We must protect Britain’s liberal democracy from the Conservatives

The Conservative Government is on an illiberal rampage, bringing in multiple laws which threaten our civil liberties

From suppressing voter turnout by requiring voters to show ID at polling stations, to criminalising the right to protest peacefully, to bringing the once independent electoral commission under government control, the UK – to borrow a phrase from SNP MP Mhairi Black – is “sleepwalking into fascism”.

The measures to tackle “serious disruption” in the Public Order Bill provide a blatant example. Not satisfied with tearing apart our democratic right to protest, the Home Secretary wants to impose banning orders on protesters, including electronic monitoring tags, travel restrictions, restricted internet access and curfews.

So this all begs the question; what can we do? What can we do to tackle these measures, and protect our basic democratic rights?

Luckily, we still have time before the Public Order Bill is set to become law, so the opportunity to protest peacefully is available to us. For those unable to attend physical protests, a plethora of options is available – contacting MPs, writing articles, getting involved with political parties and groups that fight to protect our rights.

One such option is supporting this petition from Big Brother Watch, calling for the removal of legislation to electronically tag innocent people for attending protests.

We cannot allow our great nation to fall further into the hands of illiberal authoritarians. 

Whether we come from right, left or centre political traditions, we should all play our part in protecting our precious liberal democracy. What will you do?

* Jack Meredith is a Welsh Liberal Democrat member.

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7 Comments

  • Jack is right – this Bill is truly awful. Take a look for yourself:

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-03/0008/220008v2.pdf

    It allows for people to be sanctioned by Magistrates’ Court ‘on the balance of probabilities’ and be banned from going to places, ordered to stay somewhere, and/or be electronically tagged even though you haven’t been convicted of a crime. It also expands suspicionless stop and search, and worst of all allows the Home Secretary to tell the Police how to apply the powers of the Bill and even who specifically to apply it to.

    Even by the standards of this Government it’s bad, and would look completely at home in a fascist dictatorship.

  • Roger Roberts 24th May '22 - 8:54pm

    Thank you Jack. Democracy is threataned in each of our four nations. The present Westminster lot, as with their plans to settle refugees in Rwanda, avoid parliamentary scruitiny, As often as they can

  • Brad Barrows 25th May '22 - 8:01am

    Yes, and calling for peaceful protesters to be banned from protesting within 150 metres of a facility they are protesting about, as proposed by the Liberal Democrats last March, makes it difficult for the Liberal Democrats to then claim it is a democratic outrage when the Conservatives propose restrictions on the right to peaceful protest.

  • Steve Trevethan 25th May '22 - 8:27am

    Thank you form mentioning the “F” word.
    Creeping Fascism, without the boots, funny trousers and silly walks is already with us.
    Our party would do well to make this clear and obviously and vigorously oppose it.

  • Jack makes some very good points, but another aspect of the attack on civil liberties is the effort to stop public bodies using ethical criteria when deciding where to invest. This would further damage the right to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at reversing Israeli government policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
    Divestment on ethical grounds should be a right for any public body, and both Labour and Liberal Democrats have voted for a targeted ban on all trade, not with Israel, but with the illegal settlements in Palestine – something we are legally obliged to do as a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

  • Cj Williams 25th May '22 - 9:27pm

    Steve. People mention fascism a lot these days. Could you give a brief definition so that I can recognise it. Thankyou.

  • Peter Hirst 30th May '22 - 2:45pm

    Looking further ahead, we need to set some rules that cannot be altered at the whim of the present or future governments. While we are discussing a joint opposition to this government for the next GE, we should include working towards a codified constitution. There will never be a better time.

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