Losing more than a vote

When I was a student in France, I mis-heard on a very crackly radio, that Parliament had voted to reintroduce capital punishment (they hadn’t). At a time when France had just abolished la guillotine, I seriously considered whether I should stay abroad; Britain suddenly felt less like home.

I feel a bit that way again now, with the Government just winning the vote to extend detention without charge. I was talking to a non-political friend about the issue the other day; she’s used to me having a pop at the government of the day, and often gently teases me that any government, even a Lib Dem one, might do the same. This time she heard me out, then said “you really care about this, don’t you?”. Yes, I do.

Was Emily Thornberry one of the MPs who sold out? She’s always been a big Gordon Brown fan. Or did her vote get cancelled out by the DUP?

It’s not the end, yet. There’s still the House of Lords. There’s still the detail of the various amendments and supposed safeguards to be digested. There’s still the profound hope – shared by campaigners on all sides – that this legislation will never need to be implemented. So tomorrow is another day. But for tonight it feels like more than a vote has been lost.

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