Video also available on YouTube here.
This morning I want to talk about freedom.
For too long new laws and regulations have taken away people’s freedoms, interfered in everyday life, and made it difficult for businesses to get by.
The state has crept further and further into people’s homes, the places they work, their private lives.
That intrusion is wrong; it’s illiberal; it’s disempowering and it’s going to change.
This government is putting freedom under the spotlight in a way the previous government never did.
We want the British people have their say on where the state should step in, and where it should butt out.
We are asking people for ideas on restoring hard won liberties that have been lost…
On repealing unnecessary laws that have no place on the statute book…
And on stripping away the excessive regulation that stops businesses from innovating.
Your views will shape directly the steps we take.
It is a radically different approach.
Because this Coalition trusts people to get on with their lives…
It’s probably the thing Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have most in common.
We don’t think every problem can be fixed by passing a new law.
We understand that Whitehall doesn’t have all of the answers, and doesn’t have a monopoly on the best ideas.
So gone are the days of know-it-all, do-it-all government.
Because a liberal society, a prosperous society, is one where citizens and businesses have the space and power to thrive.
Today I am asking the people of Britain to help us to begin building that society.
Protecting civil liberties, repealing unnecessary laws, and cutting restrictive red tape.
He went on to outline three main areas for improvement: restoring civil liberties, repealing unnecessary laws and cutting business and third sector regulations. You can read the full speech here.
The website http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/ has had its problems today, with heavy traffic often rendering it slow or unavailable. People have already submitted ideas on a wide range of topics, from steeple tax to the smoking ban, with the Digital Economy Act appearing under a number of headings. The ideas are free-form and crowdsourced, with the promise that they’ll all be read.
The process does not have a definite end date – “We’ll assess its popularity and success in collecting ideas at regular intervals” but if it proves popular, “this could become a common way of the Government working more openly, and responding more regularly to public feedback.”
Here’s what Lib Dem bloggers have had to say today:
Katie Sutton says Repeal the Digital Economy Act;
Linda Jack shares her idea of freedom;
Neue Politik calls for marriage equality while Christopher Wilson notes that not all the suggestions are entirely serious.
Mark Thompson reckons he’d repeal the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and Steph Ashley sets her readers a smoking ban-related quiz.
Iain blogged back in May that repealing “daft” laws won’t be so easy, so although grey squirrels may have to stay on their guard a little longer yet, the Your Freedom initiative is a clear signal from the new Government that it views citizens – and their freedom – differently.