Politics: good news at last: Blur illiberalism routed briefly

"The prime minister has suffered a humiliating defeat" says R4 news at 6. Ho ho, schadenfreude, etc etc.

At last a bit of good news over the terrorist panic. MPs have finally stood up and told Blair to f*ck off over the proposal to hold people for 90 days without trial. So R4 5 o'clock news tells me, and this seems to confirm.

The margin is larger than expected: 31 votes. So the farce of recalling Brown from Israel to pack the lobby was a waste of time and money too.

In one aspect, though, the illiberals are already winning: the debate (insofar as anyone is seriously debating this rather than pontificating) is over how far the period should be extended from the current 14 days (more quietly, the news tells us that the HoC has just voted in favour of 28 days. Sigh. Celebrating too early... I would have suspected that 90 was all a cunning plot to get 28 days through quietly, except Blair nailed himself to the mast a bit too thoroughly for that). It should be about cutting it back down from 14.

But really, all this vast panic over terrorism is stupid. Car drivers kill far more people than terrorists do, but kill someone with a car and you probably won't get a 90 day sentence even if found guilty.

I'm curious: how long could you be held in the US (outside Guantanamo, of course) without being charged?


Brian said...

Depends on the state, but I think it's usually 24-48 hours, and you could add a day or two if you hit the deadline on the weekend or holiday. Federal limit would be similar I think, unless you're an enemy combatant.

William M. Connolley said...

Thanks Brian.

The odd thing is that this figure was *never* mentioned in the UK debate. Probably because it would be too embarassing, since all the politico's agree on 7 days as a base state.

So... is there *any* pressure in the USA to bump this up? What would happen to a policitican pushing imprisonment without charge for 7, 28 or 90 days? For US citizens, of course.