Friday, 21 May 2010

That Government Programme in Full: 3. Civil Liberties

  • We will implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion.

I'm going to give this a qualified "good". I suspect they'll only roll back Labour's stuff, not things like the Video Recordings Act or various terrible bills under Thatcher and Major.

  • We will introduce a Freedom Bill.

and? Why not just call it the Coco the Clown Bill. Blah.

  • We will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register and the ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports.


  • We will outlaw the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.


  • We will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.

Sounds promising.

  • We will adopt the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.


  • We will protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

For every case? Please do.

  • We will restore rights to non-violent protest.


  • We will review libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

Very good.

  • We will introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

Sounds promising.

  • We will further regulate CCTV.

Probably needs it.

  • We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason.


  • We will introduce a new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.

A bit blah because a subsequent government can come in and just change it.

  • We will establish a Commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties.



  1. All little things no matter if we agree or not.

    When will they be doing the BIG THINGS

    Its a bit like pretending to fix climate change by "every little counts". It doesn't. Every BIG COUNTS. and that is at the root of denial of the core science. It means BIG change. No one has the guts for it.

    The psychology is the same.

  2. Robin,

    My attitude towards government is to look at every decision economically like a business does.

    You have 100 things that you can solve. Which one do you pick first? The one that has the best rate of return. So, while getting rid of ID cards isn't a huge thing, it's something you can do at almost no cost and has a big return. Something like restructuring education takes time and money. It makes more difference, but not by rate.

    You're quite right about the environment. There's always talk about switching lightbulbs or turning off your TV at night on the BBC, but these things make an almost insignificant different to energy use. It's heating and driving a car that make all the difference. The internet is reckoned to save 10 times all the energy used. People don't have to travel to buy things, they reduce wasted journeys, allow people to work without going to an office. It's often looking at solutions more laterally that achieves big results.