June 12, 2008

Student Opinion: 42 Pre Charge Detention

The Labour government was yesterday successful in the passing the terror law through the House of Commons, which may soon mean terror suspects can be held for up to 42 days without being charged. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith stated the obvious reasons for the legislation of national interest and the view that the threat of terror is wholly new and unique.

The government were, however, very fortunate in getting the legislation through the House of Commons; it has a majority of 66 but only managed to win with a margin of 9. 36 Labour MPs rebelled with the government having to make concessions to the Democratic Unionist Party MPs. The House of Lords still has to make a decision with the likely outcome being that they will send it back to the Commons.

But away from the number politics of the whole vote, what do students here at Warwick make of the issue? Do they reflect the wider, national opinion that holding people without 42 is perfectly in line with the tradition of civil liberties in the UK? I spoke to a few on the eve of the vote, to find out what they thought.

Also, have another chance to listen to David Davis, who resigned over the issue, and the new Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve, who we interviewed back in February on the subjects of liberty and security:

David Davis:

Dominic Grieve:


- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Sue

    On the face of it this all seems like a big fuss about nothing to me although I admit to not knowing much about the background to this story as I generally go out of my way to avoid things like this when they’re in the news. I’m surprised how strongly people feel about it, especially as, I would have thought that the vast majority of people who are detained on suspicion of terrorism turn out to be terrorists.

    12 Jun 2008, 23:04

  2. “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” – James Madison

    “Liberty is eroded at the margins” – Clive Stafford Smith

    “Give an inch, he’ll take an ell.” – Thomas Hobbes

    “the vast majority of people who are detained on suspicion of terrorism turn out to be terrorists” – Yes but there will be some innocents. The government has already used counter terrorism laws against people who were obviously not terrorists.

    13 Jun 2008, 23:32

  3. Sue

    “The vast majority of people who are detained on suspicion of terrorism turn out to be terrorists.” I’ve since been informed that this is not the case at all and I’ve changed my mind quite radically since I wrote it. As I said before I wasn’t very well up on the background to all this and it’s now been explained to me that the threat of terrorism in this country has been grossly exaggerated and that we’re being lead to believe that terrorism is worse than murder and so it warrants different laws. In fact, nothing has changed and so there is no need to change a law which has been in existence for many years. The reasons I was given as to why the public have been misled about the severity of the threat of terrorism I find quite hard to believe and rather disturbing. I’m a bit reluctant to believe that a government would have an agenda with its own benefits in sight rather than for the good of the electorate and I’m choosing not to believe that for the sake of my own peace of mind more than anything else.

    In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley warns of the dangers of moral anarchy in a scientific age. Later in “Time must have a Stop” he said “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that’s your own self.”

    14 Jun 2008, 01:13

  4. Polly Filleur

    Go David Davis!

    14 Jun 2008, 17:47

  5. Sue

    Is it just me or is David Davis quite dishy? I once went out with someone of the same name but he was Dave Davies (note the e).

    14 Jun 2008, 19:00


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