AT his monthly press conference last Monday, the Prime Minister admitted that the source of his proposal, that the police should be allowed to hold a person for 90 days without charge, was the police and not the government.
He told reporters: ‘This is not a plan dreamed up by me, or indeed with its origins in the government, it is what the most senior police officers in the country, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the head of anti-terrorist policing, the Association of Chief Police Officers, it is what they have asked us to do as they battle to prevent further terrorist outrages after the July 7th attack.’
In fact, the officers involved are the same gang of leading police officers who approved the ‘shoot-to-kill policy’, which the Prime Minister also approved, (the House of Commons was not given that opportunity) and who continue to justify it as entirely necessary, even after the murder of an innocent person by armed police at Stockwell Tube. They agree that this policy could lead to the murder of another innocent in the future but maintain that it is entirely justified by security considerations.
They are willing to see innocent people killed, or jailed for up to 90 days without charge, to safeguard the interests of the ruling class and the capitalist state.
As far as Blair is concerned, these officials are much more reliable and important than any parliament.
He told his press conference: ‘We do not want to compromise on the 90 days at all, it is not the right thing for the country, be under no doubt about that at all. 90 days with continual seven day judicial supervision is the right thing for this country’s security, and if we are forced to compromise, it will be a compromise with this nation’s security, don’t let anyone be in any doubt about that.
‘And with the greatest respect, the question is not for me, the question is for those Members of Parliament who are going to walk through the lobbies and vote against what this country needs, on the basis that they know better than the people who have given their professional advice that they need this power to protect our country.’
His message is that the police chiefs know best, both on the 90 days and on ‘shoot-to-kill’, and that if the House of Commons does not agree and thinks that it knows better, and even forces the government to a compromise, this will be ‘a compromise with national security’ and ‘against what this country needs’.
The notion that the police chiefs know better than the elected House of Commons about what the relationship should be between security measures and hard-won liberties, raises the issue of what these police chiefs should do if the House of Commons rejects their advice and votes against ‘what this country needs’ and ‘compromises security’.
Perhaps they should arrest some of the guilty MPs and charge them with directly encouraging terrorism.
Blair has already warned MPs that members of the public will round on them for not following the advice of the police chiefs.
Some police chiefs might well think that the PM wants them to put the House of Commons out of its misery.
Other police chiefs may already think that they should be running the country, not the politicians, that ancient liberties are out of date, and that the House of Commons is as well.
Blair is encouraging these anti-democratic moods by bringing the police chiefs into politics.
On Monday, Hayman, the head of counter-terrorism at the Association of Police Chief Officers, was brought into parliament by the government and spoke to 30 Labour MPs, described as ‘waverers’, to tell them which way they should vote on the 90 day proposal.
What will the state do if MPs reject ‘national security’ – raid the House of Commons?