Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The PoFA Is The Reason I Still Believe In The Lib Dems

Way back in May 2010, I made it clear rolling back Labour's draconian laws and attacks on our civil liberties was my red line. The completion of this roll-back would, in my mind, make all the coming pain worth it.

Well that time has now arrived. The Protection of Freedoms Act has rolled back several of the worst attacks on civil liberties.

A landmark move to roll back Labour’s surveillance state has today become law. 
The Protection of Freedoms Act will:
  • stop councils snooping
  • end the storage of DNA of innocent people
  • reduce the bureaucracy of CRB checks
  • end 28-day detention
  • stop schools deciding on their own to take fingerprints of children
  • Make stalking a criminal offence
  • End wheel clamping on private land
  • Delete historical convictions for men who have had consensual gay sex with someone who was over 16

Now let's not pretend it's perfect, 28-day detention just becomes 14-day detention and there are lots of provisos on the end of the DNA database, but this is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for when the Coalition began. After decades of eroding our civil liberties, the Government has made a clear statement that it's changing the relationship between the state and the individual.

The fight isn't over, there are plenty of other civil liberty issues that need addressing. But this is a great leap forward towards a more liberal country.

So on my Lib Dems in Government checklist we have: raising the personal income tax helping those on the lowest incomes, fighting attacks on civil liberties, supporting the most radical House of Lords reform in a century and pushing ahead with marriage equality. Those aren't the only Liberal Democrat "wins" in Coalition but those are the ones that remind me that, despite the attacks from the left, this Government is not unalloyed evil.

The Liberal Democrats are still fighting on the side of the angels.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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