back to article Protection of Freedoms Bill is released

The long-awaited Protection of Freedoms Bill – aka "the great Repeal Bill" – has been published, to much trumpeting of liberties restored by the Coalition, and a sharp intake of breath from everyone else, who is rapidly reading the small print. Top of the list of freedoms restored is the right to volunteer without being …


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  1. Ted Treen
    Big Brother

    It's a start...

    ...if it comes to fruition.

    The smaller the government, the better.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am bringing common sense back to public protection

    Just another policy based on a vociferous public minority. She'll be eating her words when the terrorists take over and all our children are being ravaged by paedophiles whilst at nursery school.

    1. Jonathan 10

      Please say you're....

      I praying you're being sarcastic....

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


      You forgot the icon

    3. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Who is AC?

      Is that Blunket, or Jacqui?

      You wouldn't be so anonymous if they hadn't shredded the ID card scheme!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    More of this sort of thing

  4. Alien Doctor 1.1

    It looks like they missed

    It looks like they missed the opportunity to make the forthcoming population census just that; seems they still want to intrude on our sex lives amongst other things.

    Bastards. (Although well done for the rest of the act though).

    1. Ted Treen
      Big Brother


      In the forthcoming census you could claim to be a homosexual hermaphrodite.

      That should be sufficient to make their hardwired jobsworth brains explode or meltdown.

      1. Alien Doctor 1.1
        Big Brother

        Thanks Ted...

        although I might add I'm also a Jedi Knight Virgin Homosexual Hermaphrodite with 5 cats derived from my DNA and a Partridge in a Pear tree.

  5. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    We still need to keep an eye on them!

    From the outset this looks like a step in the right direction, but as a great man once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.".

  6. Anonymous Coward

    So why did we bother providing suggestions?

    A much needed step in the right direction but it looks like 99% of the very good suggestions on the Your Freedom website and Great Repeal Bill wiki have been ignored....

  7. mmiied

    bated breath

    sounds good now lest see of the small print contains the word "just kidding"

  8. Sam Liddicott

    the repeal of powers to hold serious and complex fraud trials without a jury

    "the repeal of powers to hold serious and complex fraud trials without a jury" - good.

    If the law and corresponding crime is so complicated that a jury can't follow it then it's more of a lure-and-trap than a law.

    1. teebie

      I disagree! And agree!

      Laws in specialised areas may need to be specialised. So, for instance, regulations on what a bank may do with a Marklar Deposit shouldn't be too complicated for a banker in the Marklar industry to understand, but it is fine if I don't get them.

      The jury's job in these trials is "who is lying/what actually happened", "what is the law" is the judge's job.

      Laws that may need to be applied to everyone, such as those driving, buying groceries and assault should be understandable to everyone. If the law is only going to be applied in practive to a small group it is fine that only that group understand.

      Gradually chipping away at the right to trial by jury is bad for different reasons.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Sam Liddicott

      "If the law and corresponding crime is so complicated that a jury can't follow it then it's more of a lure-and-trap than a law."

      Not so. The *law* might be quite simple. However the actual mechanics of a fraud can be hideously complex (consider the $40Bn Ponzi pyramid scheme).

      Now if you were a defense barrister one tactic you *might* consider would be to so *bury* the jury in minutiae and trivia that they declare your client not guilty just so they can *go* home, ideally after a couple of weeks at £200ph so that's the kids school fees taken care of.

      This is one that *looks* like it's going to give people a fairer trial.

      In reality I suspect most of the people who *finally* get to the inside of a courtroom for fraud are actually *guilty*.

      Of course some of them are also large campaign contributors to political parties.

  9. Code Monkey

    A cautious welcome

    I didn't know that fraud trials without jury were in the sights as well. I've always viewed jury trials as an easy target for the Tories as they can argue it's red tape in the way of getting jsutice done.

    So it's a welcome from me, suspended until the fine print has been examined (by someone more clued up than I).

  10. Tom Chiverton 1


    So, not shutting down IMP then ?

  11. Matt West

    Olympic Freedom?

    Does that mean that traders based around the Olympic site will be allowed to trade during the Olympics, and that taxpayers walking around the site will be allowed to wear whatever clothes they like?

    I thought the fraud trial thing was to avoid trapping members of the public for years to sit though ferociously complicated efforts by multinationals to avoid paying their taxes.

  12. mmm mmm

    This is great

    As Anon 16 said, more of the same.

  13. sheila

    Meanwhile quietly and behind the scenes..

    Scotland it developing a "cradle to grave" surveillance scheme which makes ID cards and the NIR look positively benign.

    Before those NOTB move on, please read this recent warning from Open Democracy:

    "In this two-part exposé, Kenneth Roy, editor of the Scottish Review, reveals the true nature of the long-awaited 'privacy principles' and the back-door introduction of a compulsory ID scheme for Scotland. In both cases, it is the liberties of children that are first on the line. In addition to the intrinsic importance of what happens in Scotland, there are two reasons why everyone across the UK should be alert to warnings of this kind. OurKingdom and openDemocracy played a big role in the 2009 Convention on Modern Liberty. This was a"wake up call" about the dangers of the database state. The evidence it brought together shows that there is a driving state-culture pushing for the penetration of information on citizens and central control of that information, while people are far too complacent and trusting about what this process is, which is being developed with minimal publicity. This is the first reason. Second, from the Poll Tax to the Scottish Consitutional Convention, in both bad ways and good, what happens in Scotland today can impact on what happens in London tomorrow. This is a warning!

    For the rest of Kenneth's excellent articles and other recent coverage, please visit this forum thread:

  14. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    A good start

    Now it's time for increased oversight of those in public office.

    Being in a position of power skews the balance between privacy of the individual and harm to the population in general.

    Whilst ther is no need for the state to scrutinise the life of Joe Average, there is every need for Joe Average to know the state is being properly overseen in what it does in his name.

  15. Suboptimal Planet

    How free will we be?

    Once this bill passes, will we be as free as we were in 1997?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    How free will we be?

    Suboptimal Planet asked "Once this bill passes, will we be as free as we were in 1997?"

    The short answer is no, but we will certainly be more free than we were in the latter days of New Labour's reign of terror.

    For example, pre-charge detention has been reduced to 14 days - it used to be 48 hours before Tony Blair started creeping up the length of time to 14 days and then beyond.

    Big Brother

    "without a fear that the state is monitoring them."

    Yes, fine... but to be honest I'm more concerned about the criminal misconduct of the BT/Phorm directors, and the civil service corruption that seems to be protecting them from the long overdue prison sentences they deserve.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    I still hope they repeal that draconian law on drawn pornography...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Good point, I was hoping that one would be in there :(

      Oh well, can't have it all. Still happy some stuff is going.

    2. Graham Marsden


      Unfortunately the Tories are probably too afraid of upsetting Middle England to risk trying to get rid of either the Dangerous Pictures (Extreme Porn) or Dangerous Cartoons laws :-(

  19. There's a bee in my bot net

    Fingers crossed...

    ...that this is genuine and gets through.

  20. Dr Paul Taylor

    Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 too, please

    Essentially gave any Minister the right to change any piece of legislation. The Tories and LibDems voted solidly against it at the time, plus six Labour rebels and the minor parties, but that they are in govt it suits them to use it.

  21. fleck35
    Thumb Down


    I recently had my dna , fingerprints and photograph taken as a result of lies told by my ex, a high ranking police officer. I was declared Not guilty at court but cannot get my details removed. In my profession I regularly leave my dna in houses that I view with clients. Should a house I view be burgled I may well be arrested on suspicion of that based on the fact that my dna and fingerprints are found

  22. David 45

    Judge Birss

    I have a cunning plan - Judge Birss for prime Minister!

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    A start. But only just

    Some of this stuff reminds me of a piece of Chris Rock's stand up work on YouTube. The bit about a war going on between black people and n*****s, and how the latter want credit for something you're supposed to do as a matter of course.

    "Well, we're going to stop holding the DNA of *innocent* people"

    You stupid m**********rs, the ECHR told the *previous* government to do that.

    I can only hope that, were a government spokesman asked *when* they plan to repeal the moronic drawn porn laws, they do not reply "S**t I don't know, keeping it *real*"

  24. Daniel B.

    Section 44

    Isn't that the one used to harass photographers? Nice!

  25. T J
    Thumb Up

    Britons!! Are you coming home??

    Could it be, could it finally be - you UK'ers are finally starting to save yourselves from the orwellian nightmare you voted yourselves into over the last 20 or 30 years?????

  26. Alan Firminger

    Restoring juries for fraud

    Remember why juries were abandoned for fraud - because cases were so complex and detailed that trials took over a year.

    In that time jury members were off sick with flu, childbirth and all the other excuses, or reasons, that keep us from work. When three jury members were permanently off the bench, perhaps through death, emigration, debilitation or any other reason, then the trial collapsed and had to be restarted. In practice it is impossible to try such complex cases.

    So what happens in future, are the spivs to be given a free pardon ?

    The law cannot compel a trader to simplify his, or her, activiies. It can't compel simplified accounting of complex business, hundreds of thousands of transactions with mergers and break ups along the way. The issue often hinges on the trivial matters of were individual deals legal or crooked.

    I need answers.

  27. bugalugs


    Introducing the Bill to the Commons, Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The first duty of the state is the protection of its citizen's RIGHTS, but this should never be an excuse for the government to intrude into people’s private lives.

    Fixed it for her.

  28. Arnie

    Oh yeah, your freedom

    "It also drew on views put forward by the public through the radical Your Freedom website set up after the coalition government came to power."

    Was that the website that was flooded with an overwhelming number requests to legalise cannabis. They conviently ignore that.

    No confidence

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