Long before George Bush declared a 'war on terror' in September 2001, Britain already had a head start with its own anti-terror laws. But its strategy has recently gone into crisis, especially the powers to intern foreign nationals.
Those powers were officially justified by a supposed 'public emergency threatening the life of the nation'. As the government faces growing opposition to internment, the home secretary desperately tries to maintain a fake emergency, central to its politics of fear. To avoid criticism for discrimination, moreover, he has proposed yet new powers to impose 'control orders' upon anyone, including house arrest. Many MPs are now supporting such measures - similar to the 'banning orders' under apartheid in South Africa, which they opposed not long ago.