Magazine article The Spectator

42 Days

Magazine article The Spectator

42 Days

Article excerpt

Sir: Thank goodness for Matthew d'Ancona's clarity of mind on 42-day detention ('Jacqui Smith's vote of confidence', 7 June). People who want to be provoked will always find an excuse. If they are subtle, they will manufacture a grievance based on an issue about which their sworn enemies disagree -- and then exploit the difference. Critics who claim that increasing pre-charge detention will be a 'recruiting sergeant' for terrorism have fallen into this terrorist trap.

Such critics acquired their views in the age of Trotskyism, when the Trots were trying to provoke the establishment into violence in the belief that it would speed up the revolution by exposing the 'mailed fist behind the velvet glove' of capitalism. Islamist terrorists do not think that way. They want to destroy us and if they can trick us into making their task easier by deterring us from taking the necessary precautions, so much the better.

Changing the charging threshold to 'reasonable suspicion' combined with the reintroduction of grand juries to eliminate malicious or feeble prosecutions would be a better way. But there are enough safeguards in the 42-day proposal for it to be a useful second-best.

David Green Director, Civitas, London SW1

Sir: Matthew d'Ancona writes as though the current government proposals regarding the locking up of suspects without trial are its first. …

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