You know, some people (myself included) would say that I was a cynical bastard. And as such, I’ma trifle concerned by the Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke’s change of heart on his wonderful ‘house arrest’ proposals.
The government is to make a key change to its plans to detain terror suspects under house arrest without trial.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke says he will amend the bill when it reaches the Lords so that he would have to apply to a judge before making a control order.
And he just decided that this should happen, right after it passes committee, where it can be discussed? What a cosmic coinkey-dink!
Reasons why I think Clarke may have done this:
- The Lords have been pretty much castrated in the last few years; if Blair wants to push something through he can, easily. He seems to have more control over the Lords than he does over his own Commons MPs.
- I know Clarke is smart enough not to be seen to wield this power. He’ll still wield it, but he knows that the British public hold the word of a High Court Judge in much higher regard than that of a politician. So basicially, the Home Secretary will still make the call, but it will be rubber stamped by a Judge. Which will make all the difference.
- It’s a cop out for the Tories. If push came to shove, the Tories would oppose this bill properly. But, under Howard, it would only be a last resort (because I think that Howard is a total control freak as well). By doing it this way, Clarke isn’t “forcing” the Tories to oppose it with committee time, which would be a huge vote winner.
So, I think that it was planned all along. And shows nothing but absolute comtempt for the procedure in place to safeguard Parliamentary democracy.
So, am I a bit annoyed? D’ya think?