Illegal anti-terror law threatened, terror alert goes up

I’m naturally sceptical. Especially when it comes to governments “protecting” us from an unseen threat “out there”.

Just today, the Government, acting in response to absolutely no specific intelligence (kinda like the last time then), raised the terrorist threat level.

This happened just over a week after the ECHR ruled that Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was unlawful. This is the bit of legislation that allows the police to stop and search anyone in a designated area for any reason “in the prevention of terrorism”. London has been under a section 44 since the assent of the legislation, and you’ll only find out a section 44 is in use when you are stopped and searched.

Whilst the Government are appealing the decision, its business as normal for using section 44 (if I were convicted of a crime, and I continued doing it whilst I awaited the appeal, I’d be charged again. Not so for UK.gov it seems).

Anyway, I mention the raising of the terror level “[with] no intelligence to suggest a terrorist attack was imminent” and the attached “advice” of the Home Secretary “to support the police and security services in their continuing efforts to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity.” as a likely reinforcement of the absolute need for section 44; I fully expect whilst the threat level is raised that the number of section 44 stop and searches will dramatically increase, and when the threat level lowers for the Government to crow “See! See! Section 44 is really needed in the fight against terrorism! Without it, who knows what might have happened!”.

It might be that I’m being hyperbolic. I really hope so, and that there is genuine chatter relating, however imperceptibly, to an attack in Britain in the near future and this is an appropriate response.

However, I simply don’t trust this Government, who seem more determined than ever to micromanage everyone’s lives, not to use the Bush Fear Manipulation Handbook for their own political benefit.

Date: Sat 23 January 2010

Category: politics