UK Politics

The answer is…….42

Brown has won the key vote to extend detention without charge to 42 days. There’s still the battle in the Lords to face, but it seems reports of his political death have been exaggerated.

I don’t feel particularly strongly about this issue (albeit I think much of the opposing argument has been a mixture of misinformation and hyperbolic doom-mongering about civil liberties). That said, Gary Hindle makes a good case for 42 days in today’s Guardian (a case conspicuous by its absence from government efforts to convince). His main point is that the additional judicial oversight and obligation on the state to show progress on evidence represents an advance for civil liberties on the existing arrangements which in effect allow for “detention with charge but no evidence”. This has always been the essential flaw in the Liberty and Lib Dem proposal that suspects could be charged for minor offences whilst investigations continue. Hindle shows why this is both more illiberal and exposed to the risk of greater abuse by state actors.

Open your mind and read it all.

Oh, and “bought the vote” bleating from Tories and Lib Dems is beyond a joke. I have no idea whether the DUP were offered financial inducements to vote with the government, but unless you believe that all (bar one) Tories and Lib Dems think as one on this issue – and that there are no opposition MPs voting purely to defeat the government rather than on the issue itself – this is nothing more that the most sour of political grapes.