The Labour Party's leaders have become masterful at manipulating public perceptions. In the current "debate" (if such it can be called when HM Opposition is silent) they first proposed the ludicrous new crime of "glorifying terrorism". Critics ridiculed it. They "backed down". See? They are "listening".
Then the debate moved to the three months' period of detention without trial (and without charge). Labour's people hint they will "compromise". The Lib Dems, the only politicians engaging in the debate, signal they will not budge. They are quite right to say so, but they have fallen into a negotiating trap. Labour will say the Lib Dems are unreasonable and uncompromising, someone from the leaderless Tories will agree and suggest a compromise, and the current 14 day period for police to make a case or release a suspect will be extended, if not to 3 months, then to 2. Next year Labour will propose 12 months - and so it goes on.
The public senses the rhythms of these debates, but does not follow the details. Labour is well-tuned to the rhythms and exploits them beautifully. No-one even asks the question "...but isn't 14 days already too long for an innocent man to be held against his will without the blessing of the courts..?" No-one even considers how such powers could be abused.
Under the proposed new regime, annoy your local police and you could find yourself repeatedly held in custody for two months and 29 days on suspicion. You won't be able to challenge the police in court. You won't be entitled to know on what suspicion you were held. You will never be able to challenge a policeman again, no matter what he is doing to you or your family.
Is that an unreasonable and disloyal scenario? Is it unfair to our gallant police? I think that's what you would have told me if I had predicted that an 82-year old member of the Labour Party would be prevented from entering the party's conference under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. I think that's what you would have told me if I had predicted that an innocent young man whose actions gave no reasonable grounds for suspicion would be shot 7 times in the head by muddled flatfoots on the London Underground, on the basis of an over-the-shoulder glimpse by a colleague taking a leak in the bushes outside a block of flats.
Compromise between good and evil is evil. Labour's massive assault on our civil liberties is evil.
Telegraph | News | Hoon indicates possible compromise over anti-terror laws