You heard this first in the People’s Republic.* Ready?
- Scrap ID cards for everyone, including foreign nationals.
- Ensure that there are no restrictions in the right to trial by jury for serious offences including fraud.
- Restore the right to protest in Parliament Square, at the heart of our democracy.
- Abolish the flawed control orders regime.
- Renegotiate the unfair extradition treaty with the United States.
- Restore the right to public assembly for more than two people.
- Scrap the ContactPoint database of all children in Britain.
- Strengthen freedom of information by giving greater powers to the Information Commissioner and reducing exemptions.
- Stop criminalising trespass.
- Restore the public interest defence for whistleblowers.
- Prevent allegations of ‘bad character’ from being used in court.
- Restore the right to silence when accused in court.
- Prevent bailiffs from using force.
- Restrict the use of surveillance powers to the investigation of serious crimes and stop councils snooping.
- Restore the principle of double jeopardy in UK law.
- Remove innocent people from the DNA database.
- Reduce the maximum period of pre-charge detention to 14 days.
- Scrap the ministerial veto which allowed the Government to block the release of Cabinet minutes relating to the Iraq war.
- Require explicit parental consent for biometric information to be taken from children.
- Regulate CCTV following a Royal Commission on cameras.
Henry Porter’s dream shopping list? Labour’s nightmare scenario? Yes, both of those, but more than that, the above list is the substance of the first draft of the Liberal Democrats’ Freedom Bill.
Oh boy. Am I happy they’ve done this – though not before time. The idea of the one bill to rule them all was originally an initiative of Clegg’s when he was Shadow Home Sec’y (back before civil liberties was fashionable), and it’s been out in the cold for too long.
And it doesn’t end there either. The site proclaims:
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all the freedoms that have been lost in recent years. Sadly, there are too many. It is intended to be a starting point – to show people how much personal liberty has been stripped away by this Government and the one before it. The Freedom Bill and the corresponding website is a consultative document. We want to hear from you. What have we missed? What have we got wrong? What do you disagree with? Where should we have gone further? Which do you think are the most important rights to restore? What else would you like to see on the website?
For the sake of liberty, go to the site, sign the petition, comment on the draft and sign up to the RSS to show your (whole-hearted and enthusiastic support/qualified approval with the rider that the Lib Dems are still a bunch of wets and you don’t much like the cut of their jib except for Vince Cable, he’s a LEGEERRRND he is/some psychologically unsatisfactory combination of the two that you can’t quite come to terms with) – delete as applicable.
* Unless you read it first at Lib Dem Voice.**
** Or unless you read it first at Comment is Free.