Azara Blog: Blair ungracious in defeat on terror proposals

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Date published: 2005/11/10

The BBC says:

Tony Blair has accused some MPs of being out of touch with the public and of failing to face the terror threat.

Mr Blair met his Cabinet after a vote on anti-terror plans brought his first Commons defeat as prime minister.

He told ministers there was a "worrying gap between parts of Parliament and the reality of the terrorist threat and public opinion".

MPs on Wednesday rejected plans to allow police to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

The plans were defeated by 31 votes, with 49 Labour MPs rebelling against the government.
Conservative ex-Cabinet ministers Peter Lilley and Stephen Dorrell have criticised the government for using chief constables to lobby MPs ahead of the detention plan vote.

In a Commons motion, they said they feared the move was a "damaging step towards the politicisation of the police".

Well Blair and some of the media (in particular Rupert Murdoch's Sun "newspaper") have been spreading terror stories for awhile now, so it would not be too surprising if a (small) majority of the public backed Blair on the terror proposals. Of course a majority of the public also backs hanging, but Blair does not seem too keen on that. And a majority of the public would back just about anything (e.g. abolishing free speech) with sufficient government and media manipulation. The real question is whether Britain should move further towards dictatorship, where anyone can be locked up just because the government says they should be. And it seems that Downing Street "requested" that chief contables write anodyne emails to MPs in order to try to swing the vote yesterday. Good old New Labour, spin merchants to the end.

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