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Here’s my list of laws to repeal or modify

Comment 29th July 2010

 

Dear Mr Clegg

The previous government was careless of our ancient freedoms and rights. It was probably the most authoritarian government since Pitt’s administration of the 1790s. Freedom of speech, assembly and thought have been violated by legislation brought in by the Blair/Brown governments. The police have used measures designed to curb terrorist acts in normal police work. The state prosecutor has shown an unwelcome, but wholly predictable, appetite for non-jury trials. Surveillance has become the default behaviour of the State be it through the proliferation of CCTV, wire taps and interception of communication. There is no effective oversight of these activities. Like much (that is admirable) in the British state it depends on goodwill, adherence to convention and the exercise of conscience to ensure no abuse. Sadly for our country the previous government was almost wholly negligent of those characteristics, and I say that as someone who voted for Blair. The result is a break in trust with the people that I hope is not irreparable.

Simon H

Why does this matter?

 

Below I list various laws that I would like to see repealed in whole, or substantial part.

Extradition:

Your officials will know the precise laws that govern the extradition of British citizens to foreign countries, but what I would like to see is 1) equality of treatment and 2) the proper use of the law. I am, of course, referring to the wholly unacceptable situation where the United States can apply to remove one of our citizens when no offence has been committed here. The ease of extradition was, were told, to facilitate the extradition of terrorists but it seems to have been used only the pursue dubious actions against our bankers, and sad computer hackers. Whatever the case, a prima facie case for extradition has to be established in our courts and our courts ought to be the place where these cases are tried. We all know that no US citizen would ever be extradited here under this law. It is unequal and shameful. It ought to be amended.

Laws that proscribe criticism of religion:

Religious hatred is an ugly thing but it should not be proscribed by law. Matters of faith are matters of personal belief. They are choices one makes.  The anti-religious hatred legislation was brought in to palliate Muslims. It has been unequally applied by the police (not that equal application of a bad law would make it any better). Repeal it. It shames our country’s struggle for free speech.

RIPA

This law and its attendant Orders are deeply offensive to our British way of life. These laws and regulations extend the State’s intrusion into public life. Any powers that Local Authorities have under this law and its Orders should be repealed. The primary legislation should be amended so that full statistics on its use should be published quarterly and the Home Secretary make a statement to the House about its use.

I refer here to: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Communications Data) (Additional Functions and Amendment) Order 2006/1878; and Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Maintenance of Interception Capability) Order 2002/1931 – intrusion in postal services


Coroners and Justice Bill 2009

An end to rules banning government departments from sharing personal information is proposed in the Coroners and Justice Bill. An amendment to the Data Protection Act of 1998 contained in the new bill will allow personal data to be shared by ministers through executive order to achieve what are vaguely termed the government’s “policy purposes.” If this passed the House it should be repealed. Similarly any provision that made it an offence to criticism someone’s sexuality should be repealed.

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

Demonstrations within 1km of Parliament Square without police permission are forbidden. The police can decide the time and place of the demonstration and limit numbers of people as well as the size and number of banners. This should be repealed

National Identity Register (NIR)

The sharing of information on the NIR is the first step in a government wide project to make all information on private citizens available to government and its agencies. The Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ, Serious Organised Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs will all have access to the NIR. Information on the NIR may be passed on to any public authority where it is deemed necessary for security, law enforcement, prevention of crime or government efficiency. No member of the public will be allowed access to his or her file. – This shows in microcosm the statist attitude of the previous government and its contempt for the people of this country. We were a population to be administered and monitored. If the NIR had not already been abolished it should be.

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