The Sketch: How's an honest terrorist to know what's going on?

One after the other, MPs stood up goggling at their individual and collective helplessness
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The Independent Online

So many rights, so many courts, so many jurisdictions – they've built a system so complex an honest terrorist doesn't know whether he's coming or going. The MPs all agreed Abu Qatada is a "vicious terrorist" driven by "murderous hatred" but, other than David Winnick, no one asked the question: if he's so wicked, vile and guilty – why isn't he in court?

Hazel Blears popped up defending her contribution to anti-terrorism. I'd forgotten about her. She was responsible for the loathsome novelty of control orders. She told the Commons all those years ago that they weren't a punishment for wrongdoing but a way to prevent people doing wrong. Why aren't we all under control orders, in that case?

One after the other MPs stood up goggling at their individual and collective helplessness. The Home Secretary kept saying she was keen to reform. How she always wanted to prosecute. Why she was constantly seeking assurances from Jordan's government. It was all wish and whitewash.

Would they actually reform the Strasbourg court, Eleanor Laing asked? "Considerable effort" was being made. "The Prime Minister had given a speech." That always works.

When Bill Cash congratulated her on her "robust" attitude and asked her if she was going to repeal the Human Rights Act, she replied, "I said I thought it should be repealed, not that I was about to." I had a more robust custard for lunch.

If he does manage to organise some outrage over the Olympics, or for the Queen's jubilee – imagine the penalty the Government will pay. It might be worth it, for some. Dominic Grieve sat grieving at the grievous Euroscepticism behind him. But we can't resist extradition requests from the US or from the EU – and we can't deport hate-mongering criminals. Oh, the helplessness of our leaders when, as Julian Brazier said, we confuse the "the rule of law and the tyranny of lawyers".