they thought had misrepresented their place of residence to get into their school of choice. Any law that does not have a tightly defined domain of application written into the statute will be used for other purposes.

8:46 am, October 17, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

But that is why they have loosely drafted these laws so they can apply them for any number of national crisis situations.

For example a national strike could be conceived by our legal system as terrorism and the organizers could be locked up for 42 days under this government plans.

There are no limits to how they will apply this legislation. Vote for this and you vote for the end of a FREE UK.

Please also remember Luke, that it wasn't just the conservatives that voted against this. It was also a large number your own back benchers, so please don't blame the opposition for this.

4:29 pm, October 17, 2008

 
Anonymous Carter said...

Tell you what, let's have a proper vote on it.

Call a general election.

3:27 am, October 19, 2008

 

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