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Balancing Fear: Why Counter-Terror Legislation was Blocked after the Oklahoma City and London Bombings
Unformatted Document Text:  him on the anti-terror bill. Though Blair’s approval ratings had been low for at least a year, his party may have felt pressure from the opposition due to its recent electoral gains. Indeed, Labor had recently lost 47 parliamentary seats in the 2005 election. The election losses, coupled with the PM’s low approval ratings, drove home the fact that the British public was growing weary of Blair’s rule of Labor. Blair’s mandate, thus, was weak and his party chose to stand against him for this reason. A second reason why Blair’s legislation was blocked is that anti-terror legislation had just been contentiously passed in March 2005. The March legislation made house arrests for terror suspects, without charge or trial, legal 40 . These house arrests, called control orders, forbid a terror suspect from using the phone or Internet 41 . The control order law came into effect only after raucous debate in the House of Commons and a rare hold-up in the House of Lords 42 . Blair’s leadership of the Labor Party had basically become synonymous with the new “security state” that Great Britain had become. His parliament passed the 2005 Serious Organized Crime and Police Act, which prohibited protestors from demonstrating within one kilometer of Parliament. He also spearheaded the creation of the national system of license-plate recognition cameras and, in 2006, the national identity card system 43 . Under Blair, certainly due to the very real threat of terrorism, Britain has become a surveillance state, in which there is one closed-circuit TV camera for every 14 40 “Two British parties claim win as anti-terror law takes effect,” USA Today, 11 March 2005, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-03-11-britain-terror-bill_x.htm. 41 Porter, Henry. “Blair’s Big Brother Legacy,” Vanity Fair, July 2006, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/07/blair200607. 42 “Angry clashes over terror plans,” BBC News, 23 February 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/4289349.stm; Assinder, Nick, “Terror Bill faces more trouble,” BBC News, 1 March 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4303869.stm. 43 Porter, “Blair’s Big Brother Legacy”; UK Home Office, “ID Cards,” http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/passports-and-immigration/id-cards/. 21

Authors: Rubin, Gabriel.
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him on the anti-terror bill. Though Blair’s approval ratings had been low for at least a
year, his party may have felt pressure from the opposition due to its recent electoral
gains. Indeed, Labor had recently lost 47 parliamentary seats in the 2005 election. The
election losses, coupled with the PM’s low approval ratings, drove home the fact that the
British public was growing weary of Blair’s rule of Labor. Blair’s mandate, thus, was
weak and his party chose to stand against him for this reason.
A second reason why Blair’s legislation was blocked is that anti-terror legislation
had just been contentiously passed in March 2005. The March legislation made house
arrests for terror suspects, without charge or trial, legal
. These house arrests, called
control orders, forbid a terror suspect from using the phone or Internet
. The control
order law came into effect only after raucous debate in the House of Commons and a rare
hold-up in the House of Lords
Blair’s leadership of the Labor Party had basically become synonymous with the
new “security state” that Great Britain had become. His parliament passed the 2005
Serious Organized Crime and Police Act, which prohibited protestors from demonstrating
within one kilometer of Parliament. He also spearheaded the creation of the national
system of license-plate recognition cameras and, in 2006, the national identity card
system
. Under Blair, certainly due to the very real threat of terrorism, Britain has
become a surveillance state, in which there is one closed-circuit TV camera for every 14
40
“Two British parties claim win as anti-terror law takes effect,” USA Today, 11 March 2005,
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-03-11-britain-terror-bill_x.htm.
41
Porter, Henry. “Blair’s Big Brother Legacy,” Vanity Fair, July 2006,
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/07/blair200607.
42
“Angry clashes over terror plans,” BBC News, 23 February 2005,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/4289349.stm; Assinder, Nick, “Terror Bill faces more
trouble,” BBC News, 1 March 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4303869.stm.
43
Porter, “Blair’s Big Brother Legacy”; UK Home Office, “ID Cards,”
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/passports-and-immigration/id-cards/.
21


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