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Friday, May 24, 2013

The case against the snooper's charter remains unchanged

It was interesting, though not unexpected, that following the appalling attrocity in Woolwich, many of the usual voices re-emerged calling for the reinstatement of the communications data bill that Nick Clegg quite correctly blocked a few months ago.

These included former Labour Home Secretary, John Reid, former First Sea Lord and security minister, Lord West, and former Security legislation reviewer and Liberal Democrats peer, Lord Carlile. It should be noted that none of these are in government at present and so do not have access to all the information about the attack.

That is why I am more than inclined to back Nick Clegg's judgement when he says through a spokesperson that “There is currently no suggestion that the proposals in the draft Communications Data Bill would have had any relevance to [Wednesday’s] sickening events. There are already substantial powers in place to track the communications of criminals and terrorists.”

Nick Clegg is not the only person in government saying this however. According to the Independent he has the unlikely support of Eric Pickles in this:

Mr Pickles said he did not believe any measures in a mooted communications data bill, dubbed the "snooper's charter", would have prevented the death of the soldier in Woolwich.

Conservative MP Mr Pickles told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "What I am certain about is a free society is vulnerable to an unexplained, heavy violent attack, whether it was as our dear friends in Norway faced a couple of years ago a white supremacist or whether what we faced on the streets of Woolwich, a blasphemy and distortion of Islam.

"I know of nothing that would suggest that provisions that were in that bill would have made any difference in this case or would have saved the life of the young member of the armed forces.

"I think it's probably too soon to assess the powers we need but, once the investigation is through, both aspects of the security services and aspects of the policing of these two individuals will be thoroughly investigated and no doubt recommendations will come out of that."

That is a considered and informed response that should be supported.
And if the considered and informed investigation into Woolwich does conclude it could have been prevented by a Communications Data Act what will your response be?
I will look at the evidence
I'm glad. Because it could be inferred from your blogpost - and from the reaction of Nick Clegg - that the Lib Dems have already decided the Communications Data Bill is to be opposed, regardless of if it could have prevented the Woolwich attack.
Nick Clegg is correct to oppose this Bill. The proponents of this bill do not realise that the ones administering it are no better than yellow belly thugs with suits and the whole population could develop a deep suspicion of Government.
It's all about weighing it up and looking at the side effects ensuing of policy, something Statist politicians are terribly good at.
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