Roger L. Simon

Patriot Act for Britain?

Apparently attitudes really have changed in the UK since the London terror bombings last week. From the London Times:

“The nature of the explosives appears to be military, which is very worrying,” said Superintendent Christophe Chaboud, the chief of the French anti-terrorist police, who was in London to help Scotland Yard.

News of the breakthrough comes as a Times poll conducted in the aftermath of the bombings indicates that an overwhelming majority of the British public favours a tough approach to terrorist suspects. Almost 90 per cent of people want the police to be given new powers to arrest people suspected of planning terrorist acts, tighter immigration controls and strict baggage inspections.

Tony Blair is reported to have a strong hand as he puts forth new anti-terrorist laws.

Is this a harbinger of things to come in Europe in general? The Brits have the reputation of being more staunch than the others, but even for them ninety percent is a rather large majority. If there were to be another terror attack relatively soon elsewhere in Europe… even in France… public opinion may start going through a gigantic swing. The terrorists may have gotten a lot more than they bargained for as Draconian anti-immigrant legislation becomes the norm across the EU. I strongly suspect public sentiment may already be running that way in a number of countries. After all, civil liberties have never really been as high a priority in Europe as they are in the US. Even the Amnesty fuddy-duddies know that, though they are loathe to admit it for fund-raising reasons.