Abstract: “It cannot be right that the rights of an individual suspected terrorist be placed above the rights, life and limb of the British people. It’s wrong. Full stop. No ifs. No buts. It’s just plain wrong” Home Secretary, John Reid 1 October 2006
Terrorist violence has a long history in Britain, and the legal measures adopted to counter the threat are also long standing, even though in recent years they have been considerably expanded. In the period since 9/11 what appeared like archaic debates about state power, civil liberties and discourse and politics of national security are back on the agenda.
After the tragic events in New York and Washington 11 September 2001, Britain left the idea of the Terrorism Act 2000 as a single and comprehensive legislation, capable of handling the threat of terrorism, behind, and introduced the controversial Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, enacted a mere 3 months later. Since then two more pieces of legislation has followed. Since 9/11 Britain intensified its counter-terrorism efforts on all levels. Some of these measures have been among the most discussed issues in British politics in recent years, especially the derogations of civil liberties. This is an important discussion as the essence of civil liberties, personal and political rights really are the foundation of the liberal democracy we cherish.