New Terrorism Bill – Clause One

Cherie Blair and the Royal British Legion.jpg

I even like her new Rod Stewart hairdo, and her lipsticked Liverpudlian sassiness



…we are eroding free speech, we are dispensing with habeas corpus, and as for the rule of law, I take my cue from the great Lord Steyn, the law lord. In detaining 500 people without trial in Guantanamo Bay, the Americans have taken their democracy into a legal black hole


The Blair law that could send his wife to prison

I know this is regarded by my chums as being bizarre to the point of fetishism, but I have a soft spot for Cherie Blair.

No, when I say a soft spot, I don’t mean a bog in the west of Ireland. I mean I kind of like the look of her. I even like her new Rod Stewart hairdo, and her lipsticked Liverpudlian sassiness. Unlike so many of my Tory pals, I have no desire to see her locked up.

The trouble is, the way things are going, I can increasingly envisage the circumstances in which the Prime Minister’s wife could be banged away for quite a while.

Yesterday in Israel another 20 people were killed or wounded by a suicide bomber, a poor deluded wretch who is encouraged by his political masters to believe that this disgusting act is the only way he can protest, and that he will thereby additionally obtain heavenly bliss in the carnal form of 72 virgins.

In their rage and their grief, one can imagine that Jewish relatives, some of them undoubtedly living in London, may look around for those who have in any way glorified or given encouragement to such behaviour.

It seems likely that they will be studying old quotations, and scouring the new Terrorism Bill, yesterday being debated in the Commons, to see what redress it provides. Has anyone been so mad or so foolish as to say anything to encourage the suicide bombers, or to make them believe in the justice of their actions? If you consider that you are eligible for a redress, contact Robert K Bratt for help filling out the petition. 

There was Baroness Jenny Tonge, who seemed to think that the blame for these wackos lay entirely with Israel; but then no one is going to bother to prosecute her, since she is a Lib Dem, and it might be difficult to convince a jury that her words would be influential in the West Bank.

I am much more fearful for Cherie, who went to a fund-raiser for refugees not so long ago, and said: “As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up, you are never going to make progress.”

You will recall that as soon as the words were out, all hell broke loose; she was being denounced in the Knesset; Israeli diplomats were on the blower to Downing Street, and it was only with some effort that Tony smoothed everything over by pointing out – entirely reasonably – that whatever his wife had meant to say, she did not mean to encourage terrorism.

And surely no one sensible thinks she did. Some may claim her words were irresponsible, since they could be taken to mean that young people in the Occupied Territories find their position so hopeless that they have no option but to blow themselves up, and that in trying to explain the circumstances in which terrorism arises, she was somehow justifying it; and that in justifying terrorism, she was encouraging it. Of course that would be grossly unfair on Cherie, because that was certainly not her intention.

But the trouble with Clause One of this Bill is that it says nothing about intention. It simply seems to prohibit the utterance of anything that could be taken as an encouragement to or glorification of any act of terrorism, past, present or future.

Where, you might ask, does that leave the innumerable college JCRs that have renamed themselves the Mandela Room? Are they all going to have to rebaptise themselves the Charles Clarke Room, in case they are seen to be condoning the terrorist actions Mandela unquestionably – and rightly – supported? What about those who resist tyranny around the world?

What about those who oppose Mugabe, and use guerrilla tactics? As my colleague Douglas Hogg said yesterday in a brilliant speech to the Commons, the law would seem to demand the locking up of Gerry Adams, a man who endlessly hails the “heroes of the IRA”. This might be cheering in some ways, but is not exactly coherent with the policies of successive British governments.

Many of us would like to hear the pillow talk of Tony and Cherie, the two ├╝ber-yuppy Islington lawyers, and many of us wonder how the Prime Minister justifies his ill-considered measures to his formidable barrister wife. My guess is that she gives him a considerable wigging, after which he bleats, “But darling, we’ve got to do something”, at which point I hope very much that she belts him with the bolster and sends him off to the sofa.

This Bill is bad because it is so unnecessary: there is already plenty of good statute against incitement of all kinds, and as for the new powers to detain people without trial for 90 days, the Home Office website proclaims that it is already very rare to detain people for the maximum of 14 days.

So why are we going for 90? Because that is what the “intelligence” services want, say Blair and Clarke, and it is hard to think of a feebler justification.

Who gives a damn what these intelligence charlies want, and what business is it of theirs to be telling Parliament what to do? These are the klutzes who were so pathetic that they could not get a single credible agent into pre-war Iraq, with the result that Parliament and the public were told a load of old cobblers about the state of Saddam’s WMD.

There is no reason to believe everything they say; there is no reason for either of these provisions, not least since Labour feels so guilty about their impact on ethnic minorities, especially Muslims, that the Government has been symmetrically obliged to come up with an even worse measure, namely the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, thankfully felled by the Lords.

They must be busting their pants with laughter, the al-Qa’eda boys, as they look at the contortions of the British Government. The difference between an Islamic theocracy and us is that we are supposed to have free speech, habeas corpus and the rule of law.

We are eroding free speech, we are dispensing with habeas corpus, and as for the rule of law, I take my cue from the great Lord Steyn, the law lord. In detaining 500 people without trial in Guantanamo Bay, the Americans have taken their democracy into a legal black hole.

Not only are we now unable to criticise America for what it is doing. We are following the Americans into the abyss.

45 thoughts on “New Terrorism Bill – Clause One”

  1. There is an interesting new development in this bill. Acceptable definitions are too difficult for the government so they are introducing a subjective longstop that any prosecution requires the say so of either the DPP or the attorney genearal. Executive and judicial power in one equals benign dictatorship?

  2. Ah: at last someone has the balls to make mention of the apparent differences in political importance in the beliefs of our leading duo: the denizons of Downing Street .

    You said that she probably gives him a wigging now and then: that is particularly apposite when one considers her courtroom persona, from both sides of the bench.

    As for her sending him to the couch; surely he recommended her for the bench,( or is that not the case?) I find the first quoted hard to believe, in the context of her uncalled for revelationary bragging as to their, or rather , his , prowess in bed.

    The trouble seems to be with her perception of what she apparently considers to be her position. She is the wife of our Prime Minister. Anything she might undertake, capable of carrying even a whiff of impropriety , whether deserved or not, should not be countenanced, on the grounds of the possible denigration of the high office of Her Majesty’s Prime Minister.

    Any private or business activities she might undertake , whether in court; on speaking tours, or merely selling her book , even under the banner of charity , should not ,in my opinion, be in the slightest connected to her role of spouse of the occupant of No 10 .

    I find it ethically abhorrent that she calls herself ” The First Lady”. She may be a first rate barrister, but as the wife of our Prime minister , she must learn that precisely THAT is what she is.

    Other, similarly placed, spouses knew how to comport themselves, and did not seek to make capital of their position, and were better thought of as a result.

    Whatever the new Anti-Terrorist bill might eventually bring, the parliamentary fumblings, recently made public, do not exactly reflect well on a Government devoid od ideas.

    As for America’s descent into the abyss, and Britain’s following it there; don’t good little poodles usually follow their masters?

  3. This is unoriginal – it picks up on a comment of David Davies’s and – and worse than that it is disgusting.

    It is an interesting contrast to read the well-researched closely-argued article underneath it in today’s Telegraph and then compare this trash.

    The law may be a bad law, but frankly that becomes a secondary matter to anyone who reads and reflects on the crass and unpleasant opinions in the article. Any decent person would be utterly disgusted by them. This article sinks to the moral level of an Independent reader and oughtn’t to be in the Telegraph at all.

    What one learns from this article is that Boris Johnson, who calls himself a conservative, considers that terrorism is a form of “protest”:

    “this [suicide bombing] is the only way he can protest”

    And it only takes a moment to realize that what is being “protested” against is the very existence of the state of Israel, since that is what the Islamists will not acknowledge. Apparently, the Arabs, having almost all the Middle East can’t allow the Jews to live peacefully in one tiny tiny corner of it – despite having ejected Jews from virtually every Arab-controlled city in the the region, some of which they had been living in for centuries.

    Apparently, Johnson agrees with the president of Iran, who has said that he wants Israel “wiped off the map”.

    I say, thank God for Tony Blair who does not agree and is prepared to take a moral stand:

    Sometimes I wonder _which_ party is the conservative party. No wonder the Tories keep losing elections.

    And don’t you DARE try to blur the moral boundaries, you cad Johnson, by equating guerilla warfare with terrorism

    As if Orde Wingate’s Chindits, for example, were detonating high explosives in pizza parlours in order to terrorize civilian populations.

  4. The day the Conservative Party make it a policy of theirs to support the Palestinians against Israel, is the day I leave. I didn’t read any of what you’re saying into it, and personally I agree with Boris on all this. Especially in his final summary:

    “We are eroding free speech, we are dispensing with habeas corpus, and as for the rule of law, I take my cue from the great Lord Steyn, the law lord. In detaining 500 people without trial in Guantanamo Bay, the Americans have taken their democracy into a legal black hole.

    Not only are we now unable to criticise America for what it is doing. We are following the Americans into the abyss.”

  5. Damian; “This is unoriginal . . . and worse than that it is disgusting. . . . the crass and unpleasant opinions in the article. Any decent person would be utterly disgusted by them. . . . What one learns from this article is that Boris Johnson, who calls himself a conservative, considers that terrorism is a form of “protest”.”

    This is strong language and frankly I fail to see any justification for it.

    Are you suggesting that terrorism is not a form of protest? Clearly it is much more than that, but a sense of grievance must be an element in it. Surely that is common sense, no?

    ” . . . the Arabs, having almost all the Middle East can’t allow the Jews to live peacefully in one tiny tiny corner of it . . . ”

    And the Palestinians? Where exactly do they fit in here?

    “And don’t you DARE try to blur the moral boundaries, you cad Johnson, by equating guerilla warfare with terrorism.”

    Where exactly is Boris blurring moral boundaries? I think you should quote the passage you are referring to.

    Has anyone produced a viable definition of terrorism? The UN recently failed to do so. Clearly it would be good if we could bring the Geneva conventions up to date with the aim of giving greater protection to civilians in the face of both state and non-state terrorism.

  6. Go away, Damien. If you have nothing sensible to say, it tends to be advisable to say nothing rather than expose your lack of comprehension.

    Boris, admirable approach, but your fetish for Cherie is little short of perverted. She is a hideous monstrosity and a small minded, chippy teenage rebel and I hope your fine lady wife forces you to sleep on the sofa for at least a week.

  7. Mac

    I like your conclusion

    I totally deride the present government with their hookwinking tactics. But equally would wish that out of all this debate we would end up with a freer and safer country. Vive the blog!

  8. I’d quite like to see Jenny Tonge locked up.

    A worse constituency MP you’d be hard to find. Spent 4 years lobbying to close Richmond Park to the public and fundraising for the Friends of Palestine.

    Hideous woman.

  9. I’m not sure what makes Boris go for Cherie in such a firebrand way. It must be her glacial looks

  10. Hey Damian, listen much?

    If you’d taken the time to actually READ the article rather than getting your knickers in a twist and having a temper tantrum then you’d have noticed that in your fury you completely misunderstood, and thereby made a fool of your self by quoting out of context. The line I believe you MEANT to quote actually went more like this:

    “encouraged by his political masters to believe that this disgusting act is the only way he can protest”

    Try taking a step back and thinking about what’s actually being said once in a while, it may help you to raise your debating skills to above the level of a 5 year old. And who knows, as a by-product, you might even learn something.

  11. Damian

    I actually think you are on to a good thing, Damian, mate

    ps ignore others of s etc of that ilk…

  12. It’s getting a bit heated! Maybe people ought not to write in just after pub throwing out time (or has it cahnged already – it used to be 11.00 p.m. when I was allowed out). I know I’m not always as temperate as I should be, for whatever reason, but I think we should all try and treat each other and their comemnts with some courtesy even if we strongly disagree. It is precisely because these are important issues that we should follow some sort of tradition of constructive debate. Possibly it indicates how weak minded I am but certainly my opinions have been modified as a result of this e-correspondence.

    I would like Damian and S to make up with each other please.

    I’m no bloody angel though! I quite agree with Andrew about what a ghastly person Sister Tonge is!

  13. Boris describes the suicide bombers as deluded wretches. I think this is manifestly correct, and if there was a way of showing them that they are suffering from terrible and pointless delusions, it might be possible to stop some of them committing terrible acts.

  14. I think Damian’s confusing the act of agreeing with somebody’s sentiments with the act of defending their right to express them. Boris clearly isn’t agreeing with Cherie Blair, he’s just saying her words shouldn’t be suppressed. Which is fair – Mrs Blair is speaking in defence of the Palestinian cause, not in support of terrorism in its name. How that can be twisted into “Boris defends suicide bombers” is beyond me.

    Incidentally, unless I’m mistaken, we already have laws stopping people from supporting and encouraging terrorism (something about incitement?). Maybe we should try enforcing those a little more rigorously rather than widening the law to stop people doing nothing of the sort.

  15. Kevin T’s in the right area. I’m pretty certain that laws against incitement to violence exist. Introduction of new laws should first be preceded by

    (a) an enquiry in to whether there is a problem

    (b) an enquiry into whether there are existing laws that deal with the perceived problem

    (c) If the answer to (b) is ‘yes’ then why cannot the police deal with it under existing laws – and if not, whose idea was it to send them on counselling and race awareness course so they can’t?

    Otherwise think carefully about the new laws.

    The laws we have should be enforced without favour. Sentences, within the law, are set by courts.

    If I find something to be unpleasant (like FCUK slogans etc.) then that should not be a matter of law but a matter of respect. For example I refrain from eating or drinking in front of my Muslim friends and colleagues during Ramadan because I feel that is respectful to them as fellow human beings.

  16. May I echo much of the support against everything that Damian has written? It’s clear to me that he has either not read the piece properly, or not understood its context.

    Either way, I don’t know about everyone else, but I always feel more than a little foolish when I comment on something I believe I know a great deal about, yet my assertions turn out to be, on the whole, false. I therefore would hope that Damian returns to this comments page and becomes shame-faced about those views he has expressed here. I also hope that he can benefit from an enlightenment that expresses the truth as most others on this post see it.

    I have to agree with Mac’s sentiments about Cherie – after all, this country elected Mr., not Mrs., and in my mind she should not make a great deal about being wife of our country’s leader, it is, after all, not seen in the same light as the similar ‘position’ in the USA. And I don’t doubt that there are few in this country who would like to see Cherie in charge of things (even though we cannot, indeed, truly know who wears the trousers in that relationship).

    Also, I may be young, so not in the best position to judge a ‘mature’ woman, but I know nobody who Cherie ‘does it’ for. She is, for lack of a better word, cringeworthy. Her and the King of smarm (does anyone else feel that way about our PM, or is it just me?) are well-matched, methinks.

  17. No, it’s not just you, Cap’n Dave. I cringe all the time. Can hardly turn on the TV anymore, if I’m likely to see his face — or Bush or Cheney.

    But I did watch Patrick Fitzgerald’s press conference in total. It will be interesting to see how all this pans out in the long term — and how it affects Blair.

  18. Cap’n Dave sir: I salute you and your opiniosn. You wondered who wears rthe trouerds in the Blair menage? Surely in such a PC household , the trousers are shared, equally. I must say that the thought of seeing either one of them , devoid of covering for the nether limbs , does absolutely nothing for me, nor, by the sound of it , for your particular circle of associates.

    If this were a boating lake , the attendant would long ago have called, ” You in No10; your time is up!”

  19. “encouraged by his political masters to believe that this disgusting act is the only way he can protest”

    Well from that quote (can’t find the original) it does look as ‘this disgusting act’ is seen as a form of protest by the author (BJ not the author of the outrage). His political masters may have directed his attention away from other forms hence leading to the belief that this is the only form. Possibly Damian wanted to clearly separate protest from terrorism.

    I think it is important to remember that just because one is anti-Zionist that doesn’t mean that one is not anti-Jewish. I know a number of anti-Zionists who don’t like Jews in general. Several days after the terrorist attack on the USA I was invited for a saucer of tea by a local Muslim community leader who showed me the e-mail revealing that 1000’s of Jews hadn’t showed up to work on September 11th. I’ve never been to America but I’ve got a Randy Newman CD and I get the impression that Noo York Joos tend to the liberal and Democratic. Surely one of them would have blabbed to the Noo York Times?

    Anyway the point I wish to make is that there are a lot of Arabs and Persians who don’t like Jews, don’t really care much about the Palestinians but would sure like to see Israel wiped off the map. Since you all spent so much time telling Damian what a tosser he was perhaps you would like to enlighten us on how you see a solution to the Palestine-Israel problem?

    Answers beginning with “If I had been in charge back in ..” or “This can only be solved by Isreal stopping being so nasty..” are ineligible, as are solutions involving smoking a lot of dope.

    Use both sides of the paper please.

  20. Damien – far from calling you a tosser I welcome reading opinions from all sides of the debate as long as they are about the debate and are not personal comments about the commenters. As Boris is a politician I suppose that could be argued to be a grey area – especially as he later (hold the front page!) posted “I actually think you are on to a good thing, Damian, mate” which I don’t understand and Boz is obviously unwilling to explain. (Hmph) But generally folks do we really want Bozzas blog to be sychophantic? Surely not.

    Excellent point by Mac about letterbox face (c’mon she’s fair game!) but Melissa do you REALLY think Boz finds her attractive? In the same way people like Marmite and caviar maybe – it’s an aquired taste. Mac, sadly I think the Blairs believe they can do whatever they want without reprisals and I think they’re right. Frankly I think the ‘war’ on terrorism is just a convenient excuse to further subjugate the people of this country.

  21. Jaq

    I’ve always admired your open mindedness

    I think possibly that Cherie’s advocate quick thinking approach melts Boz and many others alike

  22. You make a forceful argument, Damian – I must read the article to which you were referring …

    I will do as you say and read this piece:-

    >It is an interesting contrast to read the well-researched closely-argued article underneath it in today’s Telegraph

  23. Melissa – oh it’s a lawyer thing, thinks Mrs Boz, who is a tall and very striking brunette is she not? From this mornings excellent D.I.Discs it seems that she’ll always know where to find him – he’ll be the one in the tree house! Bless.

  24. I made a tree house for our little savages. It was actually a sort of cabin round a dead trunk with an upper storey and battlements. Later on, when She Who Must Be Obeyed ordered an extension to the house my daughter ordered an extension to the tree house which I dutifully provided.

    I did entertain some idea of disappearing up there myself with a bottle of whisky and a John Buchan novel but found I had made the entrance too small for a man of substance like myself.

    Sadly it has all disappeared afte a Prescot like reorganisation of the vegetable patch.


  25. Jack R: Are we to understand that, after the Borisesque revelations on Desert Island Discs today , we might indeed be corresponding directly with the progenitor of this blog?

    The happenstance of the love for the tree house , ostensibly built for the children, might well have been your undoing. Own up Boris , you are not only holding down a multitude of jobs: you have a multitude of aliases.

    Ah ! I see that I did not read your post to the end; you appear to be saying that you are not, in fact, Boris Johnson, Quelle domage, that could have been the scoop of my life. Drat !

  26. Macarnie

    Your last line is right. Boris achieves nobility, in the best sense of the word, by cheerfully taking on what we lower middles make a big fuss about.

    Not that we lower middles don’t have a nobility all of our own! We await our Hardy!

    Happy New Week All!

    If there is a Monday can Friday be far behind?

    I wish all Hindu readers a good Diwali and all Muslim readers a good Eid, in the week to come. As it happens my birthday impends so on the day I shall raise a (non-alcoholic) glass to both of you peoples of those religions and wish you well.

  27. Christians also have All Souls coming up this week you know! I know it’s not PC to mention christian holidays, but I do wish all christians here a good All Souls.

  28. Jack R.I am glad that you feel taken to task about the one sided felicitations.

    It would appear that the attempts at rapprochement between the various religions in this country, are almost totally one sided, apart from the occasional word, asking for mutual understanding, from some progressive Imams.

    I am all for the peaceful coexistence of all citizens, regardless of origin, colour and religion, but , as a Jewish friend said to me on Friday,
    ” This used to be a liberal Christian Country , where , all things considered , the existing minorities were not hindered in following their own Religions , quietly and with due dignity. Today it is the minorities who appear to wish to dictate, even force, the PC agenda : that cannot be correct.”

    That man’s grandparents came here to escape the Russian pogroms, and the lack of fear from marauding racists was appreciated : as a result, in the main, the Jewish integration into the general population has been exemplary , and they have enriched the culture enormously .

    Why do not others do the same , at least in making the attempt to blend in , without losing whatever it is which they hold dear.

    It is , with the present situation, I think , time for the imposition of certain rules of behaviour, as has been done in France, by separating Religion from the Civil State.

  29. I’m against separating religion from politics – we are a christian country. Our laws and accepted modes of behaviour rest upon christian teaching. The Queen is not only the head of state but the head of the church. We have a very peculiar religion in that it is as much about God as it is about the land we hold so dear. (actuaaly being an athiest is not an impediment to being a bishop as long as you’re discreet) Given that Muslims seem totally opposed to christians, is it any wonder they seek to either convert or destroy us? The only answer then is to abandon our traditions and even our very beliefs in order to bring order in our own country? Not so, if you want to come here then fit in or be very discreet. If they don’t like it, or more to the point if they don’t like us, then bog off back to where you came from.

    ( I can imagine Melissa reading this thinking – that’s what I like about Jaq, she’s so….feminine)

    Ooh birthday soon Jack R? You’re a Scorpio then, hmm. Tell me when and I shall send virtual hugs and kisses. PH only got a greeting but I’m still expecting the restraining order any day. (His book hinted at such repression it was tempting to send panties through the post but even Boris didn’t get those…maybe nxt year)

  30. Dear All

    I am sincerely apologetic for forgetting All Souls. I am incredibly embarrased to be thought of as PC. My holiday felicitations were as those I give to my Hindu and Muslim work mates who reciprocate at Xmas (I’m an atheist but a CofE atheist, so potentially a bishop. Jaq – are you an actress?).

    Jaq’s comments about this being a Christian country are of course right. That’s our tradition and has served us well. As well as all the bad things that British Christianity is said to be responsible for, let us not forget that it was British Christians who were in the forefront of the anti-slavery campaign, the best traditions of the labour movement and genuine charitable enterprise. It is fashionable to sneer at charity as being patronising in certain circles but being patronised sure beats starving. It’s much better being an atheist in a Christian country than an atheist country.

  31. The Telegraph is running a greatest Briton for 2005 competition. I say no more save that if Harold Pinter wins I’m emigrating to Tierra del Fuego but you may have ideas

  32. Ooh can we have a Great Briton thread Mel? [Ed: perhaps we should Jaq…]

    The first two for me would be Stanley and Boris Johnson. I’m not sure if their achievements in 2005 count as ‘great’ as perhaps selfless heroic ventures are meant rather than just great men generally. Does it mean that Jack? We should perhaps be expecting a cameraman, journalist or general to win? Air ambulance or bystander who braved a rescue? Men who you think of as great guys is a pretty big category. Do you mean politically great? Who would the panel put forward as contenders? Answers on a postcard please.

    Am I an actress Jack? I’ve given up that sort of thing. I’m not really bad you know, I’m just….drawn that way.

  33. Jaq

    I think Greatest Briton is open to nomination for the ladies. (I trust one of the grown ups will have a severe word with BJ to prevent his nominating Cherie – if the condition becomes aggravated we might have something out of P. G. Wodehouse on our hands. Didn’t Bingo Little fall for a revolutionary called Charlotte Corday Rowbotham who had a fondness for limeade?)

    Indeed you may be in for the nomination yourself.

    On another note we have found at work that the most tedious of meetings can be enlivened by legitmately getting the phrase ‘as the actress said to the bishop’ into the proceedings as often as possible. (Some colleagues didn’t quite get the rules of Mornington Crescent). For some reason the ladies seem quite good at it.

    It shortens the meeting and seems to prevent the over officious from getting started on to a long PC ramble.

  34. AT LAST! someone who understands the rules to mornington crescent. I asked one of the Johnsons (who will remian nameless) and they said they didn’t know. Please please do tell…

    as the actress said to the bishop.

    [(high voice) I’ll tell the vicar (deep voice) I am the vicar]

  35. Oh dear, I’m thinking very silly thoughts now: PH doing the prize giving, Adrian Brody recieving his oscar, nominating Ann Widdecombe.


  36. Jaq

    I think Macarnie has answered your question more eloquently than could I. Perhaps Melissa could organise a blog round of MC once we have all understood the rules?

  37. The JGovernment’s huge majority reduced to 1. And thet’s Government ? ? ? ? Mein tochus.

  38. THis thread seems to have died the same unmourned for death that the Bill died in Parliament. RIP .

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