There will be a great smile that comes across my face every time I drink a cup of Earl Grey tea today. The reason being that Nick Clegg is about to outline the biggest wholesale reform of our politics and liberties since the Great Reform Act of the Prime Minister after whom that blend of tea is named.
He will use the phrase:
"for the freedom of the many, not the privilege of the few"
Which I know will grate with some Labour listeners as it is lifted from Tony Blair's Clause IV speech. He also said yesterday while talking to leaders of voluntary groups:
"What I'm discovering is we've been using different words for a long time – it actually means the same thing. Liberalism, big society. Empowerment, responsibility. It means the same thing."
So wake up to the liberalism that is about to
- scrapping the identity card scheme and second generation biometric passports
- removing limits on the rights to peaceful protest
- a bonfire of unnecessary laws
- a block on pointless new criminal offences
- internet and email records not to be held without reason
- closed-circuit television to be properly regulated
- new controls over the DNA database, such as on the storage of innocent people's DNA
- axeing the ContactPoint children's database
- schools will not take children's fingerprints without asking for parental consent
- reviewing the libel laws to protect freedom of speech
Now that is delivering on promises. That is delivering liberalism.