Close, but a majority is a majority

We won. More importantly, our security services could soon have more powers with which to protect us.

About an hour ago I walked back to the Commons from a meeting outside the estate to be told by a friend/journalist that we were about to lose on 42 days. A Labour colleague shortly afterwards confirmed this gloomy news. So when we finally saw how the whips were standing – our tellers were standing on the Speaker’s left – we knew before the figures had been read out that we had won.

Lots of unhappy faces among the Tories. The LibDems are being bitchy to those fine men and women of the DUP and UUP. The media pack are trying their best to put a negative spin on an unexpected government victory. And I’m off to have dinner.



Filed under Labour, Parliament, Politics

3 responses to “Close, but a majority is a majority

  1. Andrew F

    Oh please. You bought nine votes (plus god knows how many rebels) and won by nine votes. If you “won” the vote, then I won this can of coke.

    I feel like crying: a Labour government is trying to reduce my pallet of civil liberties before I’ve even got hold of all of them. Not only that, but you’re so keen on the idea that you’re going to spend millions of pounds to do it.

    I’m not deluded enough to think that the Tories are fighting for the cause of liberalism – they just wanted to deliver one of the final blows to GB. So, watching 500-odd MPs playing politics with rights which really ought to be sacrosant was particularly depressing end to a nice day on the South Downs. But has Cameron ever said words more profound than, “It may be popular, but we’re not here to do what’s popular. We’re here to do what’s right.”?

    If the Western world is to survive, it is inevitable that through some mechanism Islamic fundamentalism will have to fade away. Certainly, paranoia about terrorism will do. However, the notion that it’s okay for the state to lock someone up for six weeks without accusing them of a crime, the notion that habeas corpus is something we can just abolish in difficult times… those are things that permenately damage the soul of a nation.

    The media pack are trying their best to put a negative spin on an unexpected government victory. And I’m off to have dinner.

    That pretty much sums up why I’m upset. It’s not a game. Changing the birth-rights of citizens should the most noble of endeavours, the most idealistic of pursuits, the most carefully considered of ventures. Murdoch’s opinion polls should be irrelevant; money should never change hands; and it is a process that should never be casually followed by, “And now for a spot of dinner.”

    It’s not your fault that the romanticism has faded, but, my god, it makes me sad to see it.

    Finally, I’m aware that you have no influence over Home Office policy – but I take a little comfort from the letting a government minister know how I feel. 🙂 Thanks.

  2. Don’t agree with your views, Andrew, but a brilliant comment. You should start your own blog. Seriously.

  3. Math Campbell

    I concur with Andrew F. And, as you say, he should start a blog. He has encapsulated the point extremely well (and far more eloquently than I, I’d add).
    However, I feel the need to put my oar in. My apologies for this…

    The 42 days issue is a simple one at heart. Do we, as a society believe that it is right to hold people without telling them why, for 6 weeks?

    Do we, as a society believe that the State has the right to “disappear” people without having to explain itself for 6 weeks at a time.
    I believe we do not. I believe, despite what the tabloid press might have made the “man-on-the-street” think, that these countries in which we live (Scotland, Wales, England and NI) hold the right of habeas corpus to be sacrosanct.

    One only needs look back to the turmoil of the seventies in Northern Ireland, with government intervention and some very suspect behaviour by the security services there to see what the citizenry end up feeling about government.

    The State doesn’t need to hold someone for 42 days without charging them. MI5 & MI6 have both confirmed they haven’t asked for this.
    If a suspect is so dangerous that you think the State has the right to imprison them without trial for 6 weeks, then clearly the regular plod won’t be the ones handing out the must-have wrist accessories.
    So, if the Security Services haven’t asked for it and the civil liberties brigade are ready to lynch you for it (or at least write a very strong letter and perhaps have some t-shirts made), perhaps, just perhaps it’s not the right thing to do.

    To sum up, I never, ever, ever thought I’d agree with the Tories on anything, ever. But it comes to something when a Tory says “enough is enough” and raises concerns that we’re turning into a police state.

    If the Police haven’t the evidence to charge someone, then let them go, and by all means watch them. But the state has no right to kidnap people, or hold them without trying them in front of a jury of their peers and a judge.
    Even in the Dark Ages we knew this. It’s in the Magna Carta.
    The way things are going, it’s a good thing the UK doesn’t have a unified constitution like the USA. It’d be horrible to see it getting torn-up like this.

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