A lot of righteous (or should that be self-righteous) indignation tonight on politicalbetting.com on the subject of the vote to introduce a measure allowing suspects to be detained for up to 42 days without charge. As we know, the vote was won by the Government 315-306 with all 9 DUP MPs supporting the Government along with a small number of Conservatives.
I hope all Liberal Democrat MPs voted against.
Since the creation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act following the Birmingham pub bombings in 1973, terror, or the threat of terror, has been used as an excuse to curtail our civil liberties. A frightened people are more likely to accept these constraints than a confident populace. With the events of September 2001 and July 2005 still fresh, the ability of Government to restrict freedom further in the name of defence against terror was enhanced.
That doesn't make it right - our democracy, our culture and our values should be strong enough to fight off the threat of those determined to destroy our way of life. If we compromise our freedom in the name of a perceived (though rarely actual) safety, we have lost far more than we will ever know.
One of the reasons I'm a liberal rather than a conservative is my belief in personal freedom and in the freedom of the individual from the power of an overreaching State. While I'm pleased to see so many Tories opposed to the 42-day plan, a notable minority were in support and the social authoritarian streak in the Conservative Party clearly remains strong.
The City had another sharp fall today and the Dow is down over 190 points as I write. Oil has jumped back up to near record levels on news of a fall in American stocks. Hidden in this is the grim report that last year world oil consumption rose 1.1% while production fell 0.2%.
The freebie Londonpaper (part of the Mail group) screamed a headline tonight about panic buying of petrol in London ahead of a threatened four-day strike by Shell tanker drivers. I've seen no evidence of this "panic" and don't intend to be part of it. Strangely, the other main free London paper, London Lite, makes no mention of any "petrol panic".
It is to be hoped the tanker drivers don't strike. IF they do, it will be interesting to see how the Tory press and anti-Government elements in road haulage for example play it. Will they be tempted to stoke the fire in an attempt to create an atmosphere of crisis in the vain hope of toppling the beleaguered Prime Minister ?
Somebody should tell them Gordon Brown isn't responsible for oil at $137 a barrel and David Cameron ain't going to get it back down.