back to article Clegg promises liberties restoration

Nick Clegg promised government that will restore individual liberties and value dissent this morning, as he set out his Deputy Prime Minster's brief to repeal Labour laws this morning. Setting out what he called a "big bang approach to political reform", he said illiberal and intrusive laws will be scrapped. Most of Clegg's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    *THIS* is why I voted for them yellow liberal types! :-D

  2. The Original Ash

    If I thought the man would take me up on the offer

    I'd buy him a pint.

    1. yakitoo
      Thumb Up

      Cage rattling time

      to show the world who the real slime balls are.

  3. DJV Silver badge

    Shirley, something wrong here?

    This can't be right - he's a politician and he seems to be talking sense. Am I really awake?

    1. BossHog
      Thumb Up


      You have just woken from a 13-year nightmare.. never forget this day! ;)

      1. Citizen Kaned

        i think you mean

        20+ year nightmare. or did you forget about thatcher and major? im 35 and we've had tossers in power all my life lol.

        i am amazed. i feel somewhat heartened by these 2 poshies (even cameron is coming out with some sensible stuff) my gast is truely flabbered!

        1. BossHog

          Fair dinkum

          I don't think Thatcher and Major were ever quite so bad from a civil liberties perspective -- I mean, at least Maggie bust Argy chops fighting for British Liberty in the Falkland Outpost.

          That said, I am 5 years younger than you, so the reigns of Mrs "Get some Nuts" T and John "Peas be with You" Major are all mixed up in a haze of Transformers, Boglins, and Hero Turtles...

    2. yakitoo

      Indeed, but

      don't call me..............

      sorry I'll just ...............

  4. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    And another thing to scrap........


    Well, not ANPR per-se. I have no problem with ANPR cameras reading number plates to check that the vehicle is insured, taxed, not listed as stolen, etc, but once those checks have been done and the vehicle checks out as "clean" then the record (of where and when it was "seen") should be discarded and not stored as a permanent record as it is now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    hooray.... about time

    I would like to be the first to welcome our database-destroying, repeal-hungry old-liberal democratic overlords.

    Seriously though, Clegg's really lashing himself to the mast on this one, highly admirable, even "brave..." in the words of Yes Minister.

    He is staking his reputation on a number of principles and hard actions, if

    nothing else a signal to friends and enemies alike that these aims are inviolate.

    Sure they will be watered down a bit, vested interests of Govt, business and hyper-rich will eat into them - that's why he's started with such a concentrated solution.

    First bit of good news from Westminster for years, centuries even.


  6. Basic

    Where's the catch

    I'm only hearing good news at the moment - I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop

    1. Chris Collins

      The Tax man

      ...he cometh.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Don't worry

      He won't make it.

    3. MinionZero
      Big Brother

      @Where's the catch

      Its good news to see a lot of this going, but I don't see any mention of Mandelson's total web spying Digital Economy Bill. So until that one is confirmed dead, I won't be celebrating.

      Without the *official confirmation* of the death of the spying and censorship plans in the Digital Economy Bill, they might just as well be giving us our freedom back with one hand and taking our freedom away again with the other hand. So celebrating is pointless until that very Orwellian bill is utterly and totally confirmed dead.

      Here's his full speech. Sadly no mention of the Digital Economy Bill

      Current status of the Digital Economy Bill, is that it was "Issued Royal Assent on April 12, 2010, it will go into effect on June 12 of the same year." The LibDems have so far said they will replace it with something else but what is that something else? ... replacing it isn't killing it and so its interesting its not in his speech today.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge


        I thought this was already up for mandatory discussion in a few months?

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Anyone else finding having a government that does what you want it to rather unnerving?

  8. Mike Richards Silver badge

    'big bang approach to political reform'

    I prefer Guy Fawkes' big bang approach to political reform.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re Big Bang

      Oh noes!!! I can't believe you just said that!

      Did you lean nothing from this?

  9. nordwars
    Thumb Up


    Please let them have the resolve to actually push these through. This, and electoral reform so that next election, they have even more power to act.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Give That Man A Cigar

    Woohoo :-)

    ID database and CCTV aside, I wonder if the 'extreme pr0n' laws will go. To be fair, it would take a politician with very big balls indeed to come out in support of BDSM in the face of bigoted Daily Heil and News Of The Screws readers.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    devil in the detail

    The devil will be in the detail as usual. For instance, an elected house of lords sounds great right? I mean who would back hereditary peerage? Well having been through the last Labour government, I would. The house of lords became an unlikely saviour during this last government's totalitarian rampage, by blocking and watering down several of the worst, most invasive bills.

    Make them elected and you politicise them. Politicise them and they will directly align with the house of commons, making their function as a backstop completely redundant. The next Labour will go nuts, and we'll all be tagged, carrying "papers" and have our communications automatically logged by "security services". Think I'm exaggerating? We'll soon see.

  12. Thomas 18


    "consent required to fingerprint children"

    Eh? what does this mean you don't need to get consent to fingerprint adults? or is this when you arrest them? I'm confused.

    Anyway yeah, go team liberal, I voted for ya!.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Naughty Labour

    If you can't play with Government like good little boys then we'll just have to take it off you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He'd have to

      go outside to smoke that cigar of course.... damn Labour government.

    2. mmiied

      he means for

      schools and the like so all thouse systems for lunch and labrays and door locks that use kids finger prints are going to be harder to implement

      1. King Jack

        No, he won't

        He can smoke till he chokes in the Houses of parliament 24 drinking bars.

        But WOW if he does what he is spouting Kudos to him. About time too.

      2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

        Not in the House of Commons Bar He Wouldn't

        Since it's officially calssified as a royal household, and not a place of business, it isn't covered by the smoking ban.

        Although, they apprently have a self-imposed ban, which is a little disappointing.

    3. Eponymous Cowherd
      Big Brother

      School Dinners

      I believe this refers to the fingerprinting of kids in schools to ID them for meals. The idea is that they are less likely to lose their fingers than their dinner money or payment cards.

      Mind you, I reckon little miss Cowherd would be quite capable of misplacing her own head if it wasn't firmly attached to the rest of her.....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If enough people believe . . . it becomes a religion !

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I voted for ya

      Sure, once they're elected, so did everyone else.

    6. John G Imrie Silver badge

      I actually liked the old house of lords

      Being unelected means you can do what's right instead of what's popular.

      Maybe a compromise. You are elected to the upper house, but once their you are there for life.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Thanks, John,..

        ... that's what I was just about to write. Avoid the risk of political short-termism so that the second chamber can do the right thing, not the Daily Sun thing, by having the people in post until death or retirement.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        The old House of Lords

        The House of Lords did work as a brake on New Labour but do you remember how ineffective it was between 1979 and 1997 when it had an inbuilt Tory majority?

        They didn't stop the Criminal Justice Bill or the Community Charge (Poll Tax) for example.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Brake only the broken

          "The House of Lords did work as a brake on New Labour but do you remember how ineffective it was between 1979 and 1997 when it had an inbuilt Tory majority?

          They didn't stop the Criminal Justice Bill or the Community Charge (Poll Tax) for example."

          I do struggle with this - what, precisely, was wrong with the Community Charge? It was a 1987 manifesto pledge, so clearly had a mandate. It ensured that every resident paid a share, rather than penalising those in smaller living units. It was badly administered and badly implemented but it was, in my opinion, considerably fairer than Council Tax.

          Clearly, a local element to income tax or, for that matter, just a national income tax and direct grants to local councils, would be preferable, but that doesn't mean that the Community Charge was, of itself, bad.

          In fact, despite what has been written, I believe one of the key reasons for the opposition was that millions of people who had escaped paying anything at all in local taxation (due to landlords paying rates) suddenly found they were expected to contribute.

      3. Red Bren

        Life peers? No thanks

        I agree with the concerns that an elected upper house could be too politicised and end up rubber stamping legislation from the commons, but life-long peerages mean out of touch incompetents that can't be removed.

        Perhaps a house of representatives would be better, where members with specialist knowledge and skills are appointed for a fixed term by specific groups, such as the GMC, CBI, TUC, Chartered Institutes, etc. Some of the more populist, hare-brained schemes of a government could then be scrutinise by experts in the field.

      4. Chris 3


        That's why the elected local "Head of Police" policy that the new Home Secretary was describing today scares my socks off.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Extreme porn solution

      Add a clause about consent being a defence, all porn sites be sure to carry consent disclaimers, job done.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Good News!

    Now all he has to get rid of is the ACPO and replace them with elected Officers who do not have the power to run their own private "company" which fronts police FIT (intelligence gathering) teams and is not accountable due to its "private company" status.

  15. Ned Leprosy
    Thumb Up


    I'm astonished (and very pleased) that this really seems to be happening. Yeah, I know the proof of the pudding, etc, but this is further than most pre-election promises seem to get.

    What I'd really like is if they go beyond the rubbish enacted by the last government and deal with older rubbish too, such as nuisances like the Gatso: and before the "hur hur, follow the rules, /the rules/!" brigade turns up, my hope is that in doing so we'll actually see patrol cars on the roads once again, which seem to have become an endangered species over the past 20 years. The amount of problems caused by overlooking non-speed-related road nuisances while they're too busy compromising everyone else's privacy hasn't exactly made the country a better place.

    The likelihood of seeing the end of ID cards, the DNA database, kids being routinely fingerprinted and so on is an excellent start, though. But that doesn't stop me wishing that they go much further.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Go much further ...

      Well yopu know who to vote for next time then :-)

  16. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Photography in public?

    How about the legal right to take photographs in a public place of public things?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge


      Unless I'm mistaken, you already have that right ?

      It's just not being respected by the plods, is all.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Just because it's public, doesn't mean it's free

        You normally have to apply for permission (from the local council or similar) to take photographs or film but this detail is normally observed in the breach for private use.

        @the government:

        please, please have the balls to repeal the "anti-terrorist" shite especially detention without trial.

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        I prefer

        A new law that really punishes the police for harassment and illegal actions. How about fine the individual officers the same amount that football players are fined for misbehaving (but still with their normal police salary!)

  17. Arkasha

    Good man.

    Wasn't a wasted vote.

    Anyone hear Teresa May getting grilled on Radio 4's Today programme this morning? She was asked about the Tories' U-turn on their manifesto pledge to chuck out the Human Rights Act and was being pressed on an answer about whether the Tories - being the leading party in the coalition - would put their foot down if the Lid Dems disagreed but she wouldn't say yes and kept dodging the question. I think Clegg has way more power than he thinks right now. Most of the policy statements I've heard in the past few days have been coming either from Nick Clegg directly, or with a decidely Cleggy coating.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Share toy?

    Can we borrow him here in the States for a while please?? There's work to be done.

    Seriously, a politician with guts AND some common sense. Lucky you.

    1. Jimmy Floyd
      Thumb Up

      And rightly so...

      ...for a party that took a quarter of the vote.

  19. EvilGav 1



    I have no major issue with an elected House of Lords, but it has to be done on a completely different scale, otherwise you get the same system as the US (which itself has some safe-guards, namely that the senate are only voted in, i think, 1/3rd of all members every set term).

    You need fixed terms and only incremental voting, such that, for example, you effectively have a 25 year term (so, 20% voted every 5 years or 25% voted every 6 years). This gets away from the terms equating to the government and it makes the full term longer than any sitting government that the UK has ever had, at least in recent memory (18 years for Conservative from 1979 to 1997).

    You also need other safe-guards, for example any and all gifts or meetings would have to be declared, to ensure any vested interests aren't all behind closed doors.

    However, everything else Clegg is saying sounds good to me.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wont be impressed

    I wont be impressed until we hear about IMP, reduction in time held before charge, and a look at the extreme porn law and recent amendments to include drawings as real life.

    the ID cards/contacpoint/dna are all easy things.

    As to getting rid of Human Rights bill, that was always going to be pretty much impossible - anyone that supported the Tories on that mandate was a blind idiot.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Need to go further

      "You also need other safe-guards, for example any and all gifts or meetings would have to be declared, to ensure any vested interests aren't all behind closed doors."

      That doesn't appear to have made much difference to the results when it's come out. If, however, the member and their party couldn't vote where they had an interest (i.e. bribe), they'd have to work a damn site harder to get through unbalanced legislation.

      And we'd probably be in a better place now anyway, certainly things like the Digital Economy Bill would be either workable or in the dustbin.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Also holding my "being impressed" mode until they do something about the extra ten metric fuck tonnes of vetting needed to get a job working within 10 miles of "vulnerable people or children"

    1. Anton Ivanov

      He is getting there

      Not allowing the Tories to repeal the Human Rights act was a good start.

      The reason for the current Human Rights mess, Health and Safety Mess, Equality mess, etc is all actually in the way Labour has been implementing Britain's international obligations including the European Convention of Human Rights. It was practicing a "pix-n-mix" approach as previously used by Brezhnev's Soviet Union.

      These conventions are logically and legally complete structures. You either accept them as a whole or you do not accept them at all. If you pull a particular bit out the entire thing falls apart as a house of cards.

      Human Rights is a prime example here. Britain has chosen not to implement the most supreme of all rights in that convention - the right to be innocent until proven guilty. If that was implemented, all terror laws, the H&S act, the vetting and plenty of other typical Labour law and ordnances would have been automatically invalid.

      By the way, that was exactly the moment when I decided that I am definitely not voting Tory - when Cameron said that he intends to repeal the act. The act needs not be repealed. It needs to be amended so that the whole convention is accepted as a _WHOLE_. Unconditionally. Then it will work. Repealing it is a knee jerk reaction which shows a basic failure to understand why it is going wrong.

  22. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    Bravo Nick Clegg!

    I was worried that a coalition between the Tories and the Lib Dems would end up as a one-sided affair with all the power in the Blue camp, but this sort of thing shows that the Tories *are* actually willing to be reasonable in their exercise of coalition power.

    BTW To anyone who wants to write to Tory MPs urging them to get rid of (amongst other things) the Extreme Porn legislation, just point out that there would have been more "No" votes in the House of Lords (possibly enough to defeat it) if it hadn't been for the fact, as one Tory Peer admitted to me: "We don't vote on Lib Dem amendments".

    Well now it's not a Lib Dem amendment, so let's see them prove that they really care about Freedom of Expression and get rid of that damned stupid law!

    1. ElFatbob


      So Cleggy's getting all the credit for rolling back the state, which if I remember correctly, was also a key part of the Tory manifesto..

      Some ferkin short memories around here....

      1. Graham Marsden


        Ask the Tories where they pinched their ideas from...

        (PS And do the words "I agree with Nick" ring any bells?)

  23. Eponymous Cowherd

    They could also......

    stop the DVLA from selling your personal details to any wheel-clamping crook who asks for them.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's still...

    ... being a bit vague about DNA.

    Nick :- immediate destruction of the DNA of anybody who has not been convicted, please; anything else is not good enough.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The Digital Economy Bill

    With any luck, Lord Voldemort's attempt at making the internet in China appear unrestricted will find itself unceremoniously heaved on to the HMSO bonfire.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about repealing the 'Cartoon Pr0n' law..?

    ...because, along with the idiocy of the 'extreme pr0n' law, this also strikes me as a complete injustice - the very fact that citizens can be charged and prosecuted as 'sex offenders' for being in possession of drawings of wholly fictional (that's to say 'not real' in any sense of the meaning) kids is anathema both to justice and common sense. To be able to ruin lives in such a manner is spiteful, vindictive, bullying and downright cruel.

    But I doubt we'll see any movement there, tbh. Does anyone imagine any of these politicians have the backbone to take on the vested interests in police and advocacy that have bequeathed us these terrible laws..?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Erm, wouldn't that kill them?

      but seriously, why not the Scottish/Elsewhere practice of holding on a bit longer for violent or sexual arrests.

  27. dervheid

    Woo Hoo!

    But let's wait and see if it actually happens.

    Though it was nice to see FORMER Home Secretary Alan Johnson having a wee rant on the Beeb:

    Quote from BBC website-

    "accused Mr Clegg of using "rampant hyperbole" when talking about surveillance and added that the previous government's law and order reforms had public backing.

    He said: "If he [Mr Clegg] wants to ask the public which laws to get rid of, he should also ask which laws they would like to keep." "

    'S funny, I don't remember him or his cohorts giving a fucking TOSS about public opinion when they were trying to stitch us up into the State of NuLabouria.

    Dear Alan, YOU created our surveillance society! Now FUCK OFF you knobhead.

  28. Les Matthew

    Good as this all sounds

    It's still all talk until it actually happens.

    I've also got a nagging feeling that we're being softened up for the bad news that is sure to come in the very near future.

  29. Pablo
    Thumb Up

    Good luck

    Our last "regime change" stateside has been quite underwhelming from a civil liberties standpoint. I hope you fair better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's because...

      ... your previous regime did such a royal job of f**king the economy, wrecking everything it could before it skulked out the door, that the incoming administration hasn't had time to deal with anything else.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If he survives to see only part of this through, he'll have achieved his place in history. I'm not sure it can be done in a single repeal bill though as I think some of the damage done by the New Labour project runs deeper than mere legislation.

  31. druck Silver badge

    Every last law from 97 onwards

    Every law from 97 onwards needs to be reviewed and in the majority of cases repealed.

    Most were thought up on the spot as a knee jerk reaction to a news story and duplicated existing laws - knife crime was already illegal, it has since been made doubly and even triply illegal. Duplication of laws doesn't reduce crime or make prosecution easier, it gives the defence even more loop holes to exploit.

    Even those laws which were planned in advance, where so shoddily drafted that in many cases have been applied to areas they were never claimed to target. We never quite know if this was incompetence or intentional given so many Labour MPs supposedly had a legal background.

  32. kiddiefiddler

    While your at it...

    can you also repeal that pesky bit on CRB that means the chief constable can (at his descretion...) state any old gossip/"police intelligence"/outright lies as non-conviction data.

    ta very muchly

  33. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    It's OK, I don't need my fingerprints back

    I kept copies.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still Opposition to Civil Liberties Reform

    There are still groups opposed to allowing us more freedom from intrusive surveillance & powers curbing our freedom- namely the police & security services. Came across an interesting article from the New Scientist that suggests that the Interception Modernisation Programme is still favoured by GCHQ & MI5:

    I am sceptical whether this will be watered down. IMP shouldn't go ahead simply on a cost basis. Even if it doesn't it's still reckoned that deep packet inspection technology will still be deployed across the internet.

  35. David Pollard

    @ kevin 3

    "Why not the Scottish/Elsewhere practice of holding [DNA profiles] bit longer for violent or sexual arrests."

    Because presumption of innocence doesn't work unless it is applied across the board.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. g e


    Get rid of avg speed cameras

    Get rid of for-profit speed cameras

    Put the police back into being servants to the public

    Give kids a choice e.g. National Service at 16 or higher education, then the chavs can get shot or something.

    Yeah it's been one of THOSE days today...

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