The doctrine of pseudo-strength.
42, it seems then is no longer not just the meaning of life but also the magic number that terrorists need to be held to. The seeking a consensus sessions, which according to Private Eye amounted to the swivel-eyed Smith haranguing David Davis for daring to be a "28 day-denier" have been abruptly canceled, and so has any possibility of dialogue with the Home Affairs Select Committee, a leak of whom's report Smith seemed to be responding to. The committee had come to the not unreasonable conclusion that there was no evidence whatsoever to support any further extension, having only heard support for such a measure from the suitably plied Lord Carlile, butcher of the yard "Sir" Ian Blair and from Smith herself, who previously didn't know how many more days were needed. As for Ken Macdonald, who had so dared to give evidence to the committee that in his capacity as head of the director for public prosecutions he didn't see the need for more time, his treachery was such that Smith's new plans require him to sign off his agreement in any instance where longer than 28 days is needed. Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold. Shami Chakrabati has denounced Smith's plans as constitutionally illiterate, in that although parliament is required to vote on the continuation of the extra time, it doesn't need to do so until err, after the extra time has itself expired. The safeguards add up to Smith agreeing and the same as before, a judge having to reauthorise the continued detention every seven days. What kind of judge would have the balls to free someone after the police had demanded extra time and the home secretary had agreed is not an easy question to answer.
Almost any other government than this current one would be embarrassed by how ridiculous they look, continually having to dilute their plans little by little, without realising (or perhaps they do, they're just that stubborn and petty) that they simply cannot get this through in any form. The obsession with extra time, one kept only by hopeless police officers that can't fuck off when they know they're no longer wanted and by politicians determined to look endlessly tough and at the same time attempt to make the Tories haplessly weak would be easier to take if anyone other than the Scum, the Express and Melanie Phillips was falling for it, but they're not. The opposition against is almost everyone except the Labour front bench and the most vile of the press. I personally hope it does come to a vote - just so that the government can be thrashed again and the Sun can call all the rest of us traitors.
Similar thinking has been going on over prisons. The most disingenuous moment of the week has to have been over the need for "titan jails" - not because they're better than smaller ones, quite the contrary, but rather as Lord Carter openly admits in his report, they can than be referred straight to the secretary of state for planning permission, negating to go into such needless debates over consultation. After all, look where that's got them over the above. They're also a developers' dream, almost certain to be built under the private finance initiative, and then also likely to be ran by private security firms, meaning even more cash to be milked off from the public purse to the unscrupulous who'll then either demand even more or sell on their interest for a huge profit, as has occurred numerous times before. The job's a good 'un - except for those who'll find themselves behind the bars. Jack Straw has tried to sweeten the deal slightly by also investigating the possibility of linking sentences to the capacity available, but expect that to be dropped once the clamour from the Mail and the Sun grows too loud. The statistics for the prison population growth show that we can't build ourselves out of the overcrowding crisis, but by God Labour will try anyway. You can't have the tabloids screaming about soft sentences and the streets being full of drug addicts, the mentally ill and baby molesters; that will never do leading up to an election.
So it also is on immigration, where the points based system will ensure that the unskilled darkies will be kept out while the unskilled from the EU will still be able to come as they are. Add in some clearly unworkable and prejudiced thinking on whether or not to allow in spouses who can't speak English, and then also cut back on translation while not increasing and eventually cutting the funding for those who want to learn and you have a potent mixture to add to the hubris and carelessness which has led to Brown being in the same situation as before Blair had even left.