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Blair wins historic victory as new UK anti-terror laws are approved



The British regime achieved a major victory in parliament yesterday, successfully passing a new anti-terror bill containing an extensive package of new and increased powers for the authorities and new and increased restrictions on the public.

Unfortunately, few ordinary people in the UK are aware of the changes approved yesterday by their elected representatives, because to date they have been barely mentioned in the mass media. How many of them can you list? One of the new laws approved yesterday was a ban on the "glorification" of terrorism. But how many people are aware of this? Were you? You would not find it easy to learn this fact by reading the newspapers in Britain today.

In an impressive exercise of mass deception, the mass media in the UK are universally portraying this as a historic "defeat", and indeed this is the top story in every mass media news outlet in the country today, on TV, on the radio and in the press, without exception. So powerful is the message from the mass media that even alternative outlets for news and commentary, most notably the independent blogs and web sites, have seized on the news as a story about the "defeat" of new anti-terror laws. We are unable to find a single example, apart from the article that you are now reading, that highlights government's success in passing a major new anti-terror new bill with virtually no amendments. If this is how we define "defeat" or failure, surely success would require a dictatorship.

In reality, the "defeat" described by the mass media is nothing more than a slight change to one part of one point in the long list of proposals advanced by the government -- namely the infamous "90 days" proposal, which was reduced to a month instead of six months. This proposal would literally give policemen the power to sentence people to six-months in prison without evidence, without a trial or an opportunity to defend against the charge, in fact without even charging the prisoner with any crime.

Everybody knew that the 90-day proposal would be controversial, but starting negotiations artificially high in order to achieve the desired target while letting the other side claim some sense of victory is a very well-known tactic. In politics this strategy is especially useful, because a particularly controversial proposal causes arguments that distract from the real issue. The mass media seem happy to play along.

The range of opinion expressed in the mass media on this topic is narrow and limited even by the usual standards. At the pro-government end of the spectrum, as usual there is extreme outrage and actual anger that the government was not simply allowed to do whatever it wanted unopposed. As for the so-called "opposition", it was entirely limited to applauding this so-called "defeat", while no concern whatsoever was expressed for the proposals that were passed successfully, if these were mentioned at all, and in most cases they were not mentioned.

In a comprehensive sample of the British press this morning, The Sun and the Daily Mail provide typical examples of the frame in which this major news story has been presented. The front page of The Sun led with a large red title "TERROR BILL DEFEAT" followed by an even bigger one-word headline spanning the entire width of the page: "TRAITORS". At the foot of the page, beneath a big picture of the British Prime Minister looking patriotic but hurt, was an ominous warning: "Evil Bakri vows to return to UK thanks to by craven MPs" falsely suggesting that the "radical" Muslim's decision to return to Britain after visiting the Middle East is in some way connected to Blair's parliamentary "defeat". The Sun, a popular tabloid "newspaper" is read by more Britons than any other tabloid, with more readers each day than all national broadsheet newspapers combined. The Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News in the USA, a TV news channel with equal bias and lack of integrity.

The front page of the Daily Mail also reported the "historic defeat", followed by extensive discussion and commentary. With major articles on pages 6, 7, 8, 9 and 14 covering Blair's commons "defeat", it is a remarkable achievement of journalism that the Daily Mail succeeded in failing to mentioning any of the many new anti-terror proposals that parliament DID approve yesterday -- There was not so much as a single word on any page even mentioning any of these essential details.

The British public could be forgiven for concluding based on today's headlines that no new laws were passed because of this "defeat". Witness how voters are informed about politics in this "democracy".


FURTHER READING

Daily Mirror, "MPs reject terror bill", front page, 10 November 2005.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=16352756%26method=full%26siteid=94762%26headline=blair%2dblow%2das%2d49%2dlabour%2dmps%2dreject%2dterror%2dlaw-name_page.html
    Blair blow as Labour MPs reject 90-day terror law Sometimes it is better to lose doing the right thing than to win doing the wrong thing. The reason I wish it hadn't happened is because we were trying to do the right thing for the country. I just hope we don't rue it...
    ...

The Sun, "Terror bill defeat", front page, 10 November 2005.
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2005520275,00.html
    TREACHEROUS MPs betrayed the British people last night by rejecting new laws to combat terror.
    They IGNORED the wishes of the vast majority of Britons and HUMILIATED Tony Blair by inflicting his first Commons defeat.
    ...

The Guardian, "Blair suffers first Commons defeat", front page, 10 November 2005.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Politics/terrorism/story/0,15935,1639028,00.html

The Indepednent, "The moment Tony Blair lost his authority", front page, 10 November 2005.
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article326057.ece
    Tony Blair's personal authority was badly dented last night when he suffered a humiliating defeat over his plan to allow the police to detain suspected terrorists for up to 90 days without charge.
    Mr Blair's first Commons defeat since coming to power in 1997 was heavier than expected and provoked speculation at Westminster about how long he could remain Prime Minister. Some allies admitted privately his tenure could be shortened if Labour backbenchers inflict further defeats in the next few months over his planned reforms on education, health and incapacity benefit.
    ...

Daily Mail, "Growing doubts over Blair's future after stunning terror defeat", front page, 10 November 2005.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=368187&in_page_id=1770&ct=5
    Defiant Tony Blair is preparing to meet police and security services to assess the implications of last night's crushing defeat over plans to detain terrorist suspects for up to 90 days without charge.
    Mr Blair suffered his first Commons defeat since he took office in 1997 when forty-nine Labour rebels joined with the opposition parties to reject his key proposal for fighting Islamic terror.
    Exuberant MPs cheered the result as critics immediately called for his resignation and a quick handover to Gordon Brown.
    ...

Daily Express, "Terror bill defeated: but Blair was right", front page, 10 November 2005.
http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk

OTHER RESOURCES

The Guardian, "What the papers say", 10 November 2005.
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,15935,1639221,00.html
    You know something big has happened in parliament when the Star finds room to trail the work of political editor Mercer Hall on the front page. Follow the invitation to turn to page 2 though - ignoring the latest on David Beckham's latest shopping trip - and the story is waiting for you: "Lame duck Blair was told to quack off last night following his most humiliating defeat."
    ...
    * Blair's first Commons defeat
    * Great victory and great defeat
    * Hubbub then humiliation
    * Labour must not add to the damage* Times: Beginning of the end?
    * Mirror: MPs reject terror bill
    * Times: The collapse of Teflon Tony
    * FT: Personal setback for Met chief
    * Brown's supporters find cause to smile
    * Sun: Traitors

"The Insider" mailing list article, 10 November 2005.

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Tags: Blair, defeat, anti-terror, laws, terrorism, bill, defeated, parliament, commons, vote, MPs, voted, against, 90-days, terror, suspects, new, laws, approved, bill, propaganda, brainwashing, , conspiracy theories.

 
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