Gordon Brown sent a clear message this week to all those who have despaired of the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hoped that he would stand up to George Bush and bring the troops home.
On his trip to meet George Bush in the US, Brown made clear his devotion to the “strong relationship” with the US, and that Britain would continue to play a central role in the “war on terror”.
Much of the media responded by looking for any difference between Brown’s relationship with Bush and Blair’s.
Brown said, “Afghanistan is the frontline against terrorism.” Bush says it is Iraq.
Blair and Bush used to wear open necked shirts when they met. Brown and Bush wore suits this week.
Brown will stand together with Bush in pushing through an imperialist project in the Middle East.
Bush said, “There is no doubt in my mind that Gordon Brown understands that failure in Iraq would be a disaster for both our countries.”
In the Washington Post newspaper, Brown wrote, “It is our shared task to expose terrorism.”
He added, “All of us must be vigilant in our determination to prevent attacks and defeat the forces of terrorism. And it is the values we share that make us best placed to succeed.”
The reality of what that means is continuing carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The rhetoric over terrorism is translating into Brown’s plan to increase detention without trial in Britain.
He has said that in the next session of parliament he wants to reopen the debate on raising the 28-day limit on the amount time that police can hold a suspect without charge.
The limit was extended to 28 days only 18 months ago. It is already the longest maximum period of detention without charge in western Europe.
The proposal for a 90 day period was narrowly defeated when put forward by Tony Blair in 2005.
But Brown has called for a “consultation” on increasing the time to up to 56 days, supporting police claims that they need yet more time to detain people to collect “evidence” in terrorist cases.
Brown also announced he is intending to bring in a “unified border force” to boost the “fight against terrorism”.
This would create a “highly visible” force that would bring together immigration and customs officers.
He is also calling for a speed up to the introduction of identity cards.
Other measures include support for using email and telephone intercepts as evidence.
Yet more draconian laws won’t mean an end to terrorism. It is Britain’s support for the US’s war that leads to terrorism.
In his Washington Post article, Brown said, “We must expose the contrast between great objectives to tackle global poverty and honour human dignity and the evils of terrorists who would bomb and maim people irrespective of faith, indifferent to the very existence of human life.”
In a sense he is right. But it is an apt description of his “special relationship” with Bush and the carnage they preside over.