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Coalition minds the gap on anti-terror measures

31 August 2014

The Coalition parties are gearing up for a week of minding the gaps. Tomorrow, David Cameron plans to tell MPs about measures that he feels are necessary for plugging the gaps in Britain’s armoury. They’re gaps highlighted to him by the intelligence and security services, and where the Tories once said they would be very sceptical about gaps, whether they existed, and whether it was right to plug them, the Prime Minister seems pretty keen to listen to the spooks.

But the Lib Dems are still cross about the gaps, and possibly cross about another change of heart from the Conservatives. That’s why Sir Menzies Campbell told the World this Weekend that he didn’t have particularly high hopes for tomorrow’s statement on security, and it’s why Lord Ashdown took to the pages of The Observer to criticise David Cameron’s rhetoric. Campbell said:

‘What is the existing legislation, is it being properly enforced? Then you have to say if we impose new legislation, will that be effective? And then of course you have to go on and say what impact does this have on the new balance between privacy and security? Now these are pretty profound questions which I don’t believe are going to be able to be answered tomorrow in the House of Commons.’

That senior Liberal Democrats are sounding off this weekend suggests that either the party is going to be vocally unhappy with what the Prime Minister does announce tomorrow, or that last-minute horsetrading is still taking place over those gaps in Britain’s armoury, and what, if anything, will plug them.

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  • the viceroy’s gin

    “Britain’s armoury”


    It is amusing the manner in which you Speccie kids toss around the language.

    I get it that you’re paid to help your fellow LibLabCon bubblesters spread around some fear, but better if you media puppets not make yourself into a spectacle in the process, no?

  • dado_trunking

    It’s about time Britain set up a Homeland Security equivalent. That would be a good investment and save some cash urgently required for educating people instead, wouldn’t it?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, you fascists would like your very own Stasi, wouldn’t you?

  • Mynydd

    Why is Mr Cameron only talking to the Lib Dems, if he wants changes he should be talking the Labour to obtain cross party support, after all they have far more seats, if he made it a free vote

  • evad666

    The Parliamentary Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party parts of the UK wing of the Islamic State.

  • RBcritique

    Business as usual, then.

  • Bongonian Govt

    We have this new crackdown for two reasons:
    1) We have failed to go after the terrorists at source, in Iraq and Syria
    2) Cameron needs something to distract people from (1) and from the fallout of the Carswell defection.

    Cameron is very good at looking tough in taking decisions to get involved in things that are just window dressing, but when the going really does get tough, he’s hiding behind the curtains. Weak as water.

  • chouenlai

    Camerons actions on defence have been appalling. Of course finding a 37 billion black hole left by the real financial wizards, The British Labour Party, did not help much. Telemacus will have a mind boggling reply which will be right up there in the league of high bollox.

  • swatnan

    Ming Ashdown and Owen can be dismissed with the contempt they deserve. They are so out of date. But Dave is only just papering over the cracks with polyfilla.
    What we need is proactive action, basically ‘seek and destroy'; don’t wait for these evil men to strike and kill hundreds, but prempt them and remove them from the scene.

  • ButcombeMan

    Ashdown is a little out of touch with intelligence work, that, or he is just make “elder statesman” type disruptive remarks, the sort he and Menzies Campbell are prone to.

    We should not take them too seriously.

    A main thrust of his Observer article is that Britain has been here before, with the IRA in the 80s and 90s and we coped.

    The points he is forgetting is that during that period, we had almost complete coverage of telecommunications traffic, not only in Northern Ireland. The IRA were also well penetrated with human informants and we had some support from The Republic, Above all the main language was English. Even then, there were of course, substantial bombing successes for the IRA

    None of these points applies to the current situation and even the “bombs” might be more dangerous.

    Multiple telecomunications methods have degraded coverage, even the concept is under threat, (the Snowden spying episode and the Guardian),

    Andrew Parker the Head of MI5 has said intelligence work is looking for a needle in a haystack, indeed it is, but we must first and above all, make sure that the haystack is preserved in accessible form.

    if the LibDems cannot see sense, they should abstain and the opposition should support the government over adequate telecommunications, data retention.

    This is no time for amateurs,

    Ashdown and Campbell do not have the responsibility of keeping Britain safe.

    The LibDems are unlikely ever to have that responsibillty, which is no doubt why they are so often careless with the concept..

    • Swiss Bob

      The successes the British Army had were when they took the gloves off, Government approved.

      The IRA then knew they would die in any confrontation with British Soldiers.

      That kind of engagement tends to clarify thought, secure communications or not.

      • ButcombeMan


        The UK did a deal, it did not want another 30 years of such strife and some senior IRA people were weary..

        The problem with the new threat, is that we are digging in for not 30, but for 100 to 200 years of similar strife.

        Too many politicians do not understand that. Even fewer are prepared to explain it to the voters..

        Tony Blair has a lot to answer for.

        Presumably why he is keeping his head down.

  • saffrin

    “The Prime Minister seems pretty keen to listen to the spooks”.

    Just as well, given Cameron’s actions so far on defence, I only hope MI5 can convince him it’s in the public interest for him to be fitted with a poison tooth should he feel any fresh thoughts coming on.

  • Suzy61

    The Lib Dems have no mandate to speak for anyone. They are treated with the contempt they deserve. Ashdown has the gravity of a feather. I decided to ignore him long ago. I am prepared for a bit more inconvenience if we can nail the jihadi hate-mongers. Strip them of the advantages they gain in being a citizen of a country they hate and want to destroy. Sod the ECHR. The first duty of a Government is to protect it’s own citizens, but do they really have the balls?

  • telemachus

    An enhanced data protection bill is a priority

    • Swiss Bob

      Is that so all your councillors, MPs and front bench can suppress their complicity in the r ape and t orture of children all over the country?

      There’s going to be a reckoning for this.

      • telemachus

        If we do not get the bill the paedophiles all over the country will breathe easier
        As will ISIL

        • Swiss Bob

          You mean Labour, the friend, supporter and legal advisors to these filth will breathe easier.

        • Holly

          They’ll breathe even easier IF Labour bods get re elected I’m sure.

  • Swiss Bob

    Perhaps if the morons spent a little less on useless windmills they might have some money for the armed forces.

    • telemachus

      The point of the windmills is that we will be less dependent on Arab oil

      • Swiss Bob

        Don’t be blo_ody stupid, windmills need 100% backup from gas, oil or coal.

        Shale gas is our answer to cheap and reliable and independent energy.

        You however are a stooge of the Russians, so sure you want us to buy moronic windmills.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Koff u coke suckin winker

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