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Should we ban elections?

"An embarrassing victory" for Gordon Brown is how one politician described the vote to extend detention without trial for up to 42 days. The government, says Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti, has turned an emergency power into one that can now be used as standard procedure (click here to found out why).

If anyone is still to be convinced about the draconian and illiberal nature of this Labour administration, one only has to rewind the parliamentary tapes 24 hours to a little reported vote on jury trials, which are to be restricted. This vote and the one on 42 days follow a pattern of knee-jerk responses and flagrant disregard for the hard-won rights of Brititsh citizens. From asbos to control orders, to ignoring US flights using UK airports for transporting inmates to Guantanamo Bay, we are a long way from the days when the Human Rights Act heralded a high-water mark for British democracy.

We have gone backwards since and will continue to do so unless Gordon Brown and his grubby coterie ministers can be stopped. These shameless men and women lined up interview after interview, in a deceitful attempt to paint the 42 days detention period as a "just in case power". Why not ban elections then? After all, a country is most under threat from a terrorist act in the days and months preceeding and following an election. The Madrid train bombings occurred shortly before the Socialists won power and 7/7 came shortly after Blair won a third term in office. Perhaps we shouldn't hold them then, just in case...

... Or perhaps we can acknowledge the deep and fundemental flaws in these ministers' arguments. It says something about the state of Labour's commitment to democracy when the Tory leader gets it so right: al Qaida want to destroy our way of life and now the government is "doing the terrorists' work for them".

The ones to watch

The perfect running mate