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September 23, 2006

Peter Hain on Liberty

So Peter Hain thinks that Nu Lab should pay more attention to liberty does he?

He calls for a "re-balancing" of its attitude to both social policy and law and order to give greater emphasis to the importance of freedom.

"We have been very tough on security and people want us to be," he says. "But we have to stress that we are a Government that is not about a big brother state; it is about individual liberties as well. We have to get the balance right.

"I don't think we have worked hard enough to say that if Labour is about anything it is about the fight for individual liberty."

Hey, great, all for it. So, get rid of ID cards, ASBOs, SOCPA, comtrol orders, reinstate double jeopardy, the presumption of innocence.....that's just a short list mind, but moving in hte right direction.


Ministers have also been accused of trying to create a nanny state with a series of policies such as the introduction of bans on smoking in public places and hunting with hounds. Mr Hain says the Government has tended to place too much emphasis on being tough rather than liberal in the way it presents policies.

So he doesn't in fact intend to do any of these things at all. Just to talk about them in a different way. How very New Labour.

September 23, 2006 in Politics | Permalink


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I'm disappointed that you put such a negative spin on Peter Hain's remarks, which seem to me to come as close as is permissible, for a Cabinet minister commenting critically on his colleagues' policies, to challenging the Blair/Reid/Clarke/Blunkett campaign to increase the power of the state and the security services at the expense of civil liberties and the independence of the judiciary. It's surely just as legitimate to read Hain's comments in a positive way, especially if you compare them with his interesting article in last Sunday's Observer (http://tinyurl.com/rex68), which I have tried to analyse (and welcome) in my own blog post at http://www.barder.com/ephems/577.

Since Peter Hain may well emerge as the most credible challenger of Gordon Brown for the leadership, it seems to me important to try to discover what are his real views on the civil liberties issue, and others. I hope I'm right in seeing both his Observer article and the Telegraph interview as a small-L liberal manifesto.


Posted by: BrianB | Sep 23, 2006 2:53:36 PM