Thursday, 9 June 2005

Suggested letter to the Tories.

Labour has savagely attacked civil liberties in this country. I wondered what your view is of the following pieces of legislation, and perhaps more importantly, what an incoming Conservative administration would do about them?

· Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 seemingly allows surveillance for the pettiest of reasons

· Civil Contingencies Act 2004 seemingly allows the suspension of the Rule of Law

· The Serious and Organised Crime act 2005 which extends police powers of arrest to include more or less anything, which when combined with the

· Counter Terrorism Act 2008, which effectively bans the photographing of the Police

The upshot of these pieces of legislation is that Britain is no longer free. It is extremely difficult to call the police to account, and there is now a serious dearth of checks and balances in their role. Their politicisation is also a cause for concern, especially when combined with the database state, where vast amounts of information are to be shared will allow any future government to close down dissent and arrest undesirables.

· The Coroners and Death Certification bill, due to be published later in the year, effectively removes the security services from scrutiny by allowing secret tribunals in sensitive cases.

An incoming Conservative administration is going to have its hands full with the economy, and in dealing with Gordon Brown’s client state, is probably going to have a major fight on its hands with the public sector Unions (remember the 1980’s?). My fear is that David Cameron and his team are going to find these excessive powers useful in running the country, and the ratchet of dangerously illiberal legislation will not be released.

Freedom is not popular because the benefits are dispersed, and the costs (if you believe the liberty/freedom trade-off, which I don’t) are individual. I am minded of Benjamin Franklin’s maxim that those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither.

What can you do to reassure me that the Conservatives are better custodians of British freedom than this most bullying of Labour administrations?

Friday, 3 June 2005

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