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13/08/2010
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Civil liberties

We will be strong in defence of freedom. The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian, and that over the past decade it has abused and eroded fundamental human freedoms and historic civil liberties. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power, in keeping with Britain’s tradition of freedom and fairness.

  • We will implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion.
  • We will introduce a Freedom Bill.
  • We will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register and the ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports.
  • We will outlaw the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
  • We will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
  • We will adopt the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
  • We will protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.
  • We will restore rights to non-violent protest.
  • We will review libel laws to protect freedom of speech.
  • We will introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
  • We will further regulate CCTV.
  • We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason.
  • We will introduce a new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.
  • We will establish a Commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties.

View the Governments response to these comments

Your comments (394)

  1. Cecil Brown says:

    When laws are passed to permit certain actions in the work place (ie abortion, single-sex marriage etc) p0rovion should be made to permit persons to op-out where their faith or belief is offended

  2. Nicola Goddard says:

    Please will you ensure that Christians have the freedom to continue to be able to share their faith freely. Thank you.

  3. Ant says:

    Basically all this is good, apart from giving us a Bill of Rights. All you need to do is to reassure us that all the rights we already have, stemming from Magna Carta and the 1688/9 Bill of Rights are adhered-to. We already have all the freedom we need, based on being told that some things are bad. We don’t need you to tell us what we can do, that’s the EU’s way of doing things!

  4. chloe coster says:

    Please do repeal or heavily change the Human Rights Bill. It is totally open to abuse at the moment.
    It certainly should not apply to convicted criminals, and you need to fight the EU on this one

  5. Denis Allen says:

    You are making promises you canot possibly keep with the UK inside the EU. Please read the Lisbon Treaty or have someone explain it to you.

  6. John McArdle says:

    Fellow British Citizens
    Firstly, I am not very sure that this forum, which few people are aware of, is the most appropriate one to consult with the British people on matters of such profound importance.

    I also think that it is not timely in the sense that it can in no way canvass a broad spectrum of views in the time period given. I was only informed of my last chance to comment on this by facebook today.

    I would have been annoyed to have missed this opportunity to comment. A bit like those who were locked out of the polling stations in the election day fiasco.

    Nevertheless, it is appreciated. Here’s my two bob’s worth:

    We need positive (as in positivism) human and civil rights law.
    The Special Immigration Appeals Commission must be scrapped and thrown in the dustbin as a feature of one of the darkest epochs of our nation’s track record on civil liberties.

    It is a veritable kangaroo court and has brought our system of justice into disrepute with its use of secret evidence, which neither the defendant nor the public are allowed to see. One is not even permitted to know the case against one. How then can it be challenged?

    The SIAC judge in the case of the Manchester “Cell” may have satisfied himself that the men were “terrorists” but in my view his doing so, on evidence that has neither been seen nor challenged, is an affront to British notions of justice and fair play. A true disgrace to our nation.

    Every bone in my British body and nerve in my English stomach cries out when I see other human beings labelled “terrorists” based on such secret “evidence”.

    This is the most un-British thing I can think of. It is an affront to my notion of who I am and what we stand for.

    Suspects must be dealt with in the exact same way as other alleged murderers. The authorities must gather their evidence and place ALL of it before the ordinary criminal courts and juries of our land and the defendant be entitled to challenge such, with every human right as afforded my Article 6 of the ECHR as incorporated by the HRA guaranteed, without any exceptions.

    Intercept evidence must be made admissible in our courts forthwith.

    The same must be said for the Information Tribunals. They must go the way of SIAC: The bin.

    HM Government may have won the recent case of Kennedy v UK on the grounds that the interference with Mr. Kennedy’s Article 6 and Article 8 rights were lawfully interfered with. It may have satisfied the court in Strasbourg that what happened to Mr. Kennedy was ‘lawful.’ But it singularly did not satisfy me as a British Citizen that it was fair, justified or proportionate. How could it? We are not permitted to know it, much less challenge it!

    It was another example of how the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 has been misused by an overarching and oppressive State apparatus.

    We need to prevent these abuses before they happen. The government relied for its defence on the derogation of “national security.” We, as the general public are not permitted to know how the executive and judicial authorities arrived at their decision, their reasoning on the merits or their legal reasoning in Mr. Kennedy’s case.

    He was not given a full reason. He was not even told whether or not the alleged surveillance took place. There was a policy of “neither affirm nor deny.”

    It is an outrage and an affront to morality.

    He was not entitled, according to the Tribunal to be told on what evidence they based their decision. A group of 12 male and female ordinary British jurors were not permitted to adjudicate in judgment of him as their peer. It is an affront to British justice, our democracy, and to our common values and ethos of fairness. Justice was again NOT seen to be done.

    If we must have surveillance as a society – then RIPA is not doing its job of protecting the citizens of this country from unlawful interference in their private lives and affairs. The mechanisms supposedly in place to put forward one’s case in “challengeable circumstances” may indeed exist, but they are not fit for purpose.

    There is precious little a citizen may do to challenge such circumstances in practice.

    Surveillance powers must be completely removed from local councils altogether.

    The power to grant and oversee the use of warrants for surveillance of an individual must be placed in the safe hands of a panel of independent Magistrates and locally elected officials.

    This is crucial to safeguarding abuses of our civil liberties.

    They should be used to combat serious crime and suspected terrorism as they were originally intended.

    Executive officers outside of law enforcement should have absolutely no power to grant such warrants, and neither should the Secretary of State. They should confine themselves to making application for them, if they deem it necessary to do so, from the independent judicial and democratic panel I am putting forward.

    The way things have gone in the past 13 years under New Labour is strongly reminiscent of the excellent German film entitled “The Lives of Others”.

    What price security? What price freedom?

    This was a country that has been tested in adversity and whose future hung in the balance as to whether Hitler would have prevailed against us. Yet, the government of the day not postulate such an emergency that Government has postulated with regard to the “Terrorist Threat” of our own day to do away with Habeas Corpus and the introduction of control orders.

    Churchill could not have envisaged secret evidence and the absence of trial by jury to lock up innocent (not convicted) individuals indefinately or place them under house arrest and deprive the alleged malfeasor of his fundamental human right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    When will Government ever understand this?

    More damagingly, a whole gamut of State power and law has been foisted onto the backs of the British people as a result.

    Because of this climate of utterly irrational and disproportionate fear, photographers and tourists have been harassed and arrested for going about their lawful business, people suspected of benefit fraud have had their sex lives spied upon, harmless young people are arrested for holding a party in a field in the summer, people have been beaten and killed by police, and unlawfully imprisoned in “kettles” whilst attending lawful demonstrations, as is their fundamental God – given right.

    The issue as far as I’m concerned with the Smoking ban is that it forbids individuals who wish to associate freely with one another and to share a cigarette, a lawful product, together without interference from the State. It was the thin end of the wedge.

    I wholeheartedly agree with completely smoke free zones in public places and houses. I am a smoker myself and I enjoy the clean atmosphere. However, New Labour did not reach the compromise that was supported by 80%, yes, 80% of the British people who were polled by a variety of organisations prior to the ban.

    This compromise was simply to allow for a part of a premises to be set aside, where possible, within a premises so that those who chose to do so could enjoy a cigarette with their drink without affecting others. This would have been a sensible and very British compromise.

    It pained me, as the son of a publican, to see so many older members of my father’s rural community stop coming for their usual drink and chat during the winter for lack of this provision. It really is very uncivilised, discourteous and disproportionate to what was required for the purposes of balancing public health with civil liberty.

    A truly brave Government would send the British people an almighty smoke signal to the British People if it amended that draconian measure to accommodate such an eminently reasonable solution. It would show just how serious you were about restoring civil liberties to the man in the great British Public.

    You would be lauded and hailed by all except the fascists who want to impose THEIR will, on THEIR terms, onto everybody else. It would be almost like the restoration of the Monarchy after Cromwell: allowing colourful clothes again and a roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon with one’s family, I kid you not.

    I call on this Government to live up to a Higher Standard and to answer to a Higher Authority.

    Call it God, call it conscience, call it a sense of fair play, call it being a gentleman.

    Call it what you like but the politics of fear and oppressive State power must end now for all our sakes or the terrorists have won.

    It is time to stop pandering to the wishes of the mob and the lowest common denominator and for our leaders to lead from the front on Human Rights and Civil Liberty and defend these principles in season and out of season. On “Question Time”, to the press and to all who have ears to hear.

    Appeal to the British people’s innate sense of fair play and they will hear you, understand and respond in kind.

    We will then live in a free and “Open Society”, as Professor Karl Popper put it, and all feel much happier and positive about our present and future as a community and a nation.

    We used to be the envy of the world in these things. Let us be so again.

    I look forward to reading your response. Please do not disappoint us again, and Godspeed!!!

  7. Ray says:

    Will your restoration of non-violent protests included rounding up protestors on parliment squareas the Mayor of London is doing?

    I would suggest that all non-violent protests are permitted, but only for a maximum of one week. The protestors would then be able to return 1 month after the end of the protest. This will not only enable the general public to use places like parliment square but will stop single groups monopolising it and allow all sorts of people to protest there on a rotational basis.

  8. Malcolm Goldwater says:

    All civil liberties come with responsibilities and this must be taken into account. Most of the items listed above sound ok. There is certainlya case for looking at where criminals who have been convicted and terrorists have been convicted are not allowed to abuse Human Rights legislation

  9. David says:

    Even this very site is an example of how free speech no longer exists in this country and big government has taken this away from us.

    I made a perfectly reasonable, constructive and articulate post in the banking section but the moderators (read ‘censors’) have decided that it should not be published.

    There’s going to be hell to pay ladies and gentlemen. Hell to pay.

  10. Edward Mashate says:

    British is the only Nation that is trading its civil liberties, the Nation has allowed such unhindered influx of non Christian Faith that are thriving on Freedom and causing such uncomprehended threat to the Christian Faith I think it is important that the Politicians who chould traded the heritage of the United Kingdom come to terms and sens and retract in trading the nation for funding their Politica Parties.

    Some of draconian that has compromised the universal Pride of United Kingdom has come from some individuals who amass enorumous amount of money.

    And it is hight this stopped and review towards strengthening Christian Values be rejuvanated.

  11. Emily says:

    Please continue to ensure a separation between Church and State.

    This a secular nation, not a Christian one. I hope all laws made continue to reflect this.

    A person’s faith or belief should not enable them to behave in a discriminatory manner to a person who does not have that belief.

  12. Mike A says:

    Quit the European Convention on Human Rights.

    This nation had built up a common law approach to individuals rights over time. We should value our history and rejoice in the fact that law has been allowed to evolve and be interpreted rather than submit to the Napoleonic top down approach from the EU on this issue.

    With rights come responsibilities, it should be this thought at the heart of all discussions on individuals rights. Further, all should be equal in the eyes of the law, and the pathetic attempts at social engineering of the past government should be removed from the statue book. This favouring of one group over another has turned what was a source of pride, the fairness in the rights of the individual, into a source of contempt.

    Re ID cards, this was one of the few good ideas of the last government. Yes there needs to be VERY rigorous checks to ensure that the government does not abuse such cards, but if you have nothing to hide then there should be no fear in carrying a card. Similarly, all visitors should be able to produce equivalent documentation.

  13. Sagar Shah says:

    I support many if not all of these measures, however one additional thing that I think you need to look at is the Data Protection Act. This gives individuals quite a lot of protection to their privacy and the privacy of their data, however it needs to be strengthened and made more clear as too often firms do not take it seriously enough and do not follow the spirit of the principles of the act. They often collect more data than they need to to perform a service, they often don’t delete the data when they should, they don’t clearly make their Data Protection officer’s name available or a way to contact them.

    I think giving people more power over their private data is becoming increasingly important in the digital age, and if you do this it will be a major win for your government.

    With respect to the ID cards system, a significant amount of public money has been wasted by the former Labour government on something that the majority of the public did not want. I think it would be good if you could put something in place that would prevent any future government to wasting money in this way by requiring some degree of all party consensus for projects that span the lifetime of more than one or two parliaments.

  14. Kirk Schwarz says:

    I, like most, would like to see a clear divide in treatment between those who relinquish their rights and those who do not, such as criminals, regardless of age, race nationality or religion. I would also like to see certain governing bodies, who have been caught abusing certain stop and search powers lately, become personally answerable for their actions.
    The ‘digital economy act’ should be scrapped in full and our information withheld from copyright owners. I think bodies such as the child support agency should review more carefully, case by case, the individual’s ability to pay. I have experience of people who are being forced to provide more, financially, than they can afford and as such are suffering a squalid existence of great poverty and depression.
    I agree entirely with your decision to scrap the I.D scheme and support any effort to lessen (halt) the use of advanced biometrics in passports. I would like to see decisive action to ensure that neither D.N.A nor fingerprints are kept on file in the case of wrongful arrest and I would oppose the creation of any (expensive) quango for the sake of propaganda and media fodder.
    All said, I encourage the loosening of Labour’s strangle hold and fully back the idea that things need to change.

  15. Bobby Stodel says:

    I support your proposals completely

  16. I suspect there are as many views on what human rights consist of as there are human beings on this planet. Folk tend to look at what THEY want and need when deciding what human rights are. Understandable!

    In my view the only rights any individual has are those that society is not only WILLING to let them have, but is also ABLE to let them have.

    In a small society, tribe perhaps, too many healers would leave people sitting around contributing nothing when everyone was well. This would put an unfair burden on, say, the hunters who had to provide meat for more people than necessary. On the other hand, too few healers could be catastrophic if a major disaster happened. Presumably they worked out a viable balance and I’m sure most members of small societies or tribes had more than one skill. I’m also sure they had many a young man who wanted to be a healer but had to be a hunter. The tribe may be WILLING to let him be a healer, but they may not be ABLE to do so because it would unbalance the tribe and possibly lead to eventual starvation and extinction of the whole society.

    Bigger societies have a lot more leeway but how do we find the balance between what our society is not only WILLING to do but is also ABLE to do? Not exactly a straightforward issue. I’m sure we would all like to think we could make the very best of everything available to everyone at all times but even I know this is an impossible dream. Basically what society needs are the facilities to keep most people fit for work most of the time and to have reasonable preparations in place for emergencies. Anything that can be managed over and above that is to be welcomed as a bonus.

    If we manage to develop a reasonable system of taxation there should be enough money in the hands of the general population to enable them to get what THEY consider to be their human rights. BASIC Human Rights can then be considered in terms of the right not to be harmed in any way instead of the right to have things.

  17. Peter says:

    This chance to curtail excessively wide powers of the executive must not be lost. There are sadly notable omissions from the government’s programme.

    Sections of the Digital Economy Act concerning powers of the Secretary of State in particular, are thoroughly illiberal, and should be repealed. Specifically powers to block copyright infringing websites (s.17) and of cutting off people’s internet access (s.10). Propensity of the current Secretary of State to use them is irrelevant. There is scope for injustice with this act alone, and doubly so when combined with our current antiquated copyright laws.

    Let’s hope this doesn’t descend into pick ‘n’ mix liberalism, with certain powers desperately clung to, to the detriment of citizens.

  18. RichardP says:

    The way society’s rules are enacted at present seems to be too skewed towards what is legal and away from what is just and fair. I would ask you to consider a framework (e.g. jury or representative panel) that supports what is moral, irrespective of creed, and away from a legal system to suit the richest and/or most aggressive.
    To pick an example from the list above, it may be legal to arrest someone without charge and say they are suspected of an undisclosed terrorist offence, but if no such offence exists it cannot be just.

  19. Members of the LGBT community can not be equal to others unless they have the same rights as others, absolutely. Until such a thing is achieved, then these sexual minorities will continue to be discriminated by a country that is meant to support freedom.

    I am in favour of the National ID Card Scheme, provided it remains voluntary to participate in, as having one cheap and easy to obtain identification and European passport is significantly simpler to use than the myriad of various ID schemes currently available.

    In response to other comments made concerning freedom of expression in terms of religion, I moderately disagree. I often find that people of outwardly religious perspectives tend to be the ones who most vocally participate in the restriction of civil liberties – be they LGBT rights, the rights of divorced families and single parents, people of opposing religions, or otherwise. I welcome a multi-cultural society, which is not possible unless we treat all religions and faiths equally – either allow all of them to preach and act as they wish (within the limits of the law, while tolerating other religions), or silence them all equally.

  20. Nonie Westbourne says:

    Of all the measures you are proposing, these are the most important as they underpin everything else you are doing. The liberty of citizens is the glue that links Lib Dems and Conservatives, and separates them from the state control ideology of the Labour Party. Do this, do it properly, and the coalition will remain strong and will succeed.

  21. Douglas says:

    I like all the proposals established. I am very apprehensive of the comments made by a great many people of the Christian faith. I have a great respect for the faith – but freedom to practice all faiths should be established. It appears that a lot of the focus is on Christianity alone.

    Religion also is based on interpretation from each one of us so is highly intangible in nature. Law has to be practical and real, that means equality for LGBT and on race and on gender no matter what a holy text is interpreted to have said.

  22. Bryn Roberts says:

    Accept that the operation of the Human Rights Act must be restricted in certain circumstances, and is essentially designed to prevent unlawful acts such as torture etc., not to prevent the lawful deportation of accepted terrorists because they fear for their lives in other countries.

    There must be an acceptance on the part of the Government that, if you are a terrorist, most places in the world are unlikely to look favourably on you, and that is your fault, not the state’s. I have no interest in the preservation of a terrorist’s well-being in preference to my own and that of my family. This must be a priority for the security of the country and its residents.

    Overall, the Human Rights Act should be repealed, and replaced (if necessary) with a much more specific piece of legislation, which achieves only what was actually intended by the European legislation.

  23. Dean Allerton says:

    I am a student and feel that I am living in an environment where I am increasingly worried about what I can say or do, due to the possibility that it may ‘offend’ others. Actions that offend others are clearly not acceptable, however I believe that the current climate has become ridiculous, and is a manifestation of the previous government’s policy of bowing to everyone other than the average British citizen. Please please please get rid of this NANNY STATE. The people of Great Britain are more responsible than the government seem to have given them credit for.

  24. Frank Edwards says:

    You must end the power of district councils to issue fines without any trial, due process, or defense. It is fundamentally unjust and un-British.

  25. Eifion Edwards says:

    The same team (Sir David Clementi/Samuel) who botch the design of the FSA (Financial Servces authroity) taht eld to the credit cruncha lso botched the design of te leagl servces act 2007 so that civil liberites are substantially affected by “unaccountable corporate lawyers of the pubic sector and business.

    There is no proper measure to protect the public from errant blatently dishonest corporate lawyers who lie to courts and tribunals on behalf of public sector officials or business or employers.

    furthermore the SRA (solioitors regulation authority) use the errant corporate lawyers to police the smaller highstreet lawyers the public use to challange the corporate lawyers The corporate lawyers eg Morgan Cole as SRA agents can close down the high street lawyers that the public uses. A clear breach of human rights and power of state over individual.

    As just a part of this bullying at work would end if the corporate lawyer used basic integrity – as errant bullying/dirty tricks boss would have no auithority in the courts, if his corporate lawyer acted as a common sense filter on honesty and fairness. The system rarely holds to account a corpoarte lawyer who fails to act with integrity in cases.

    It is almost impossible to complain to the Solicitors regulation authroity about a corporate lawyer. IN short the laws society only takes action against smaller high street firms, when corporate lawyers are a main problem

  26. Peter Mennie says:

    I agree with most of your proposals, but I also think it is high time that the UK had a full written constitution so the procedure for any future changes to our political system is transparent. Likewise a constitution would enable people to have clarity on their role in society and the protections they can expect under the constitution ultimately from the supreme court.

  27. Peter says:

    I would just like to record my thanks to the new government for its commitment to rolling back the surveillance state that Labour has built up over many years – your commitments above are a great start but when they are done there will still be much more to do. Good luck to you.

  28. Herschel says:

    The Digital Economy Bill was rammed through the parliament in the last days of the previous Government. The Liberal Democrats promised to oppose the bill, which potentially undermines many freedoms and liberties, including Free Speech on the Internet. Please, please repeal the bill and discuss it properly and thoroughly in parliament, before making an informed decision on which sections are appropriate and fair, and which aren’t! The creative industries may be big, powerfull and rich, but no matter how deep their pockets, they shouldn’t be allowed to dictate the laws of this country. A democracy is run by the people, not the rich corporations!

  29. Matthew Parker says:

    Please review the employment law that seems to have forced Christians to leave their faith at the door or risk discipline. I refer to cases such as registrars sacked because they wish to be exempt from presiding over same sex civil partnerships or the Relate counselor sacked for refusing to counsel a homosexual couple with regard to their sex lives. Christians believe in individual liberty including the ability to exercise their Christian conscience without threat to their livelihood.

  30. Ann Watson-Chapman says:

    I seem to be swimming against the tide hear but I do not agree with disposing of the Human Rights Act , maybe negotiating changes as society changes and as with experience of using it exposes flaws. I think it generally protects the individual and community from abuse.

  31. Richard Spurr says:

    The wishes of the many do not outweigh the rights of the few.

    It is the responsibility of Government to protect the rights of the few, those who are not big enough in number or influence to persuade the majority to support their case.

    Grand words, but they also apply at a more trivial level… after all, it’s often the little things in life that make all the difference to people’s quality of life and feeling of wellbeing. Here’s an example…

    There has always been a minority of people who enjoy driving or riding through our countryside – what is often (incorrectly) called “off-road”.

    However, over the past few years, under the current Nanny State we seem to live in, there has been a reclassification of many traditional rights of way to stop them being used for motorised traffic.

    The sad thing is that the reason often given by local councils for banning motor vehicles from a public route they have been using for years is “youngsters tearing up the lane on motorbikes”. The fact that the law has always stated that the use of a right of way is like a normal road – you need an insured roadworthy taxed vehicle and need to be qualified to drive (over 17 for most vehicles) – seems to be lost on the councils. That is, the stated “problem” can be tackled by applying the existing law, there’s no need to change the classification. Think about it, if the “problem” is being caused by people who are already breaking many laws, how much notice are they going to take of the right of way being reclassified?

    Maybe the council are going for the easy option (ban everything instead of tackling the real problem), or maybe the stated “problem” is an excuse to take away a traditional right they don’t approve of. Whatever the real reason, the only people who really suffer are the minority of law-abiding citizens who had for years been enjoying a pastime that is now becoming increasingly outlawed.

    Many reading this with think “who cares”. But, remember, most of us have minority interests – tomorrow it may be your hobby that’s no longer deemed by the do-gooders as politically correct!

    The really annoying aspect of all of this is the lies. Especially the way a “problem” (youths on motorbikes in this example) is miss-sold by pressure groups, the authorities and other vested interests as the reason for “having” to do something.

    For me this example seems to be typical of the Nanny State we have sleep-walked into. The attitude of our previous Government seems to of been to try and fix every social problem with yet another law or ruling on this that or the other.

    We all have a duty to try and be a little more tolerant of each others rights & needs. I don’t like fox hunting, but I don’t think it should have been banned. I’ve never smoked, but I don’t approve of the way the smoking ban has been implemented. Why, because these things, however unpopular with many, are up to each individual to decide on. Ask yourself: Is that thing someone else is doing really that much of a problem? The best person to decide what’s right for a given person is that person themselves, not some “expert” or central quango.

    So, I would like to see this new Government redress the balance and make sure our rights, however unimportant they seem to many, are taken into consideration when legislating or enforcing the law.

    At the very least, I would like to see changes made so that individuals are able to force Government, councils, etc. to provide independent evidence & opinion to support the specific reason they give for new legislation or rulings.

  32. Oliver says:

    A simple one really. Please restore trial by jury. Thanks

  33. Dennis Hill says:

    You must find a way to balance freedom of religion with other freedoms. Mr Clegg’s comment that faith schools should be forced to teach that homosexuality is good, etc is as illiberal a statement as I can imagine. Under Labour Britain was on the way to becoming a persecuting nation. If freedom of religion is only permitted when the state approves of the beliefs then that freedom of religion is worthless. And if freedom of religion goes other freedoms will follow.

  34. Shara says:

    Remove laws designed to protect the individual from themselves. If I wish to do something that has no impact on anyone else then I should be able to that, e.g. the use of drugs. Arguments that money from drugs sales promotes crime are ludicrous, as if more were legal then this would benefit the state through taxes as well as promoting new business rather than some daily mail ‘crime lord’. The wider effects on society, in terms of anti-social behavior from a drug like cannabis are nothing compared to the influence that alcohol has on our streets. If nothing else I would like to see you justify the legality of alcohol while you ban so many other drugs which have less negative aspects for the individual, society and ultimately the state.

  35. Jason says:

    Is the new, compulsory (if you are selected for it, on pain of not flying) virtual strip search in airports really consistent with the civil liberties we want to uphold?

    Bear in mind:
    * there are two distinct technologies in use (backscatter X-ray and T-wave), so make sure you’ve seen examples of both before you conclude the pictures “aren’t unreasonably revealing/indecent”.
    * that UK policy is more draconian than the US equivalent, which allows you to opt for a conventional pat-down instead.

  36. With regard to the Freedom of Information act, I would like to see bodies that fail to honor their obligations under the act to face actual penalties. These should be enacted personally against the persons responsible, perhaps by removing any bonuses or docking performance related pay, rather than fining the department which would just incur further costs to the taxpayer.

  37. Sarah says:

    I think if the government are serious about given us our freedoms back then their actions should marry up with their rhetoric! Removing all the protesters from outside parliment is unjustified, the excuses that were used are unbeievable!

    actions speak louder than words david cameron…give us our freedoms in more than just words

  38. Naz M says:

    It saddens me that the most draconian anti libertarian laws, restrictions, and CCTV targetted at a minority community – is happening every day, without anyone raising an eyebrow, As soon as a photographer or “one of us” gets trapped by these so called anti -terrorism laws there is uproar. Double standards. All these uneccessary spying laws should be repealed. Why is it that in an area of Birmingham there over 150 CCTV covert cameras have been installed, exactly who are these monitoring? What is the government going to do about this ?

  39. Steve Miller says:

    This is easy…keep the hell out of my life unless what I do impacts on someone else. The Libertarians have it spot on

  40. Clive says:

    I do not believe in human rights. Human rights can be demanded by those who would help only themselves. I believe in human wrongs. Exploiting and abusing others is wrong and should be opposed by law. We should oppose human wrongs and embrace human responsibilities.

    Civil liberties take a negative view on developments. There are huge benefits available in being able to identify oneself (especially in cases of identity theft or dementia) and in being able to study the anonymized genome of a population for epidemiological research to prevent or treat disease. There are two ways of approaching the potential risks. One is to try to ban developments or scream about the dangers. The other is to take ownership of the resource as a population for our own benefit and devise and enforce procedures to prevent abuse. Otherwise we are cutting off our noses to spite our faces!

  41. Daniel Carter says:

    Drugs are dangerous, and therefore they ought to be controled, as the Misuse of Drugs Act sensibly specifies. Sadly the government is failing on its duty by simply prohibiting and denying property rights of such drugs, without even trying to exert any kind of control on them.

    Regarding drugs, prohibition doesn’t mean control, but rather the opposite.

    This is the essence of the problem, the miss-administration of the Misuse of Drugs Act by wrongly equating prohibition with control, as one of the consequences of prohibition is the lost of control in favour of criminal drugs syndicates.

    Regarding drugs administration, to prohibit means to lose control.

    The government will never be able to prove that they can control a drug by prohibiting it, rather than by regulating its trading and use, as it is impossible to control what you don’t regulate. The government should control the quality of drugs (lack of adulterants or “purity”), and they should also control that they are being sold on the proper premises to adults, among other things. A good example is how government is tackling another dangerous drug called tobacco

    The government is utterly and illegaly failing on its duty, as only within a legal framework any kind of drugs control is possible.

  42. John Teal says:

    A lot of comments here seem to be preaching/requesting/demanding freedom of religion to spout their bigotry without recourse! What these people and your Government should remember is that Sex, Race, Nationality and Sexual orientation are something which you are born with. Religion IS a life style choice, which should be allowed be practiced as long as the practioner keeps within the law

  43. Stu Haynes says:

    The digital economy bill which was passed allows the unfair disconnection of people, where alleged copyright infringements exist. In my view this is not fair, particularly in view of the fact that the industry has a very high rate of false accusations and bullying tactics. Previous format shifts in the media industry have not resulted in their demise, neither should the digital format shift. As businesses, they need to find a new model rather than the continued use of a flawed one, rather than the implementation of legislation that impedes and stifles creativity, and criminalises a generation.

  44. John says:

    IN all remember with Human Rights come Human Responsiblities, don’t confuse civil liberties with making crime and terrorism easier to commit and get away with.

    A criminal should lose legal human rights except the right for fair humane treatment, not the right to decide where and how long they serve in prison or avoid incurring punitive measures through bad behaviour in prison.

    We need to have controls over suspect terrorists, set up special tribunals for appeals outside of the legal system slashing legal fees, include illegal immigrants in a similar process

    If people commit or attempt terrorist acts on reasonable proof they should be deported irrespective of where they are being deported to, did they remember victims and potential victims human rights