There's a letter in today's Sunday Telegraph from Sir John Major, responding to an article in last weeks paper written by Mathew d'Ancona which supports the locking up of suspected terrrorists for up to 42 days without charge. It reads;
Mathew d'Ancona quotes me as believing "a siege society once in place, will be difficult to dismantle". The quote is correct, but not the context. I did not refer solely to the 42 days pre-charge detention, but also to the establishment of a compulsory ID card system, a national DNA Database, and powers given to the police to permit them to bug homes and cars without the sanction of a High Court judge.
The 42 day extension (if it becomes law) may be easily reversible, but does Mr d'Ancona really believe that is true of ID cards and the DNA database. I do not. I doubt, too, that the new powers given to the police will readily be surrendered. No single part of the package exceeds the internment of the 1970s, but the collective impact - since much of it is intended to be permanent - most certainly does.
Fortunately, a more balanced judgement was to be found in your leading article "A stronger case is needed for the denial of liberty". Quite.