“The very civil Lib Dems”

Here’s the verdict of Henry Potter on the Liberal Democrat agreement with the Conservatives:

“The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government and roll back state intrusion.” This sentence, published in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition agreement, is one that civil libertarians have been waiting a long time for, and to hear David Cameron and Nick Clegg talk about their government handing back privacy and curbing the powers of the state was certainly a moment worth savouring…

Although the Conservative manifesto touched on freedom, there can be no doubt that the list of substantive measures came from the Lib Dems and their freedom bill, which they published for the Convention on Modern Liberty last year.

You can read the full piece here.

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10 Comments

  • Henry Porter, I think.

  • George Kendall 13th May '10 - 2:38pm

    @Tonyhill Good spot. However, does make me wonder what Daniel Radcliffe thinks.

    @Fat Roland I entirely understand the bitter taste in your mouth. But I hope you’ll come to realise the bitterness is a necessary evil, and the suspension of your support is temporary.

  • Yea, we could hardly have voted Lib Dem and expect our MPs to have sat there abdicating responsibility and watching a Tory minority government implement a far worse programme. In my view that was the only other alternative on offer. This is high risk but the other options were much worse.

  • Surely, ID Cards, the DNA database, and 42 day detention plus owning 60% of the worlds CCTV cameras have been far more bitter pills to swallow?!? There was nothing socialist about the recent Labour Home Secretaries who brought these measures in!

  • I know it’s not exactly the accepted thing around here, but I am slightly less concerned about civil liberties than I am childrens education… still if there’s one place I can be sure people are likely to accept my alternative views it’s amongst other Lib Dem supporters 🙂

    I do believe the party made the right choice. But one area I feel they have really failed on in this coalition is education.

    The conservatives Manifesto frightened me deeply for the future of our education system. ‘Free schools’ whilst a nice idea on paper has the potential to create an even wider gap between the best and worst areas of education in this country. I shall be following this very very closely, and lobbying Mr Huppert significantly to raise a voice within the party and parliament over this issue.

    The other very worrying thing that has recently come to light is the renaming of The Department for Children, Schools and Families back to the Department for education. It reinforces my view that the Conservatives have not yet grasped the link between family health and education standards, especially with comments like ‘get back to our core priorities’. Whatever faults the Labour government had in education, it did make some very substantial steps towards bringing direct support for children who were recognised as ‘challenging’ within the classroom by involving the whole family, and having people responsible for mediating the difficulties that children had at home as it related to their school life.

    This was a very very positive step, and was widely welcomed and applauded by the teachers who experienced it, saying that it made a significant difference to the childrens behaviour and ability to learn.

    I really fear we will be taking a step back with this government, that the important link between school, child and family life will go by unrecognised, despite all the significant research that has gone in to this field by psychologits and education experts.

    Please please please get involved in this, please at least get a holistic view of education back on the agenda, it is so so so important for young children, and the benefits it offers far outstrips anything else you can do to help flagging schools and falling standards amongst younger pupils. We cannot fall back on the antiquated victorian ideas of education, that you learn best by being disciplined (Camerons own words during the debates which again scared the hell out of me). We need the Lib Dems to be a voice for progressive education methods here, and we need it desperatey, because the Conservatives really do not understand it, or care for it.

    It’s a cliche, but won’t somebody please think of the children.

  • If the Lib Dems get what they ultimately want… PR, it will mean more often than not coalition governments.

    Anyone who understands this should have realised that the Lib Dems themselves don’t stand for ‘vote lib dem get a lib dem government’

    They stand for vote lib dem principles, to have those principles form part of whatever new government gets set up. This means they themselves want to be a part of a plural governing body, one which has more than just their own views heard, one which is more balanced, more… Democratic.

    Ever heard the expression two heads are better than one? … well that’s the general principle…. even if that other head isn’t someone you agree with, it is someone that a lot of other people do agree with, and therefore, democratically, deserves to be heard.

  • As a lifelong liberal voter I have always been able to hold all of our party leaders in high esteem. They may not have been in any cabinet, but they were certainly men of principles and integrity. Our party grandees such as Shirley Williams, David Steel, and Paddy Ashdown were always held in high regard by people of all persuasions!
    It was with sorrow, tinged with a degree of shame that I learned this week of Mr Nick Clegg’s decision to sell this wonderful party down the river, for his own ends.
    I live in dread of what is to come.
    WE CAN remember the dark days of Thatcher, when minority groups and working people lived in fear, the evil divisions, the vile social injustice, the riots, the strikes, the destruction of our industries.
    I never ever believed that those days could come again ! My personal horror and shame is that Mr Clegg Lib Dem Leader (I voted Liberal all my life) is now supporting Thatcher’s friends. He has placed our party in an alliance with Mr Cameron, whose allegiances abroad are with far right extremist homophobic anti Semitic groups in Europe, whilst at home we now learn that his friend and colleague Philippa Stroud is reported to be appointed as special advisor . This is the very same person that used to drive demons out of lesbians, gay men and transsexuals, all in the name of her church. Not to mention the rantings of Chris Grayling reference the bed & breakfast issues. Take a look at that Tory party’s voting record on minority issues.
    I can only hope and pray that this alliance of self interests is over as soon as possible. That way the British people may in time find it in their hearts to forgive the Liberal Democrats.
    In conclusion, first impressions often tell us a great deal. Remember that article written in 2002 by Mr Clegg, who was at that time MEP for the East Midlands
    “All nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism,” Mr Clegg wrote. “But the British cross is more insidious still. A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off.”

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