Henry Porter has written an excellent piece over at the Guardian's Comment is Free following the launch of the Liberal Democrat manifesto.
He looks at what Labour has written in its manifesto about liberty:
"We are proud of our record on civil liberties, and have taken the DNA profiles of children off the database and tightened the rules around the use of surveillance – but we are still determined to keep our streets safe."
Yeah that is it in its totality, yeah he does point out that what follows after the first comma seem to be issued forth without the slightest hint of irony.
He says that the Tories do not have an ambitious portmanteau bill that would repeal Labour's attack on liberty. But does commit itself to rolling back the database state – ID cards, the ContactPoint children's database and the vetting and barring scheme will be scrapped or reduced – curtailing council surveillance powers of local councils, giving more power to the information commissioner, introducing privacy impact assessments on new legislation. However, says it does not go far enough regarding the DNA database plus pointing out the controversy of replacing the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights.
Then he points out that the Liberal Democrats are doing most to reverse the lose of civil liberties under Labour:
"The party will introduce a freedom bill, regulate CCTV, reduce local council surveillance, restore the right to protest, protect free speech, offer guarantees to investigative journalism, scrap ID cards, end plans to spy on email and internet connections, scrap ContactPoint, reduce pre-charge detention to 14 days and scrap secret evidence. The Lib Dems go much further than the Tories on the DNA database and offer wholehearted support for the HRA."
He asks is it fear of lack of conviction that is preventing the Conservatives going as far as the Lib Dems. I would hazard a guess it is the later liberty doesn't sit too well with the Conservatives.
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