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Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Hurd, has spoken some extremely wise words both on the nature of manifestos and on the absolute necessity for certainty in the law, and as I understand from what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, and my noble friend Lord Goodhart, the crucial aim here is to make sure that the law is unambiguous and clear. "Glorification" is a slippery word, as indicated in the letter from the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights, Louise Arbour. It does not have a clear meaning and therefore, paradoxically, in addressing us the Minister made it plain that one of the things which would limit the number of prosecutions that might be brought under glorification was intent. That was put into the Bill after a very long argument in this House which, of course, came after the use of glorification, which in turn preceded the introduction of intent into the law. If intent is one of the things that narrow the area in which cases alleging glorification can be brought, it is rather strange that it should now be adduced as an argument for keeping the term "glorification".
There is another factor which links what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Hurd, with the moving words of the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit. Quite simply, the glorification of what might be called terrorism lies deep in many cultural traditions, not only in the tradition of Islam. On Sundays I go to a church called the Church of St Joseph's and the English Martyrs. It glorifies terrorism. Those martyrs died under the reigns of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I and therefore they are being glorified for what they did in defiance of the state at the time. As has been pointed out by my noble friend Lord Thomas, there is no limitation on how far back in time glorification may go. If I travel to Oxford I will see a monument which glorifies Archbishop Cranmer, who equally offended the Roman Catholic regime at the time.
The problem here is that at some point most cultures glorify terrorism, and the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, was absolutely right to remind us of very recent examples. Terrorism has been glorified in Northern Ireland and, in effect, is still being glorified on placards and posters. As the noble Lord, Lord Judd, rightly
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said, consider for a moment the impact on the Islamic community when it is picked out for a series of cases about glorification when it is perfectly clear that not many miles away similar acts of glorification leading, as the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, reminded us, directly to deaths at violent hands have not been prosecuted. There has not been even an incentive or an instigation of prosecution in those cases. I for one have found it extraordinary that in the long period when the IRA refused to decommission its weapons no attempt was made to bring its members to justice on the grounds of their being involved in terrorism.
We are walking on deeply ambiguous territory. It would be most dangerous, if we seriously believe that we have to curb terrorist actionsI agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Ramsay, that we need to do soas a result of the cases brought for us to be seen to be very aware of terrorism in one quarter and completely unaware and not even wishing to be aware of terrorism in another. In the history of our relations with Northern Ireland we have a different attempt to deal with terrorism by compromise. With that history behind us, and indeed with us, we are almost the last country on earth that can now declare clearly that terrorism is a distinctly Muslim characteristic. Yet that is what is being read all too much into our debates and deliberations.
Therefore I plead with the House, if it is serious about bringing cases that will be upheld on the basis of absolutely clear law, that the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, is right: far more effective to have that law clear and unambiguous, even if fewer cases are brought to fail, than to play the game of appearing to pick out one culture of glorification over another leaving us with the general impression of a deeply built-in prejudice against the Islamic community.
Lord Grabiner: My Lords, I will be extremely brief because I suspect that all the points that could have been made have already been made. Is it not plain that the examples given by the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, are obviously capable of amounting to glorification? More to the point, is it not obvious that a jury would be entitled so to conclude? The word "glorify", or "glorification", is a simple English word that would be well understood by an English jury.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill: My Lords, I want to make one or two points that have not yet been made. I agree with the general thrust of all the speeches that have been made. First, in dealing with the rest of the world, I am not aware that in the United States such an offence could possibly pass muster under the first amendment because of the strong constitutional guarantee of free speech. I am not aware that any other country party to the United Nations resolution has introduced such an offence. The only state I know of that had something similar was Spain. When Spain introduced that offence it was challenged before the constitutional court of Spain which decided that it was unconstitutional in the form in which it was expressed.
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We are therefore doing something uniqueand uniquely badin law making. When my friend and colleague the noble Lord, Lord Judd, and I and others on the Joint Committee on Human Rights visited Madrid recentlySpain is the European state that has faced even more terrorism than us, both from ETA and the Madrid bombingsto inquire about its counter-terrorist measures we had the privilege of meeting Ministers, the public prosecutor and senior judges and asking questions about their pattern of law making. One of the questions was whether they considered it necessary in Spain in their counter-terrorist measures to detain people, for example, for up to 90 days without charge or by having the offence of glorified terrorism. The answer we received was, "No, we don't consider it necessary. What you do not need is more laws. What you do need is to make the existing laws work properly".
That seems correct to me. We have a vast armoury in our criminal law of offences against public order of one kind or another; they cover all the disgraceful events of the recent demonstrations. They cover everything from incitement to murder to other, lesser crimes against public order. The amendments this House agreed upon would make the offence of direct and indirect encouragement of terrorism workable and effective. I believe that the inclusion of glorification will make the offence, if applied in any way at all, contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. I do not see the point in passing legislation that will lead to a result in our courts that none of us would wish to see.
This is not the first time we have faced political speech crimes of this kind. As we all remember, we did so with regard to the offence of stirring up religious hatred, and on all sides of this House we managed to amend a manifesto Bill to make absolutely sure that freedom of speech would be effectively protected. In the other place, the opposition parties and Labour Back-Benchers joined together in a great alliance in order to copper-fasten those amendments. Unfortunately that could not be accomplished on this occasion, so the Bill has returned to this House. It is a manifesto Bill, as was the other one. On the face of it there is no specific guarantee of free expression of the kind we put into the other one. The other offences were much less seriousthey were not concerned with terrorismand yet we managed to get adequate safeguards. We do not have such safeguards in this Bill, and I believe it would not be contrary to the Salisbury convention, or any other convention of this House, to send it back again to the other place so that it could be improved. Then we could have something on the face of the Bill that would work in practice and not be counterproductive.
Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I did not intend to speak on this Bill, but I feel strongly about the glorification issue. I greatly respect the noble Lord, Lord Judd, who referred to the intelligence and the rights of the other
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place. Frankly, the rights of the other place are dictated by No. 10 Downing Street, but let us leave thatthat is the way it is. I also respect my noble friend Lord Hurd, and other noble and learned Lords who have spoken on this subject.
I have lived for 25 years in the middle of terrorism, probably the most complex near-to-home terrorist situation that those of us alive today and in this House have had to deal with politically, practically and financially. From where I stand, Mr Hain is guilty of glorification of terrorism by giving Mr McGuinness and Mr Adams back their rights and their money for not attending or sitting in the House of Commons. You may say that that is a small point, and, in a global situation, it is. I accept that. I am not an intellectual. But for me it neatly demonstrates the dangers of the issue of the glorification of terrorism. I could repeat that sort of example again and again, as could other noble Lords.
To pass an Act that enshrines in British law the glorification of terrorism as something which can be condemned, of which people can be accused or from which they can be let off is utterly wrong in human rights terms, as the noble Lord, Lord Lester, has said far better than I can. It is also counterproductive from a practical point of view. I am surprised that the noble Baroness from the Government's Back Bench, with her background, spoke in the way that she did. To enshrine in our law a criminal act of glorifying terrorism is seriously dangerous and will prove to be counterproductive.
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