Azara Blog: Blair defends his police state

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Date published: 2005/10/11

The BBC says:

Tony Blair has warned it would be "irresponsible" to ignore police calls to let them hold terrorist suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

In his monthly media conference he denied criticism from opposition parties and civil liberties groups that he was "authoritarian".

"This is what we need to make this country safe," he added.
Currently, suspects can be held for up to 14 days without charge.

Mr Blair said the police had provided good evidence for extending this period - such as the complex nature of terror cases, which involved gathering large amounts of evidence.

He added: "I care deeply about the civil liberties of this country."

Asked about criticism by judges of the government's proposed terror plans, Mr Blair said: "All I'm saying to the judiciary is be aware there's a proper role for the judiciary and a proper role for Parliament."

Terrorist activity was "of a wholly different order" from any before.

Mr Blair said: "We need to make sure therefore that we give ourselves every possible opportunity to prevent such terrorist acts occurring."

He cared most about "one basic civil liberty, which is the right to life of our citizens and freedom from terrorism".

So the police want to be able to hold people for 90 days with no real evidence. And Mr Blair thinks this is a jolly good idea. How many terrorist incidents will be prevented as a result of these dictatorial powers? How many wholly innocent people will be locked up as a result of these dictatorial powers? How many guilty people will actually be trapped as a result of these dictatorial powers? It's ever so touching that Blair worries about "freedom from terrorism", it's just too bad he personally brought the UK smack into the front line of terrorism by launching an illegal war on Iraq with his buddy Bush.

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