Home Office Minister Damian Green announced in the House of Commons this morning that the Government is not intending to maintain the 28-day limit to detain terror suspects without charge when its 6 month extension lapses next Tuesday. Instead, it will revert back to 14 days. Home Secretary Theresa May is to report fully on anti-terror measures in Parliament next Wednesday.
In the wider debate, there is a power struggle going on within the coalition between the securocrats and those who deem a re-balancing between liberty and security as essential.
This decision is most certainly a step in the right direction. Personally, I think 14 days detention without trial is too much. What about the terrorists the securocrats will bellow. Well, what about the fundamental tenet that underpins (or is supposed to underpin) our legal system - that of innocent until proven guilty?
Before jumping onto the security bandwagon, people should ask that question of themselves. How would we like it if a member of our family was detained without charge? Not very nice is it.
It was Benjamin Franklin who framed it in a way that those who value liberty have failed to better in the 200 years since.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Getting the balance right is of vital importance and the Government's first responsibility is to protect its citizens. But it must also ensure that it protects us from an overwhelmingly powerful state.
We should not wish to be an authoritarian state. Labour got the balance wrong and even their senior members now admit so.
This is not George Orwell's 1984 and I hope it never will be, because what kind of living is that?