The present government got rid of the most offensive parts of Labour’s attack on civil liberties when it reduced the time people can be held without charge or trial, and ditched the Identity card scheme. More can be done to restore lost civil liberties, which used to define an Englishman’s rights – and came to include an Englishwoman’s rights too as the twentieth century rightly enfranchised women.
Civil liberty would be strengthened by fewer but better laws. Our freedom rests in part on supporting an independent police force and prosecution service, where politicians cannot interfere in individual cases, and on a supreme Parliament which can police the independence of the law and change the Statutes as required. This system is under threat from the European Convention on Human Rights, which has been extended from a sensible set of general proposals to encourage freedom loving states, into an alternative system of law which judges our own Parliamentary process and our own freely chosen laws. Reform of this system is needed to restore UK Parliamentary authority over what the law is, and to restore the independence of our courts over how the law is applied and interpreted.
A democratic state should not take powers to remove money from people’s bank accounts if the taxman thinks they owe some. It should avoid further drift towards the pocket money society of some Labour imaginings, where government regards all income in the state as its to distribute, leaving what it thinks appropriate for the individuals who earned it.
The government is rightly looking at how it can reduce the use of stop and search powers. These are necessary but should be used where there is reasonable suspicion that someone may be about commit an offence or is committing one.
The fundamentals of our system are good, and need restoring. Everyone is innocent until proved guilty. No-one should be detained for a long period without charge and the prospect of an early trial.The presence of a few nasty potential terrorists in our midst should never be used as an excuse to remove the ancient liberties of the English.