Blow to British values

TERRORISM remains at the forefront of governments’ concerns for obvious reasons, yet the unwarranted paranoia overtaking the British polity is difficult to understand.

There can be no two views about it, the government’s decision to barely scrap out 42-day detention without charge rule for terror suspects overplays the incarceration card at a time when overwhelming international opinion is arguing for greater individual rights, especially owing to the aftermath of strict and harsh practices employed by Washington in the years since ’01.

To give credit where it is due, there is little fault in shadow Home Secretary David Davis’ argument behind his shock resignation, that the move breaches painfully protected rights and damages conventions going as far back as the Magna Carta. Yet that does not justify throwing the Tory Party into a tailspin, raising an ‘unnecessary by-election on a difficult issue’. If anything, his move raises more doubts than answers questions, and feeds accusations that he’s more of an actor than a serious politician, even though he was well on way to being home secretary in a couple of years’ time, a move thrown off the table supposedly because of a principled stance against a “monstrosity”.

As the action-reaction builds and embarrasses one of the world’s best structured and enduring political structures, it should not be forgotten that the matter was provoked by disagreeing views over the world’s new terror threat, an ample reflection of inadequacies regarding the way it has been understood over the years.

Politics aside, there is a strong need to make the argument more constructive, especially since the present debate focuses on curtailing rights that will compromise liberty of more normal people than terrorists. Also, considering the way things are moving on the wider war against terrorism front, the need to reorient understanding of the phenomenon wherever it is relevant is enormous.

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