catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Tony Blair brings libertarianism back … to the Tory party

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While British PM Tony Blair talks about bringing liberalism to the Middle East, maybe he should look more closely at what he’s doing in his own backyard:

Tony Blair launches an unprecedented assault today on the legal and political establishment, accusing it of being ‘out of touch’ with the people – and pledges new moves to ‘hassle, harry and hound’ suspected criminals from Britain …

He outlines controversial new steps, ranging from seizing assets from suspected drug dealers – which could see anyone stopped with more than £1,000 having the money confiscated – to draconian new restrictions on the movements of those suspected of involv-ement in organised crime.

Even if they are not convicted of a crime and there is insufficient evidence to try them, suspects could be banned from associating with certain individuals or travelling to certain places, in order to disrupt trades such as human trafficking …

Last week senior Tories launched a new grouping, Conservative Liberty Forum, with the blessing of David Cameron, which will debate issues ranging from CCTV to anti-terror legislation, and advise his policy review on fresh ideas to promote liberty.

‘This will be one of the big issues for the next 10 years. It fits well with the new Conservative party and it’s rediscovering a lot of Conservative tradition,’ said Damian Green, the party’s immigration spokesman and one of the group’s supporters. ‘It’s a genuine divide between the parties: New Labour has now taken the view that if something serves the interests of the police and the security services, we should do it.’

Today, also writing in The Observer, leading Tory the Earl of Onslow writes an open letter to Cameron demanding his leader take a much more active role in defending what the peer describes as threatened British liberties.

In the exchange with Porter, Blair admits measures such as the antisocial behaviour laws have ‘disturbed the normal legal process’ but argues that previously police were not prosecuting over such crimes: ‘Where these powers are being used, the law-abiding no longer live in fear of the lawless.’

It is refreshing to hear Tories talk about civil liberties. That may be one good thing to come out of Blair’s new line.

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Written by Admin

April 25, 2006 at 5:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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