Thursday, 20 May 2010


  • We will implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion. GOOD
  • We will introduce a Freedom Bill. GOOD
  • We will protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.  GOOD
  • We will introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. EVEN BETTER
  • We will restore rights to non-violent protest. GOOD
  • We will review libel laws to protect freedom of speech. EXCELLENT
  • We will introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. EXCELLENT
  • We will further regulate CCTV.GOOD
  • We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason. VERY GOOD
  • We will introduce a new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences. EXCELLENT
  • We will establish a Commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties. NOT GOOD - STICK WITH HRA/ECHR - IT IS OUR INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATION IN ANY EVENT
  • We will provide more protection against aggressive bailiffs and unreasonable charging orders, ensure that courts have the power to insist that repossession is always a last resort, and ban orders for sale on unsecured debts of less than £25,000. CURIOUS - LOTS OF BUSINESSES WILL NOT LIKE THIS - THREATENING AN ORDER FOR SALE IS USUALLY THE LAST WAY OF EXTRACTING MONEY FROM DEBTORS SHORT OF BANKRUPTCY
  • We will ban the use of powers in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) by councils, unless they are signed off by a magistrate and required for stopping serious crime. BRILLIANT!
  • We will carry out a fundamental review of Legal Aid to make it work more efficiently. OMINOUS - WHAT DOES EFFICIENT MEAN?
  • We will establish five-year fixed-term Parliaments. We will put a binding motion before the House of Commons stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, we will legislate to make provision for fixed-term Parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.  THIS IS WORRYING?  AMENDS OUR CONSTITUTION WITHOUT MUCH THOUGHT?
  • We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum. DON'T LIKE PR AT ALL.
  • We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents. GOOD IDEA
  • We will establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motion by December 2010. It is likely that this will advocate single long terms of office. It is also likely that there will be a grandfathering system for current Peers. In the interim, Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election. PERSONALLY FAVOUR 1/ 2 ELECTED AND 1/2 APPOINTED - TO ALLOW FOR THE WISE MEN AND WOMEN FROM A RANGE OF TECHNICAL/CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS TO REMAIN MEMBERS.  QUITE LIKE THE IRISH SENATE'S COMPOSITION ACTUALLY


  1. There are a lot of "WE WILLS" which, at first blush seem very attractive. The devil (as always) will line in the detail which we await with interest.

    I agree with you re the Human Rights situation. I also agree that much needs to be done to explain the benefits of the Act to people. All they ever hear are "negatives"
    which are frequently printed in certain newspapers.

    Far too many bodies have been given the right to use powers under RIPA and these bodies frequently authorise themselves. The very least would be that the use of powers receives the agreement of a magistrate. Such a requirement, like search warrants, makes them think about what they are doing in the knowledge that they will have to justify it. There are some serious points however: for instance, what if the magistrate authorises a warrant but, in fact, it turns out that there is no statutory authority for it. [Whether a power exists can depend on subtle interpretation of the reelvant law]. Who then is liable?

    Legal Aid - a massive subject . Unlikely to be any more money in the foreseeable future and may even be less. Government will need to look very carefully at how the money which is available is distributed. We know that a relatively low number of high cost cases take a substantial amount of the legal aid budget. We now have far too many defendants in Magistrates' Courts struggling to represent themselves and the "roll out" of Crown Court means testing is continuing despite change of government. Many litigants in civil cases cannot obtain legal aid.

    Legal costs - action will be needed here. Yet another huge topic but almost everyone agrees that the costs of certain types of litigation are extremely high - e.g. defamation; boundary disputes - (two areas which I blogged about this week).

    Voting Reform - I would like to see urgent action to ensure that at any future election everyone who wishes to may actually get to vote!

    Recall of MPs - OK in theory but what does "serious wrongdoing" mean? Devil will be in the detail.

    Reform of the House of Lords. The coalition proposal is to have a committee to look at it. Report by end of the year. However, I think that the idea of creating a large number of peerages now is utterly wrong and will make reform even more difficult than it is already especially if they all have "grandfather rights".

    The need to reform the Lords has been on the backburner since the Parliament Act 1911. The last thing I would like to see is this topic being kicked into the long grass yet again.

    Some unelected membership is acceptable if they sit as CROSSBENCHERS. I would say no more than 20%. The problem is to find an acceptable formula. The Irish model is worth considering but there may be too many technical/cultural backgrounds in the UK to enable them to find a satisfactory formula.

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