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Saturday, January 27, 2007

In defence of Liberty

I had rather hoped to be home by now but due to the rather bizarre management of Newport railway station I missed my train. They spent the afternoon playing musical platforms, whereby they change train destinations at whim and do not give adequate notice to the passengers.

Liberal Democrat Voice has featured Baroness Sue Miller's attempt to put through a bill which would repeal Government measures to prevent public demonstrations outside Parliament. Rather unsurprisingly the Government opposed this proposal and for good measure said that will soon be announcing other locations where they intend to curtail the right to protest.

No doubt they will find some spurious justification for this proposal but there can be no doubt that this is yet one more step towards the curtailment of democratic rights in this Country more worthy of a Latin American dictatorship than a western democracy.

The fact that Labour have already gone some way down this slippery slope is illustrated further by yesterday's concession by the Home Secretary that the Government operates an "unlawful policy" in relation to the detention of young asylum seekers. I seem to recall that when the Liberal Democrats championed the cause of asylum seekers' children a few years ago that Labour misrepresented our position in by-election leaflets in an effort to win the little Englander route. How the chickens are coming home to roost now.
I had a similar last minute platform switch experience at Newport a few weeks ago. I caught the gist of the Welsh announcement and started moving. There were some English folks who failed to work out what was going on in time though - they were still dragging their suitcases down the stairs to the platform as the train pulled out!
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