So it's 42, then. That's the answer, but what the hell is the question? How long can we get away with? How long doesn't look too draconian? How long won't make too many people pissed off so we can shit the legislation out of our arses like a prickly pear?
Having failed at 90, Labour return with a plan for two extra weeks. Two extra weeks of what? Investigation? A nice flight off to Egypt to meet some friends of ours? Trying to smear you and frame you? What difference does it make?
It's a fine balancing act. There's no justification for 42, just as there wasn't for 90. There would have been none for 56 either, or 54, or even 55 if they'd chosen an odd number for a laugh. Every single extra day has no justification for it whatsoever, no evidence supporting it, not a single reason that makes the case convincing. It's just one more day we can take someone away from society for what we suspect but can't prove.
And this is in a country where we can prosecute you for owning a book.
The announcement comes on the day that the state prosecuted Samina Malik for thought crimes. For owning and reading a book. Just like Abdul Patel was in October. For owning a book. I own a Haynes manual, does that make me a mechanic?
42 days is a disgrace against this country's traditions and values. It's not justice, it's not policing and it shouldn't be the law. It is oppressive, nasty and vindictive just for the sake of it. The question is: what is everyone going to do about it? Say, 'oh well, it's not as bad as 56 is it?' It isn't, but it's still worse than 28, much worse. Two extra weeks of depriving someone of their liberty when you have no evidence whatsoever to charge them.
Gordon Brown's premiership is on a knife-edge. He may well suggest to Labour colleagues, in a cunning move, that a defeat in this vote would be disastrous for the party. They will be faced with a choice: to defeat their party, or to defeat justice. It won't be easy, but it is still time to make a stand.