back to article Don't trust Tories on surveillance, say LibDems

The Conservatives do not go far enough in opposing government surveillance and databases, Liberal Democrat shadow ministers have argued at their annual conference. The party's home affairs spokesperson Chris Huhne said the Tories were inconsistent. "If the Conservatives are really against the surveillance state, why don't they …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So they've written off Labour ?

    If they're primary target is the Conservatives, it's pretty telling that even the LibDems think Labour has no hope in an election.

    If they have no hope of winning, then how worse could it be if they booted Brown out of power at their next conference? I bet there won't even be a vote, he will have prevented nomination papers being distributed again like last year to prevent a challenge to his leadership.

  2. dunncha
    Thumb Up

    Have the Lib Dem's finally grown a backbone

    Because if they have they will have my vote.

    After all who else is there to Vote for. Tories, NuBigBrotherLabour or the BNP.

    Come one LIb Dems grow a back bone and give us a real alternative.

  3. Ian 11

    They're right...

    They're right, but then, with Cameron's "For the family!" attitude, I was under no illusion that he really cared about liberty anyway. It was always clear to me that Cameron would still fall hook line and sinker for the "think of the children!" arguments each time someone wanted to create a new system that checks your every move to make sure you're not a child raping terrorist or whatever.

    Cameron will be better than Labour of course, but it's been clear to anyone who can make up their own mind and see through blatant political spin for a long while that the Tories aint going to roll back much of what Labour has done, I expect no improvement in CCTV and the Tories in their database rollback only mention 2 out of about 9 major Labour central citizen spying databases that must be rolled back.

    This is before the election too though, we all know that governments get worse, and more paranoid and controlling of their voterbase as time goes on, so I fully expect by the end of Cameron's reign that the Tories will actually be no better than Labour for mass destruction of personal freedom in the UK.

    Still, at least when Cameron's fresh it'll give us a couple of years break from the freedom raping measure Labour has been hitting us with on a weekly basis.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see Lib dems in power...

    They don't have the rabid hardcore voters. But I do see them with a real chance at opposition.

    Its people like my Father in Law that will cause a problem. He actualy told my wife the other day (with no hint of irony) that "Brown was the one who got us in to this mess, so he knows how to get us out of it". These people frighten me.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    straws, clutching of

    "Real Liberals also campaign for the rights of unpopular people"

    That would be Nick Clegg, then?

    If they don't want a surveillance database state, how are they going to keep track of who has £1m houses to tax, then?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Don't trust tories on anything!

    LibDems stating the blindingly obvious again. Surely by now most sane people know that you can't trust the Tories (or ZaNuLab of course) on ANYTHING! If David Cameron told me that the sun would rise tomorrow morning I probably wouldn't believe him and would assume that the Earth would stop rotating during the night!. And if he said that 2+2 = 4 he'd obviously be telling porkies as his merchant banker chums could happily show you.

    Paris cos she appreciates man who speaks with forked tongue.

  7. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    At least El Reg is paying attention...

    ... wheras the rest of the media gets distracted (by accident or intent) with stories about eg whether or not there's enough consultation between the Lib Dem leadership and Conference Members about new policies (as if there was *any* such consultation by Labour and the Tories!)

    The BBC, especially, seem to be intent on running negative coverage of the Lib Dems, taking every opportunity to ignore what the Lib Dems want to do in favour of stories of Nick Clegg's "lack of authority" and how "senior MPs" have criticised him for proposing cuts in public spending (even though even Labour now admit that such cuts are going to be needed)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kick Labour into third place

    The only thing which will get any change in this country is if we break out of the cycle of Labour and the Tories taking turns who is PM and who is Leader of the Opposition. Seriously, Labour are currently prepping themselves for 8-12 years as main opposition before coming back and carrying on their same agenda.

    Cameron's got this election, there's nothing we can do about that but if Labour fall off the rails then the Tories might not feel so comfortable afterwards.

  9. Paul 4

    @straws, clutching of

    Umm... I don't think thats quight the same, unless they plan on scraping CTax at the same time.

  10. Spleen

    Lib Dems? For individual liberty?

    This would be the party that's pledged to bring back the tax on how many windows you have in your house?

    Daniel Finkelstein's article in the Times today is rather illuminating; it tells the story of how Lib Dems used to go around in unmarked vans dumping mattresses in people's back alleys, then turning up two weeks later and asking if there was "anything your local Liberal Party could do to help you". Whereupon, after being told there was a foul-smelling mattress that had been left in the back alley, they would obligingly take it away and, votes secured, dump the mattress a few streets down and repeat.

    Finkelstein finds this rather admirable (he is the epitome of the political wonk) but normal people would see it as summing the Libs up rather well. There isn't a political opportunity so cynical that a Lib Dem won't seize it. They know they can promise anything they like because they'll never have to actually do anything.

  11. EdwardP

    Sod it.

    I'll vote for them.

    Pity they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Still a two horse race

    The LibDems can be more open and honest about what needs to be done, because they know that they don't stand a snowballs chance of getting elected. The other two decide their manifesto on what the Sun reading masses think is best, rather than on unpopular, yet needed policy.

    The Lib Dems will never get elected with the current "first past the post" system, which will never change as long as we have a "first past the post" system... After all, would you expect either NuLabour or the Tories to listen to common sense and change the very system that got them elected?

    I'm sure my Father will be turning in his grave (TUC Delegate and Life Time member of the TGWU), but I dislike NuLabour so much, I'd rather vote for the Tories than for that bunch of *insert expletive of choice here*.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Cigarette Paper?

    I am in love with David Howarth, and I want to have his babies.

    If he's genuine about what he's quoted as saying, then I'm even keener for Lib Dem success at the general election. I know they have very little chance of forming the next government, but I am hoping to see them do a good job in opposition, holding the government to account and helping (or at least trying) to keep it in its place.

    Unfortunately, the Lib Dems do seem to fall short at times when it comes to our rights and freedoms. The nonsense about airbrushed images of women at the start of their conference is a fresh example. If the government came up with something like that, we'd lambast it as extreme wacquiness.

    But it is good to see a key Lib Dem MP quoted as saying, "Real Liberals also campaign for the rights of unpopular people such as the subjects of control orders and those arrested for terrorism offences." I hope I'm right in thinking that this means the Lib Dems want to do more than they're openly offering (perhaps worried that they might lose more votes than they gain if they're more open about the "rights of unpopular people"). In contrast, I fear, like others, that the Conservatives are offering more than they actually want to deliver.

    The Freedom Bill ( seems to go a lot further than the Conservatives recently published list of policies ( If the Conservatives are offering more than they really want to deliver, and the Lib Dems want to deliver more than they're offering, then the gap between them would be even greater.

    Just how thick is David Cameron's cigarette paper? Perhaps we all misunderstood, and what he really meant was that they have so little in common, you can just about squeeze it all onto a cigarette paper.

  14. Philip the Duck

    If everyone who said "I'd vote LibDem if they had a chance of winning"...

    ... actually did vot LibDem, they *would* win!

  15. Asgard
    Big Brother

    Control control control...

    Now they want us to believe they don't want control. Yeah right. People in power seek power over others almost by definition. Government surveillance and databases are all about gaining control over people, so as fast as they say they don't want control other departments are exploiting new technology to gain ever more power and technology is getting ever better.

    So as usual these two faced power seekers are talking rubbish. The push towards government surveillance is unstoppable because ultimately its driven by their core desire to gain power over others and if they fail to seek power others, then more power driven people than them will gain power over them and push them out. In such a competitive environment like politics the most power seeking fight to the top to gain power over others. Plus now they are gaining ever better technology they keep showing us we are all going controlled by them ever more because ultimately that is what they want.

    So as fast as they tell us they don't want ever more surveillance and databases we get truly shocking moves like this latest nightmare move towards precrime!. Imagine how bad it'll get once they gain this Precrime technology to suppress, distract and punish any political groups that wants to oppose the power seekers and they will use it. They want power and don't want others to stop or take power from them.

    So the nightmare gets ever worse. Sadly the way its going, it looks ever more like its going to take a full scale revolution to stop this level of growing control over us all. I suspect part of that revolution will be to fight to turn Big Brother against the power seekers. Ironically the machines taking over would be the way to police the relentless power seekers, because machines don't have self interest and don't mind openly sharing all knowledge they gain with all of us, so we will finally be able to see what the control freaks do with our money. Control freaks however always have hidden agendas so don't want openness. Like the Liberal Democrats here, attacking Conservatives as they know New Labour are dead. They are all two faced and all ultimately seeking power over us all.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Still a two horse race

    It's a one horse race. The only race with two horses is who gets to be leader of the opposition.

    Sorry to the Cameron-haters but he's in next election, barring bus accidents. (I'm quoting a broadsheet there, that's not a suggestion!)

  17. Anonymous Coward


    An ancient lie, but a lie for sure.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    so Cleggy where's my vote on the Lisbon treaty?

    and why did you Lib Dumms say you'd vote for an Referendum then bottle it at the last minute and support your Labour mates? Thus enabling Labour to sell us out to the EU.

    Politicians? They're all sheeeeeets. The Ld's are too chummy with Labour. Proven by the fact they are not attacking the incumbants but the Tories. Thus doing Labours work for them.

    Post election I just bet they will set up a pact with Labour to form a co-allition government. So that their Labour mates put through Proportional Representation.

    Vote LD get more Brown.

    It's a two horse race so you just have to hold your nose and vote for the least stinking politician.

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