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.