Whilst it is understandable that people’s main concern in times of recession will be with their job and wealth (or lack of either) we should never drop our guard concerning our personal liberties.
Over the years there has been a tendency for Authority to increase the holding of data on its citizens whether DNA or ‘hard’ information. For them the most important goal has been to bring more and more citizens within their orbit. The more data they hold the greater they feel their hold will be on us all.
Once they are able to widen the scope they never look back arguing that it is in the interests of all its citizens that individuals should have less and less ‘secrets’. The DNA database held by the Police is a case in point. DNA is accepted as a legitimate piece of evidence in identifying individuals. Anyone who has been convicted of a crime might expect to be held on such a database since they are, fairly or otherwise, regarded as more likely suspects than the average citizen. However, DNA samples are taken from anyone arrested for an offence carrying a jail term and retained regardless of whether convicted or not?
Thousands of surveillance cameras capture our movements in most towns. Compulsory carrying of ID cards is threatened. Citizens can and are being arrested and held without trial. The checks and balances of the Judiciary is slowly being eroded by a ‘Big Brother’ State which seeks to be the sole arbiter of what liberty they will allow us.
And yet there are citizens prepared to speak out against the erosion of our personal liberties e.g. Ron Paul in the USA or David Davis in the UK. We may or may not agree with all of their larger agenda but on preserving personal liberty we are one. Whilst this preservation may not rank high in most voters priorities it is important that freedom-loving activists and groups offer that policy to the electorate. By doing so they remind people of its importance. Long fought for throughout history but always liable to be taken away in an instant. The biggest threat to liberty is not necessarily the bureaucrat who erodes our anonymity or ‘secrets’ but the politician of tomorrow who uses it against us before we can react. I hope that the NLP and others keep the preservation of personal liberties a priority.
Until that day may I wish, on behalf of the National Liberal Party, a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to one and all!
David Durant – National Secretary