Thursday, June 14, 2012

Draft Communications Bill violates the Coalition agreement

I decided not to take part in the telephone conference with Julian Huppert this evening. Thanks are due to Helen Duffett for organising it, but I decided that having a curry and going to my writing club would be a better use of my time.

In her account of the conference, Caron Lindsay tells us we have "169 days to help Julian Huppert protect the internet from the prying eyes of the state". Well, I am sure we will all try to help him, but wouldn't it be easier if Nick Clegg had stuck to Liberal Democrat policy (not to mention his past, rather dramatic, statements on civil liberties) and refused to endorse the bill in the first place?

It seems odd that the job of Liberal Democrat activists is now seen to be campaigning against the proposals of a government of which the Liberal Democrats are a part.

And if you think that ignores the reality of coalition politics, let me refer you to the Coalition Agreement:
We will be strong in defence of freedom. The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian, and that over the past decade it has abused and eroded fundamental human freedoms and historic civil liberties. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power, in keeping with Britain’s tradition of freedom and fairness.
It is hard to see how today's bill can be reconciled with that.


Nick said...

I think we're yet again letting the Tories set the terms on the debate, and we'll end up with our MPs being bounced into supporting something we never wanted in the first place.

My initial thoughts for this comment got far too long, so I turned it into a post:

lizw said...

Or indeed how the Bill can be reconciled with this on p.11 of the Coalition Agreement:

"We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason."

The increasing appearance that the Coalition Agreement is no longer worth the paper it was written on was the deciding factor in my leaving the party, and this does nothing to convince me that I was wrong. For those activists who have stayed - and I do have a lot of respect for that decision - I'd like to suggest the top priority should be to get in place a leadership that will as much as humanly possible actually abide by votes at Conference (Special Conference included). Otherwise, much of your effort is going to be wasted continuously reliving the same battles.