Wednesday, November 09, 2005

So who's to blame? Step up to the block...

Some headlines are so good, you can't help but cut out and keep them.

The detention period has, at least, been reduced to 28 days, which if nothing else shows that many MPs aren't willing to simply accept Police-led reasoning at face value.

There is, however, a little confusion over just what this means. Compare this quote from the BBC article above:

"But the prime minister's official spokesman said: "We don't see this as a matter of confidence in the prime minister as it was a proposal put forward by the police and which we supported.""

...which performs the traditional tactic of saying that "it wasn't our argument, it was the Police what made us say it" - the same tactic often used to shift blame to scientists and other "expert" advisers who merely provide one side of the story.

Now, further down the article, the same spokesman (it seems) claims that:

"The police and public supported what the government was trying to do...,"

So which is it - are the government supporting the police's request, or are the police (along with the public) supporting the government's proposal?

The difference is bound to be a vicious circle, ultimately, with Tony in the Commissioner's pocket and vice versa. The desired outcome, from both party's view, is obviously that both carry the blame. Which means that neither carries the blame. See how this works?

But as Curious Hamster points out in a very salient post (and dont' worry, I'll stop quoting him one day ;), this should not be the end of it - shouldn't be allowed to be the end of it. It is the Police's job to defend us against wrongdoers, fair enough, but parallel to this, it is also the politician's job to a) weigh up the arguments and evidence put forwards by a particular consulting party and b) consider that reasoning in the light of all other reasons being put forward. By completely ignoring the other aspects of this case - namely, civil liberties and the theory of freedom - Blair (the Tony one) showed his true colours - not as a reasoner (if that's a word), but as a guy who, committed to fighting odd wars, is threatened with the image of a legacy of "homeland" bombs. He knows that, given further incidents, people will certainly remember him as a failure.

The bind is that if he admits to a link between war and terrorism, he will also be seen as a failure - or worse yet, an instigator. To see things from his view is to see a level of personal pride, built upon 3 elections like the funeral pyre of a Roman emperor proclaimed as a deity. With his stepdown confirmed, it's becoming a race against time to put barricades in place, to offset the culmination of 8 years in power with a final run of even more stringent demands to stem the blood.

It's true - the higher the pedestal, the further there is to fall. The line between finishing in glory (only for his successor to inherit the haemorrhaging), and being booed off the stage is now a fine one, sandwiched between an increasing desire to do something (anything!), and the increasing results of having done something.

What should he do then? A pickle, he is in. Pride before a fall, etc. We're still seeing the effects of - and judging - Thatcher after all this time, and I suspect Blair won't be any different. He may bow out whichever way he can now, but the real test will be in 10 years time once the database state is in full swing. The moralistic preacher in me longs to claim that there's glory in defeat and honour in admission - an apology for the state of Iraq (whether or not you agree with the invasion, Blair must share some blame for the lack of foresight following it, in hindsight), and an acceptance of the possibility, even, between international tensions raised by the war and the state of national security we find ourselves in now.

But then, if we were in our own little ivory tower looking up at the stars and how they spelt out our name, who's to say we wouldn't be thinking the same?

To end, it's good to see that Devil's Kitchen are celebrating in true limericky style. Let's see what we can concoct for the occasion...

He wanted a 90-day limit
But his own MPs voted to bin it
"Three months behind bars?
That can go up yer ars!"
At this rate he'll be gone in a minute.


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