Tony Blair suffered his first major parliamentary defeat as prime minister today, according to the Beeb. According to the report, one of Blair’s proposed new anti-terror law that would have allowed detention without charge or trial of terrorist suspects for 90 days was pared down to only allow suspects to be held for 28 days.
The defeat was handed Blair by his own Labour Party, leading to many suggesting, as did Tory leader Michael Howard, that Blair should resign and, as did Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, that Blair may be a lame duck.
But this is not about Blair, it’s about England’s seriousness in fighting terrorism. It’s a poor contrast, in fact, to two of Britain’s former colonies. Despite the Dems, we still have the Patriot Act and — so far at least — the Supreme Court hasn’t overturned the president’s ability to lock up enemy combatants here and abroad. And Australia, whose police have bagged about 16 terrorist suspects this week, and may have interdicted a major terrorist attack there. This, shortly after the Howard government obtained liberalized police powers to arrest terrorist suspects.
Leaves one wondering: if Blair has indeed run out of gas, who will succeed him, and will they have the force of personality and political power to carry on the fight? After Blair, Britain may devolve to EUnuch decadence. Shouldn’t we be paying more attention to this? In truth, we had better. Britain is an ally we can ill afford to lose in this war.