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This page provides occasional items, linked to the original articles, as we attempt to keep up with the rapidly changing situation on civil liberties.
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1st Jan to 9th Sept 2005


David Davis’s formal campaign launch

Today David Davis formally launched his campaign with this speech. A couple of quotations follow:

One year on how different this country feels. We were promised humility but government has grown even more arrogant. We were promised respect for democracy but Ministers have stooped to new lows. We were promised greater respect for the fundamental freedoms that define this great country but the relentless erosion of British liberty has continued unabated.

The trigger for my resignation was the rigged voted on 42 days. Can anyone remember a Prime Minister engaging in more sordid and cynical bout of deal-making, that at one and the same time managed both to buy off our democracy, and pawn off the crown jewels of British liberty?

We already had the longest period of pre-charge detention in the free world. And Mr Brown’s Britain now tops a whole range of international league tables.

The imminent arrival of the most intrusive ID card system in the world. A mammoth liability that both security and IT experts warn will offer up our personal details as a huge, attractive and vulnerable target for criminal hackers and terrorists at a cost to the taxpayer of £19 billion.

We have the largest DNA database in the world, with one million innocent citizens swabbed and sampled, serious criminals left off, and less than 0.4% of crimes detected using DNA.

We have the largest number of CCTV cameras in the world, 1 for every 14 citizens.
But 80% of the footage from this half a billion pound investment is unusable and lax controls allow gross intrusions of innocent people’s privacy.

In Gordon Brown’s Britain, the state has amassed 266 separate powers to force its way into your home. In Gordon Brown’s Britain, the state lost 25million child benefit records in the post. In Gordon Brown’s Britain, council spies follow your children home from school, to check they are not cheating the catchment area.

Is this the next chapter in British liberty we were promised?


Third, it is high time we took a stand against the sustained assault on British liberty.

High time, we rolled back the creeping intrusions of the state into our daily lives. And high time we checked the power of this arbitrary, abusive and arrogant government.

I believe the stand I am taking is already achieving its aims.

I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received: Across the conventional political divides. From Michael Portillo to Tony Benn. From those with experience fighting terrorism, like General Mike Rose, and those who have been the victim of terrorism, like Terry Waite.

And, above all, I have been humbled by the support from the thousands upon thousands of people going about their daily lives who paused, took stock, and wrote to me with their precious and invaluable moral support.

Raising the level of national consciousness will be one benchmark of the success of this campaign. But my aim is also to send a shot across the bows of the state. To check its inexorable accumulation of power at the expense of the citizen.


Ladies and gentleman, there is a clear choice in this by-election.

It is the choice between a vision of a free Britain which protects our fundamental freedoms and respects personal privacy and Gordon Brown’s vision of an over-weaning, interfering and increasingly authoritarian state interfering in every nook and cranny of our daily lives.

Davis also launched a mini-manifesto:

10 Policies to Protect British Freedom

1.Reverse 42 days pre-charge detention – a ‘PR coup for Al-Qaeda’.
2.Scrap ID cards – put the £19 billion savings towards a Border Police Force and other security measures.
3.Immediate reversal of the ban on free speech outside Parliament.
4.Protect the right to trial by jury.
5.Stop neighbourhood spies using powers that should rest with the police and MI5.
6.Use intercept evidence to prosecute terrorists – but restrict bugging by local councils.
7.Replace 1 million innocent citizens on the DNA database with the serious criminals left off.
8.Make CCTV more effective (80% is unusable) – strengthen punishments for privacy abuse.
9.Slash the 266 separate powers the state has to force its way into the home.
10.Launch an independent inquiry into the government’s serial database failures.

These policies are fine as far as they go, but they tackle only the tip of the iceberg.

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