A serious policy package from the Liberal Democrats has been announced that tries to counteract the erosion of our basic civil rights and freedoms. They have announced a proposal for a ‘Freedom Bill’, designed to reverse years of damage that New Labour has inflicted on our social freedoms.
Their draft plan contains around 20 measures with the aim to:
- Cut the maximum pre-charge detention period from 28 to 14 days.
- Abolish the veto in the Freedom of Information Act that allows ministers to keep information secret.
- Scrap the ID card scheme.
- Remove all innocent people from the DNA database, except for those tried for a violent or sexual offence.
- Stop councils and others snooping by restricting the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to serious and terrorist offences.
- Regulate CCTV to protect privacy following a Royal Commission on the use of cameras.
There is a realistic possibility that the Liberal Democrats could gain power at the next election as part of a coalition government, or with Labour's declining fortunes, they might even fine themselves in true opposition. Perhaps then, this proposal is the first step in turning the tide of authoritarianism.