Loyal Opposition?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Loyal Opposition?

The willingness of the GOP-majority Congress (including more than a few Democrats) to give the administration whatever it asked for in the name of Homeland Security seemed limitless--until enough GOP members bucked the White House on legalizing torture to foil Uncle Dick's dreams.

A similar thing is happening in the U.K., which of course has a parliamentary system in which the Government--in other words, the prime minister and his cabinet--can usually pass whatever legislation they want because they have a majority and party discipline is the rule. But Tony Blair was humiliated yesterday by Labour MPs who refused to pass a bill allowing suspects in terror cases to be held for 90 days without charge (the current limit is 14 days). Blair is now taking a page from the U.S. book, offering a "sunset" on the extended limit, but he still might lose.

If you had shown this quote to someone in the 1980s, could they have imagined that it would be a Tory leader speaking about a Labour Government?
If you want to look for a precedent of 90 days I suggest you find it in the apartheid regime in South Africa when the 90-day rule was one of the most notorious aspects of that regime.

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