Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Tactical Briefing

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Tactical Briefing

Article excerpt

From: The Unit

To: GB

Subject: Terrorism

* Think the not-a-relaunch is going very well. Real sense that there is no need for a relaunch and there hasn't been one. Yet also a sense of renewal. Almost of a second launching.

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* And great to have the Terrorism stuff back on the go. We've been having a mull on this. Think the important thing in the detention debate is to keep on hitting the unseen evidence, which means that everyone else should shut up because they don't understand what the debate is and never can. Think the sense that we cannot release a lot of the stuff because it would give the nation such heebie-jeebies that Joe Public might foul themselves at the greengrocers is a very strong line for us. Re detention times--think this is a killer area, but we need to be flexible. We have brainstormed some numbers we might want to shift to if the climate changes:

* 89 days. Ninety days was obviously flavour of the month last time and now has a bad ring about it. But if initial reaction is fine with going to 56, we may need to up the ante. We could then say: "Yes, actually you know what, we were right about what we wanted the first time. But we've listened to the criticism that 90 was too much, so how about 89?" It's quite a curmudgeonly, robust, out-flanking number. Similar numbers might be the even more aggressive 91, or the curvaceous, more emollient 88?

* Seven days. This could be a fallback if the debate turns all civil-liberties and too-many-speed-cameras-y. …

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