Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger
In his speech Restoring British Liberties (dated January 7, 2011), Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg talked about the freedom and the “hard-won liberties” that people in Britain have held dear. He talked about the standards of a nation that have been the hallmarks of a civilized society to which people who are victims of oppression in other places around the world have looked to as a beacon of hope…as an example of a better way of life.
Clegg claimed that in recent times under Labour many of Britain’s best traditions have suffered—and that many of its civil liberties “have been undermined, eroded, lost.”
They[Labour] turned Britain into a place where schools can fingerprint your children without their parents’ consent. Where councils use surveillance powers designed to tackle crime to check if you’re cleaning up after your dog. Where thousands of new criminal offences have amassed on to the statute book. Where you are 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police if you are black or Asian. Where, in one year, we saw over 100,000 terror-related stop-and-searches, none of which yielded a single terror arrest.
They made Britain a place where you could be put under virtual house arrest when there was not enough evidence to charge you with a crime. And with barely an explanation of the allegations against you. A place where young, innocent children caught up in the immigration system were placed behind bars. A Britain whose international reputation has been brought into question because of our alleged complicity in torture.
That record is an affront to everything we stand for.
It has created a fundamental imbalance between British citizens and the British state; disempowering individuals, criminalising innocent people, fuelling mistrust between communities, and diminishing this nation’s moral authority too.
Clegg went on to enumerate the ways in which the Coalition Government would address the problems in 2011, which included the following:
Three: by ending the practices of closed and secretive government; giving people the information and freedom they need to hold us and other institutions to account.
Does any of what Clegg said ring familiar to you? Do you believe that some of our civil liberties have been undermined and eroded in this country—especially over the past decade? Do you think that we Americans need to be ever vigilant about the loss of our “hard-won” freedoms? Do you think that “we the people” should have the freedom and information that we need to hold our political leaders and government institutions to account?
Source: Liberal Democrats