Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two things Lib Dems are doing that make me happy - and one where there's room for improvement

I am heartily delighted that Nick Clegg is to make his own statement on Leveson this afternoon. When there's such a complex mix of abuse of power and freedom issues, we need an unequivocally liberal point of view. The Tories don't like getting in the way of large corporations' power and Labour's authoritarian instincts need to be curbed.

I expect Nick will get it in the neck from all sides but I think it's a very mature way to handle the inevitable disagreements that are going to arise during the course of a coalition. Nick isn't going to come out and call Cameron out for everything, but he'll express his view in clear, calm and respectful terms.

Another thing that made me very happy is the BBC report today which suggests that the Liberal Democrats may not support Draft Communications Data Bill. Julian Huppert has said all along that we would not support a Bill which was not substantially changed. The party will breathe a huge sigh of relief if that happens.

And the area where there's room for improvement? The Justice and Security Bill, containing the provisions for secret courts, was passed by the Lords last night. I don't believe that the amendments passed by the Lords do any more than make a horrendous bill merely bloody awful. Liberal Democrats should be having nothing to do with secret courts and we should insist on that being withdrawn. If you agree, please sign the petition here.

The next stage for this Bill is that it'll go to the Commons. This is where Lib Dem members really need to make their feelings known to our MPs. Please contact every single one you know and tell them why you think we need to get rid of these provisions.

It's great that Nick is getting it so right on Leveson and has got he message on communications data. He must act on secret courts, though. The Party will not cope well with a failure on such an issue of such fundamental importance to us.

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