13 November, 2006

Labour goes to war.

Yesterday's highlight of the Labour Party's internal electioneering battle was Harrriet Harman, the Constitutional Affairs minister, trespassing on Foreign Office turf with some not very helpful anti-American rhetoric.

Today belongs to finance minister, Gordon Brown, who is trying to further his ambitions to be Tony Blair's successor by trampling on the Home Secretary's ground. Brown has publicly endorsed a controversial police demand that they be allowed to detain terrorist suspects for up to 90 days without charge, rather than the current 28. According to the Daily Telegraph:

Home Office insiders last night underlined the simmering tensions between the two men by playing down Mr Brown's intervention. "We welcome any contribution to what is an important debate," said one official.
Meanwhile, the Home Secretary, John Reid, is busy conducting his own campaign to thwart Brown so that he, Reid, can succeed Blair as Prime Minister. The Daily Express reports:
The Home Secretary shattered the truce over the Labour leadership with plans for a fresh assault on terrorism and crime in this week’s Queen’s Speech.

The aim is to show that he, rather than Chancellor Gordon Brown, is the best man to lead a nation under threat. The move came as the country’s top policeman [again demanded a 90 day detention period and so] cranked up the already tense atmosphere over security policy.
It is hard to see how the government can effectively combat terrorism when it is consumed by electioneering, both internal and party political. Indeed, a report, published today, for the leftish Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, The Rules of the Game: Terrorism, Community and Human Rights concludes that, as the Daily Telegraph puts it, that
the Government's anti-terrorism policy is being damaged by party political interests and vote-seeking on the part of ministers...
...It also accused Tony Blair and John Reid, the Home Secretary, of playing to a "tabloid agenda" and "trying to win over the white working class vote."

Sensible plans to combat terror are now being "submerged by the Government's 'electoral motives'" according to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

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