Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Going to be a Reformation

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 return come to us including:

  • 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.


Munguin said...

No PR though and not even the AV+ advocated by the Jenkins Commission that the then Lib Dems supported. And also, he only promises a move towards a wholly or mainly elected House of Lords. What does that mean? Is it going to be elected or not?

Something for you to reflect on while you enjoy your earl gray is that the Tories opposed the 1832 reform act just as they are likely to oppose Nick’s big bang referendum.

Stephen Glenn said...

Re: the Lords. The agreement is that there will be between 80 and 100 per cent elected Lords. The first is the minimum that the Conservatives want to see passed the other is the maximum that the Lib Dems and others want to see passed. You may think the language is woolly but the Tories are prepared to whip through at least 80%. Of course other parties may join the Lib Dems in the lobbies for the higher amounts (which are free votes for the Tories).

A lot of Nick's 'Big Bang' is actually in the coalition agreement, so they cannot really oppose it or else the whole thing breaks down.

As for the agreement on voting reform, I like many other Lib Dems are not happy about the not even quarter hearted attempt to move on (AV). Like I was on Saturday and will continue to do so I will campaign for a proportional system. I still prefer STV.

Munguin said...

Exactly what did the Lib Dems get out of this coalition? A fudge on PR. A fudge on the House of Lords. And a big bang act that is simply common sense and something that the Tories would have done anyway.

You will forgive me for thinking that your party seems to be getting less and less out of this arrangement as time goes by.

Munguin said...

Forgive me I did not mean they would oppose all of the big bang stuff but just the referendum aspect of it on AV.


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