The Independent on Sunday reports that the "Control Orders" political deal between the leaders of the Labour Government and the main Opposition parties the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats failed to materialise on Friday.
More backroom wheeling and dealing seems to be set for today, and, apparently the "Control Orders" legislation is due to be announced tomorrow Tuesday 22nd February.
Since it seems that this legislation is going to be rushed through Parliament before the 14th March, all our usual doubts and fears arise again, about the prospect of yet another example of the evil way in which the Home Office abuses the English language, to grab infinite powers for itself, in legislation which Members of Parliament fail to scrutinise effectively.
If a Judge is to be trusted to "review" a "Control Order" case after 7 days, why on earth can't the Judge examine the "evidence" before granting a "Control Order" in the first place ?
We ask the question again, why is the "Westminster village" of politicians and journalists so keen to "restrict access to the internet or mobile phones" for terrorist suspects or their families, friends and associates ? Since these technologies are easier and cheaper to keep under legal surveillance, they should be encouraged to make more use of them, rather than being legally restricted from accessing them.
How could such a ban possibly be enforced anyway, without also having restrictions on movement and free association which would need to be enforced with the use of very expensive, 24/7 multi man teams of covert surveillance operatives, for each terrorist suspect ?
There must be no powers in this "Control Orders" legislation which would permit "speculative data trawling" or mandatory "data retention" of large numbers of innocent people's internet and phone communications data records (itemised bills, mobile phone cell locations etc.) under the pretence of enforcing such "Control Orders" against a few terrorist suspects.
We have pointed out before that "electronic tagging", whilst suitable for very low risk prisoners and as part of bail conditions for minor offences, is just not a suitable option for any violent or sex offender criminals who are highly motivated to re-offend. The enforcement of "no go zones" by electronic tagging is largely science fiction, and is no less illegal under the Human Rights Act than any other form of detention without trial.
If the Belmarsh or Guantanamo Bay detainees really are hardened highly motivated terrorists, then why would an "electronic tag" prevent them from commiting an atrocity ?
We await tommorrow's "Control Orders" legislation with a growing sense of resentment and a feeling of betrayal by those in the "Westminster village".