Values and rights

diversity in unity - multicultural childrenIt may be little more than an uncharacteristic outbreak of optimism on my part, but it seems to me that discussion in the corner of the internet that I inhabit is taking a turn towards the philosophical. And that’s no bad thing.

Two developments make me say this.

The first is the advent of the May-Grayling pre-emptive strike on human rights law over the weekend. The precise details of what it is the gruesome twosome wish the UK to withdraw from keep shifting. But the more lurid version entails the withdrawal of the UK from the ECHR and ECtHR, the abolition of the Human Rights Act, and stepping away from the ECJ and the EU. The UK would then presumably return to an era in which we should all be thankful for any day that goes by when we’re spared inhuman or degrading treatment meted out by our betters with impugnity.

Whether or not this type of threat/promise means very much is debatable. Delivering us to this Daily Mail-inspired Elysium would be contingent on the next election delivering a Conservative majority. And that doesn’t look all that likely. [Read more…]

Trading Liberty For “Security”

[Originally posted at Dale&Co, 06/04/12]

What is going on? I mean, seriously? Is it just me or do the wheels seem to be coming off this Government quite badly?

If we look over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a botched budget, including the failure to make the case for a “granny tax” in the context of cuts to the 50p rate and the bizarre brouhaha over the “pasty tax”. The #CamDineWithMe scandal over cash for access has been exposed. And we’ve witnessed a Government-induced panic over possible fuel shortages in the face of the strike that never was – or at least isn’t yet. The master strategist has been shown to be less than masterful. Some of these issues might be argued to be froth. But others are rather more serious.

The latest instalment in the increasingly fraught soap opera of the Coalition focuses upon civil liberties. [Read more…]

Here we go snooping again …

It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in

Liberal Democrats can be a fractious bunch. There are plenty of disagreements between the various wings of the party, particularly in relation to the wisdom of markets and the role of the state. But one area in which we tend towards unanimity is the importance of protecting civil liberties. When striking the balance between liberty and security, the balance should always be in favour of liberty and against the persistent encroachments of an over-mighty state.

Couple the Liberal Democrats in Coalition with a bunch of small-state freedom-loving Tories and you might expect that on principle the Government would take a strong stand against unnecessary state prying into the lives of its citizens.

Apparently not. [Read more…]