May 19, 2010

I’m starting warm up to this Nick Clegg chap.

A “power revolution” in Britain will be promised by Nick Clegg today as he tries to put his personal stamp on the Government in his first major statement as Deputy Prime Minister.

The Liberal Democrat leader will hail his programme of political reform as the most ambitious and radical since the Great Reform Act of 1832. He has told aides that the coalition government has given him the opportunity to implement the changes that he came into politics to pursue.

I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing. That kind of soaring language usually precedes calls for a panoply of new government programs. But read on . . .

In a speech in London Mr Clegg will promise a “wholesale, big bang” rather than piecemeal approach, including:

* scrapping the identity card scheme and second generation biometric passports;

* removing limits on the rights to peaceful protest;

* a bonfire of unnecessary laws;

* a block on pointless new criminal offences;

* internet and email records not to be held without reason;

* closed-circuit television to be properly regulated;

* new controls over the DNA database, such as on the storage of innocent people’s DNA;

* axeing the ContactPoint children’s database;

* schools will not take children’s fingerprints without asking for parental consent;

* reviewing the libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

“A bonfire of unnecessary laws.” The very thought of it warms the cockles of my cold libertarian heart.

When left and right come together in American politics we tend to get the worst of both sides. So this is encouraging. It’s still early, but the new U.K. Tory/LibDem coalition appears ready to both cut government programs and spending and roll back the British police/Nanny state.

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