Tag Archives: Alistair Carmichael

Carmichael: Britain needs to hear liberal internationalist voices like never before

Alistair Carmichael has given his reaction to the referendum result on his Facebook page, reproduced here with his permission.

Facebook asks what is on my mind. This may not be the most coherent answer I can give in my sleep-deprived state but here goes :

1. As a result of the referendum vote we now have massive economic issues to face and deal with – the priority for all parties should be to tackle that.

2. We can not tackle these problems while, as a country, we are split down the middle so this is a time for bringing people together and healing the divisions if we can. I sense a lot of anger amongst my friends and I share the frustration but we can not allow that anger to be self-indulgent. There is too much at stake.

3. The only way in which a break up of the UK can now be avoided is if we go for a properly federal structure and elect it proportionately. Brexit is the consequence of a broken political system.

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Alistair Carmichael MP writes: Snoopers’ Charter debate was a circle of Hell even Dante could not have imagined

This week in Parliament we debated the Investigatory Powers Bill or, as some would have it, the Snooper’s Charter take 2. It was two days of my life that I will never have back and, after fifteen years as an MP, it was two of the most depressing days I have known. Being an MP is a great job and when parliament works as it is supposed to it can be exhilarating. When it fails to do what it is elected to do, namely to hold the government of the day to account, then it is hell. The debate on this bill took us to a new circle of hell that even Dante could not have imagined.

The Bill is rotten to its core and I wish we could have blocked it as we did in Coalition when faced with the Communications Data Bill. Dealing with Tories in government was difficult. Dealing with Tories in government and Labour in opposition is impossible.
We had two days to debate hundreds of amendments in the House of Commons. The government alone brought forward one hundred and four amendments on the first day and a further twenty on the second. After all the amendments the provisions on bulk data collection and the retention of “internet connection records” are not even half-baked. They are raw.

You would have thought that this would be grist to the mill of any decent opposition. You would be right in that. Unfortunately we don’t have a decent opposition, we have the Labour Party. There was not a single amendment in the whole two day debate on which Labour considered worthy of voting. For two days they were absent from the voting lobbies. We did get a little excited on day two when we heard through the usual channels that they were “going to vote on something”. We need not have got our hopes up – it turned out that “something” was a third reading of the bill (ie on the bill as a whole) and the vote they cast was to support it.

For our part, despite our overarching opposition to the Bill we had tabled a raft of amendments in an attempt to make the Bill a little less awful. The SNP took the same approach. I will not bore you with them all but give you a flavour below.

First, I proposed – and pushed to a vote, an amendment which would have deleted provisions in the Bill for the introduction of the collection and storage of Internet Connection Records (ICRs). Now, I’m not yet 100% clear what an internet connection record is. Nobody is – even the Home Secretary. I surmise that it will probably be your web history. This will then be stored for 12 months just in case you ever come under suspicion. Meanwhile, that information can be hacked and stolen revealing an enormous amount of detail about your life, activity and even your state of mind. I knew that when I pushed the amendment it would not pass. Andy Burnham the shadow Home Secretary had already said that whilst he accepted that ICRs were incredibly intrusive and might not even be helpful in solving crime he supported their collection in principle (God alone knows what the principle was but by this time I had given up on trying to understand the Labour Party’s position).

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael on divided refugee families

 

Alistair Carmichael has written a post on PoliticsHome with the title: Refugee families divided by lines of Home Office rule book. He starts:

Imagine that you have had to flee your home because of a repressive government. Imagine that you’ve then faced a long, life-threatening journey to reach a country where you are able to apply for asylum. Imagine going through an extensive, bureaucratic asylum system and eventually experiencing elation at being granted refugee status.

Then imagine being denied the right to bring your family members to come and join you, or facing the invidious choice of only being able to be joined by some of your very closest relatives, but not others.

This is exactly what the current refugee family reunion system operated by the UK Government is doing. Just when family members need each other the most, they are kept apart, divided by a few lines in the Home Office’s rule book.

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Snoopers’ Charter back in the Commons

The Snoopers’ Charter, as the Investigatory Powers Bill is colloquially known, returns to the House of Commons over the next couple of days.

As you would expect, Alistair Carmichael has been working on many sensible amendments to the Bill which are supported by Liberty. It is also good to see that the SNP been on this as well. I was none too pleased when they didn’t oppose the Bill at Second Reading when there was a chance to kill it for good and even more worried when it wasn’t singled out for mention in the SNP’s Holyrood manifesto, unlike many …

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Lib Dems seek to amend revenge porn law to give anonymity to victims

One of the real successes of the coalition years was an initiative by Liberal Democrats to make revenge porn a criminal offence. It’s just over two years since I first wrote about it and the harm it can do to people. At that point, there was little the police could do:

It’s time for the law to catch up with this most modern form of abuse. It takes seconds for a controlling man to inflict a lifetime of hell on a woman. That can’t be right.

Just 5 months later, the law was changed, thanks in no small part to the bravery of women like Hannah Thompson who were willing to go public.

However, we still have a society where the female victims of such crime are blamed much more than the male perpetrators. And it is almost always that way round. So, the Liberal Democrats have taken the next step and tabled amendments giving victims the right to anonymity and to seek compensation.

From the Guardian:

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael on the Extremism Bill

 

We have just caught up with an article by Alistair Carmichael in The Independent. The headline itself offers a jolt: “The Extremism Bill means that the Queen’s speech might be the only one you hear from now on”. Writing just before the Queen’s Speech last week he claimed:

This Government still seems wedded to the notion that if you ban something it will go away.They banned psychoactive substances, despite zero evidence that it would reduce harm. They tried banning encryption, making all of our data less secure. Now they are trying to ban “extremist speech” via an Extremism Bill which they will introduce in the Queen’s Speech tomorrow.

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Farron: Queen’s Speech is dogmatic assault on civil liberties and empty rhetoric on key challenges

Funnily enough, Liberal Democrats aren’t that impressed with the Queen’s Speech. There certainly is a lot to worry people of a liberal disposition. Three immediately come to mind:

The Queen might as well have said: “My Government will indulge all its prejudices regardless of the evidence.” For “upholding the sovereignty of Parliament and the primacy of the House of Commons” read “My Government will do all it can to avoid being held to account despite only having the support of a third of the electorate.”

The counter-extremism stuff is pretty sinister, as Alistair Carmichael said the other day:

Rumours about what the upcoming extremism bill will include paint a dark picture. The government seems to think that the answer to every problem is to ban it. The last thing we should be doing is driving extremists into the shadows and underground.

The government is not only threatening our safety with this bill but the very fabric of our multicultural society by alienating certain communities.

I’m slightly worried about the adoption measures. If the state is going to remove children and allow them to be adopted by other people, there does need to be proper safeguards. That could and should take time before permanent ties are broken, especially if the parents do not have the support in place to help them overcome their problems.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAlasdair Brooks 28th Jun - 10:22am
    One of the things that heartens me about this well-argued post is the open acknowledgement that 'The media context for Liberal Democrats is hostile. Our...
  • User AvatarAM 28th Jun - 10:17am
    @Solip1 The party is much bigger than one person, 8 MPs or even a former leader. Nick Clegg was elected in his constituency and the...
  • User AvatarRoland 28th Jun - 10:03am
    @David-1 - I note none of the quotes you give actually use the word immediate or give any real indication of a timeline, other than...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 28th Jun - 9:46am
    We are seeing the submerged racism in our society. A racism which appears to be fuelled by the resentment of many people who feel marginalised....
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 28th Jun - 9:42am
    Jayne and Katharine How refreshing to hear real radical Liberal voices after all the recent years of hearing obfuscation and confusing mixed messages from the...
  • User Avatarsolip1 28th Jun - 9:28am
    Dear Spencer, I agree that "Liberal Democrats need to seize the hour" and I am actively considering re-joining you in the Cambridge party. However, the...