Has Britain Lost Its Marbles on Fighting Terror?

The "42-day rule" will mean nothing to readers outside the United Kingdom but the issue has been an intense element of the public discourse for several months, coming to a head last week with the rejection of the statute by the House of Lords.

Every talking head, pundit, phone-in maven, and liberal newspaper -- of which there are many -- in Britain is registering varying levels of ire over what is seen as a contentious law that should be dead and buried once and for all.

The 42-day rule is an eminently sensible provision in British law allowing the police to keep a suspect in custody for 42 days, an increase on the present 28 days. There has been unprecedented anger in the country and indeed the House of Lords, these days packed with an increasing number of liberal life appointees replacing now-abolished hereditary peers, has expressed its displeasure. Those of us who live in the real world, headed by the brave Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, feel this is a gift to the unending stream of Muslim radicals whose names are paraded across our screens in the context of a plethora of plots. Some of us actually believe that 42 days is a short time in which to investigate the peregrinations of suspects.

Now, journalist Andrew Gilligan, a household name in Britain but perhaps not as well known in other climes, has taken it upon himself to write a rant in the Evening Standard of October 16 condemning the "police state" and making assertions that some observers could say border on treason. Gilligan, who shot to fame in 2003 when he "outed" the "sexed-up" government dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, a national crisis that ended with the death of world biological weapons expert Dr. David Kelly and the resignation of BBC Director-General Greg Dyke, is actually asserting that in 2008 the financial crash will at last liberate us from spending money on preventing terror attacks.

I have now thrice reread Gilligan's editorial, on which the paper provides the heading, "Banking Excess May Save Us from the Police State," and must conclude that he reflects the level of foolhardy liberal insanity that has been increasingly pervading the British social discourse in the past decade. What is so alarming is that with the exception of Home Secretary Smith every person in a public forum is self-flagellating over the reduction in personal freedoms that the battle against Islamic radicalism has engendered in Her Majesty's Kingdom.