10. Civil liberties
The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government and roll back state intrusion.
This will include:
• A freedom or great repeal bill;
What does this mean?
• The scrapping of the ID card scheme, the national identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point database;
• Outlawing the fingerprinting of children at school without parental permission;
Common sense prevails! To hell with stealth fingerprint-the-population schemes.
• The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency;
Cannot possibly be a bad thing.
• Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database;
If we have to have a DNA database, we could do worse than this.
• The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury;
• The restoration of rights to non-violent protest;
I could just kiss Nick Clegg right now. No really. I could.
• The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech;
Probably about time, too.
• Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation;
I’ll believe it when I see it; slippery slopes are hard to clamber back up. But I admire the sentiment.
• Further regulation of CCTV;
regulation scrapping. Fixed.
• Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason;
Oh my goodness. Requiring reasonable grounds for suspicion instead of limitless, Orwellian data mining? Say it ain’t so.
• A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.
Err, OK. Sounds sensible enough, if vague.
The fact that the coalition has adopted the Liberal Democrat platform for restoration of civil liberties, almost makes me want to weep with relief. Let’s hope they can make it happen.