An important blow for freedom

Yesterday the Lords finished off what we had started in the Commons – the attack on the government’s proposal to lock people up for 42 days without charge or trial. They did it in style. The government could not get many of its supporters to the vote, and faced a rebellion from amongst those who did attend. They went down to a huge defeat.

Many of us went to the Commons at 8.30 pm to hear the emergency statement of the Home Secretary on this flagship measure. For once she showed wisdom, and decided to abandon the measure in the anti terorism bill.

Unfortunately she did not do it with grace. A sensible Minister would have said she had listened carefully to the voices and votes in both Lords and Commons, and decided on reflection to accept the advice of Parliament. Instead we were hectored and told we were wrong. We were told she had prepared another bill to do the same thing, but instead of seeking to put it through the Commons she would place it in the Library.

People think more highly of Ministers who sometimes admit they were wrong, or at least bow gracefully to the views of others when they are strong and have a good case.

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11 Comments

  1. APL
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    JR: "Yesterday the Lords finished off what we had started in the Commons – the attack on the government’s proposal to lock people up for 42 days without charge or trial."

    Thank god, and thanks to those who opposed this unnatural measure. This issue has had so many appearances in Parliament, like the Identity card project, it resembles Dracula, no one seems to be able to get the stake directly through its heart.

    By the way, now that the government owns most of the UK banks, expect to see the Id card system brought in by the back door. It will also have a mechanism to prevent bank runs – that is, in economic conditions defined by the government, you will be restricted by the card from drawing more than five Labour units of credit per day.

    Out of curiosity…. how did Kinnock and Mandelson vote?

    For their masters in Brussels, or for Liberty?

  2. Paul Williams
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    "Instead we were hectored and told we were wrong"

    Why should you get away with it, when the voters don't 🙂

    This is one of the many reasons why Labour are so low in the polls – not that they understand that of course.

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Jackie Smith ~ Gracious…… hmmmmm….

    Sorry John, it's a juxtaposition that just doesn't seem to sit well

  4. rugfish
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I wouldn't have believed a bill made to rob us of our liberty would have gone anywhere except in the waste paper basket until I watched it in the common with my own eyes. It was as APL says, like Dracula returning from the grave after 90 days.
    Now may it rest and leave us in peace please, and I say thank you to those Lords and MP's who voted against this nonsense.

    As for Labour, I'm afraid it may take more than a well positioned stake to finish them off but I think a few decently aimed uppercuts could well do the trick if someone manages to land them properly.

  5. Tony Makara
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    We can't expect any humility from the home secretary, she is rather typical of the unbalanced Labour approach to politics. Just as she has lost the support of our police force she shows the same poor interpersona skilsl in dealing with the house. One has to wonder why the prime minister keeps Ms Smith in a position with such a high public profile. How often Jacqui Smith been a source of humiliation for Mr Brown. Surely the PM could appoint a more balanced and less clumsy Home Secretary?

  6. duncan robertson
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognizing my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes… George Soros

  7. Freeborn John
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s a small victory but the bigger picture is the erosion of liberty under both Conservative and Labour governments in the last three decades. The Conservatives have been focussed on a narrow agenda of economic liberalism for too long. Something now needs to be done about the erosion of both civil liberties and representative government. 28 days is still too long. More and more decisions are taken by those beyond the reach of our votes.

  8. Richard
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    What does 'put it in the library' mean?

    Sounds like after all the fuss has died down this provision will just get put into law quietly over the Christmas holiday or something

  9. Neil Craig
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    The government were right to say this is the end of their long campaign, started when they believed the public wanted it. The financial crisis provides a good day to bury their bad news.

  10. Glyn H
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Just musing on the likelihood of a New Labour personage being gracious at any time: Would that be John Prescott, Paul Boetang, that poly-lecturer who wrecked Network Rail, Alun Michael, Shirti Vardera, Gordon Brown on being told on 2nd May 1997 that the economy was in even better condition that had been thought, Mrs Blair on leaving Downing Street? The nearest they came to being gracious was when Mr Blair explained he was ‘a pretty straight kinda guy’, which only this week has been exposed to be a direct calumny. Today sees the utter wreckage of our PM’s policies for the last nine years being peddled as Gordon saves the world. Campbell, that gracious being, sure is back.

    (Some colourful adjectives left out-ed)

  11. mikestallard
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Hooray for the Rump of the Lords!
    We take for granted what has been imposed on us.
    Do you remember Tony Blair's disgusted act of hating the hereditary principle and so getting rid of the hereditary peers? (Words left out -ed)
    Lloyd George, too destroyed his party. He sold honours for cash.
    What a party! And they promised, when in opposition to abolish sleaze!

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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