Rights of Busybodies
In one of the Convention on Modern Liberty videos, Tony Benn said something that, for me, really captured an essential part of liberty: "People said, 'Who gave him the right to do that to me?'"
I think an essential part of why so many people have such a dislike for these kinds of authoritarian schemes is that it comes down to an essential inequality of rights. For example, what right does the busybody have to decide what's in the best interests of the child that the parents themselves don't have? Who has the right to give those busybodies such rights, and, in doing so, to deny the parents themselves those same rights? If the parents themselves don't have those rights, who else does?
As I understand it, an essential concept - if not the central, fundamental concept - in liberal democracy (or democratic liberalism, or whatever you want to call it,) is the idea that as each individual will naturally, and rightly, object to this kind of authoritarian hypocrisy, the majority of individuals will therefore democratically oppose authoritarianism in favour of true liberty.
When we're talking about this Vetting and Barring Scam/Sham/Scandal, we're talking about bureaucrats (or whatever they want to call them) exercising rights to decide that others are therefore denied. Who gives them the right to decide who is and is not fit to work with children and vulnerable adults? Supposedly, we, the people, do, through parliament - so it goes back to the sham of "democracy" that the government relies on for its claimed democratic legitimacy. (I still remember, in the early years of this New Labour government, Labour ministers claiming to be doing the "will of the people" as a justification for ramming their legislation through parliament.)
What people need to realise, as Apocalypse Later pointed out, is that when people call for other people to be subjected to vetting, it's not just other people who will be subjected to it, but the people calling for it as well. Apocalypse Later said, "There are no other people, just us." Putting it another way, we're all other people. There's no "them and us": we're all "them"; "they" are us.
What people need to realise is that when they call for what amounts to the abolition of the rights of innocent people to be treated as innocent - that's what the presumption of innocence essentially is - it's their own rights to be treated as innocent that they're calling to have abolished. It should be no surprise when, as Apocalypse Later explained, they find that they themselves are being treated with suspicion, prejudged "just to be on the safe side", and so on.
We need to cultivate a culture, in our society, of stopping and thinking of ourselves as being the targets of what we're calling for. When we want people to be presumed guilty, "just to err on the side of caution, for the sake of the children," we need to stop and think about how we ourselves will find it when we're being presumed guilty.
(This is also a tremendous opportunity for the Lib Dems to evangelise, to spread the Lib Dem message of liberal democracy. I hope they don't waste it!)
So, when and where are the public protests to begin?