First of all, he gives his view about why this Bill is bad news for anyone who is committed to civil liberties:
It is difficult to comprehend just how fundamental a departure from centuries-old principles this would be. The right to see and hear the evidence of the other side, and subsequently to challenge the veracity or utility of that evidence, forms the basis of our entire civil justice system. The prospect, too, of claimants being told that they have lost their case but not being given any reasons why should send a chill through any believers in fair, open justice.
He goes on to describe the strength of opposition within the Liberal Democrats and the consequences should Liberal Democrats push this Bill through against the strongly expressed wishes of the membership:
…the party is unanimously, vociferously pro-civil liberties. Liberal Democrats see a commitment not just to protecting our current freedoms but also to extending them as a key part of their political identity, and therefore crucial to the party’s beliefs.
This means two things. First, that room for compromise is limited: a bill that threatens long-standing freedoms is a bad bill, no matter the degree. And second, it means any acceptance by the parliamentary party of a bill opposed by members will be met with a backlash the likes of which the current leadership has not yet experienced. The party’s democratic structure places an awful lot of power in the hands of a united, well-organised party membership.
You can read the rest of the article in full here. I’m sure Nick wouldn’t mind if I also added in a link to the Liberal Democrats against Secret Courts website. If you agree with the points he has made, there is a petition already backed by almost 600 party members which you can sign here.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings