Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/384/4828
Oppose Clarke's terror bill
AS WE predicted in last week's editorial of the socialist, New Labour's draconian anti-terror bill got a rough ride in the House of Lords. Home Secretary Charles Clarke's new legislation gives the government enormous powers to detain anyone they choose to, without trial.
The powers would include putting people under house arrest and electronic tagging. New Labour intends to use the Bill to severely restrict people's movements without the 'inconvenience' of having to bring them to court and find them guilty of any crime.
Socialists oppose this arrogant attack on hard-won democratic rights. Clarke's bill will have no more success in its avowed aim of 'fighting terrorism' and bringing peace than the panoply of 'counter-terror' measures previously introduced, such as the brutal jury-free Diplock courts used in Northern Ireland from the 1970s.
As expected, the peers voted to make sure that all control orders giving these huge powers are made by a judge rather than by the Home Secretary. This attempt at introducing safeguards into a totally undemocratic situation of imprisonment without trial will make little difference, however. Suspects still won't know what they are accused of or the evidence on which they are being held.
In The Socialist 12 March 2005: