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Do Britain's libel laws need reform?

10:09 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

Nick Clegg has given a wide ranging speech on civil liberties, claiming the government was on a "mission to restore British freedoms". Do British freedoms need reform?

Amongst other measures Mr Clegg has set out plans to reform Britain's libel laws branding the current system a "laughing stock".

His speech comes as ministers try to reach agreement over a replacement for control orders, which place a series of constraints on terror suspects.

Labour claims Mr Clegg is under pressure to deliver on Lib Dem manifesto pledges in this area and has criticised the coalition leadership for being more concerned with trying to hold the coalition together than national security.

How can civil liberties be promoted? Do anti-terror laws need reform? What could be a replacement for control orders?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    He does a lot of vowing, this Clegg bloke - am still waiting for one of them to happen though - empty words.

  • Comment number 4.

    Let people say what they want. Scrap all libel laws. I hate censorship. Who cares they are only words.

  • Comment number 5.

    Laughing stock about covers it.
    What we really need is some wide ranging support and reliable protection for the vast majority of the decent society in this country who trouble no one against the special care, support and excuses the law currently makes in perpetuity for the small minority bent on damaging and bringing down UK society.

  • Comment number 6.

    The first thing that needs to be done is to rid the UK of the European Human Rights Laws.

    But that wont ever happen.

  • Comment number 7.

    It isn't the freedoms that need reform, it's the responsibilities.

    Citizens need to be put under a set of responsibilities.

  • Comment number 8.

    I do consider that since 2001 the Labour Goverment went OTT with respect to civil liberties in the so called name of Terrorism. It has been a convenient means for Governmets the world over to interfere in the application of Civil Rights to the prejudice of their citizens. The worst offenders in the UK appear to be Local Authorities and Police Forces.

  • Comment number 9.

    " Civil Liberties" - does that equate to "human rights" ?
    I don't recall that there was ever any problem with individual freedom ("civil liberties" is a much better buzz word isn't it?)until we had the "human rights" act imposed on us - it seems to have caused more harm than good so to restore civil liberties - simply do away with the current human rights act which seems to protect the guilty at the expense of the innocent.

  • Comment number 10.

    Put simply yes more does need to be done to allow personal freedom and reign in the Nanny State.

    So-called anti-terror laws in fact any laws that are put in place to allow the state to pry into ordinary peoples lives must be not only repealed but smashed.

  • Comment number 11.

    How can civil liberties be promoted? Get rid of the Human Rights Act and Europe's interference in UK matters.

    Do anti-terror laws need reform? Yes, strengthen them.

    What could be a replacement for control orders? Jail or expulsion.

    The UK is a laughing stock around the world. We give succour to terrorists and allow people who want to kill UK citizens to live in our country AND give them money. What the ?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Am I alone in thinking that individual civil rights have gone too far.

    The other day we heard a celebrity talk about the universal right to information. No one batted an eyelid. I might be wrong, but I have read the universal declaration of human rights and I do not recall the right to information. And therein lies the problem, a lot of these "rights" seem to be invented on the spot.

    Like it or not, all individual rights come at a cost to the rights of the state. As we get more rights as individuals, the state loses power. Some will say that that is a good thing and I agree to a point. However, in a democratic country the state exercises its power for the good of its citizens and so the less power the state has, the less able the state is to fight for the COLLECTIVE rights of its citizens.

    We need balance.

  • Comment number 14.

    Another report, a job for a political mate or family member.
    A bit of tinkering but nothing will happen.

  • Comment number 15.

    Libel actions, when we look at them in perspective, are an ornament of a civilized society. They have replaced, after all, at least in most cases, a resort to weapons in defence of a reputation.

  • Comment number 16.

    Nick clegg advocated an end to prohibition in his election manifesto and david cameron asked to end prohibition when he started in politics.

    So whens it going to happen? It is a gross violation of mine, and everyone elses, civil liberties.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    We should restore freedom of speech, a bedrock of British liberty and kick out the mohammedan sharia blasphemy laws which have been introduced by stealth in the guise of so called "hate speech" offences.

  • Comment number 19.

    4. At 11:47am on 07 Jan 2011, LabLibConsAreCROOKS wrote:
    Let people say what they want. Scrap all libel laws. I hate censorship. Who cares they are only words.

    -----------------

    So you'd be happy if someone with a grudge started accusing you of being a paedohile in public? The subsequent publicity and vilification wouldn't bother you at all?
    I'm pretty thick-skinned, but I wouldn't put up with that.

  • Comment number 20.

    A liar reforming the UK's libel laws?

    That should be good...

  • Comment number 21.

    "Do British freedoms need reform?"

    No, they need to be restored as they were before Tony "Satantic" Blair got into power.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    A very simple question not only for Mr Clegg but also Ms May and Ken Clark.

    Do the victims of crime have any civil rights?

  • Comment number 24.

    I think there needs to be a change in perception - most of the areas of jurisdiction involved should be labelled 'human privileges' not 'human rights' or 'civil liberties'.

    All members of our society should enjoy these freedoms by default at first but be aware that they are privileges which can be removed if they act in a manner which is (in the views of an impartial court, not a politician) deleterious to society. Once removed, the offender can the no longer hide behind 'rights' that they think they deserve simply for being alive.

    So, for example, everyone is free to speak however they like about any aspect of our society. If harm is provably caused by falsehoods within that speech then they can have their right to speak removed, temporarily or permanently. Thus a scientist debunking an unproven 'alternative medicine' technique retain his freedom of speech until the technique is properly proven whereas a preacher of hatred (al-quaeda supporting muslim cleric or BNP MP, both are the same in my view) who is decided by a court to have caused harm can be silenced.

    Similarly, innocent members of society preserve the right not to be continuously observed by CCTV or have their e-mails read but individuals who have been shown to be a danger to society lose the privilege of privacy.

  • Comment number 25.

    12. At 12:08pm on 07 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:
    What's needed is for the indigenous Britain to have the freedom of speech to say what troubles them without the fear of being labelled a racist or troublemaker. We also need to get our sovereignty back from the clutches of Brussells, that means a referendum on the EU. The country is in a mess caused by weak politicians who don't listen to the populace, they just carry on with their own agenda continually getting Britain into an ever deeper mess. We don't want the unskilled rubbish from the whole of Europe coming to our shores we have enough of our own rubbish, that's freedom of speech, that's a concern of most of the British population (unless of course you're one of the I'm all right brigade). I should be able to say to an immigrant whinger, if you don't like it here, bugger off, we don't want you either. That, as a true Britain, and one that would defend his country is what I should be able to say without fear of prosecution or dumping by an unpatriotic BBC moderator, that is what defence of your country is all about, keeping your values and not allowing invasion by others.

    --------------------------------

    I agree. But me thinks you are going to get slated for that comment.

  • Comment number 26.

    I find myself in complete agreement with post #11.

    With the addition of support for victims rather than criminals. The number of organisations supporting criminals is at least 10 times the number supporting victims.

    Criminals have basically chosen to behave in a manner outside of the law. This is their choice, they shouldbe punished not pampered or able to always fall back on humanrights legislation.

    I cannot believe how right wing this debate makes me feel.

  • Comment number 27.

    The Libel Laws have been used by unscrupulous Lawyers in the same way as this crap about 'no win no claim' disease that's gripped those who want to make a fast buck out of their own 'stupidity. The other thing we need to sort out is the 'abuse' by some Lawyers of the Human Rights Act which they use to overturn our own Sovereign Law time and time again. British Law has always been Sovereign in Britain, why do we have to bow down to these idiots in Europe and let them 'dictate' to us what is right and wrong?
    So my vote goes to any Government who wants to sort out these 'abuses' and restore common sense and get rid of these so-called Lawyers who want to make a fast buck by enticing people into making claims when anyone with an element of common sense could see it was the 'claimants' own stupid fault that got them into trouble. AND stop this winging to make money from what someone has said, most of the time which is probably 'true' but they just don't like to 'hear' or 'read' it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Clegg's right about the libel laws.

    Regarding civil liberties/human rights - that all needs massive reform.

    There have been too many cases where foreigners foreigners who have done a lot of harm here already and are planning or likely to do more, have run rings round the legal system.

    Often it seems they can stay, or retain their UK citizenship because making them homeless, or interfering with their family rights, or sending them home, where they face problems with the authorities, would 'interfere with their human rights'.

    This is what needs re-examining. We seem to be over-concerned with the rights of foreigners, under-concerned with the rights of the native majority.

    Britain should have legislation which means that it can expel anyone it wishes to, if that person has committed or is likely to commit serious crime or terrrorism, or be a drain on resources.

    As things stand, the law seems to be totally skewed towards protecting the undeserving, and allowing asylum seekers etc to stay, but have very little to offer the vast majority of people.

  • Comment number 29.

    In all honesty, I think this is long overdue and am surprised that Nick Clegg of all people has suggested it, although I doubt we would see this from the same angle.

    I honestly think that civil liberties need restricting rather than loosening; if there is one thing that history has shown us, it is that when you allow people to do whatever they want it generally leads to ruin, and the introduction of the Human Rights Act, honourable an intention though it was, has simply provided a shield behind which criminal intent can hide.

    For example, "Freedom of Speech" is a wonderful concept that allows anyone to voice an opinion without fear of retribution, but this is on the basis that whatever is being said has a purpose and structured viewpoint that the author wishes to be heard - the existence of such a concept provides the foundation upon which structured debate can be built. But when we have elements who stand and publicly spout nothing but hatred and contempt for others, then the freedom of speech concept has been contorted and devalued into being simply a means of allowing them to continue doing so. The wonderful idea of freedom of speech is not designed to give validity to the statement "because I can".

    The only way that we can ever live in a free world is when everyone in it agrees to live by a set of standards and rules, otherwise the strong will always trample the weak to get what they want, or the devious will find ways of using the system to defend themselves in their actions.

    People need to know that a line exists, and more importantly where it is. Like it or not, it is a paradox of our existence - "Without law there is no freedom".

  • Comment number 30.

    Libel is a game played by the rich, famous and well-connected and barely impacts at all on ordinary people.

    How about protecting the rights of ordinary people to protest against their government without the threat of being physically assaulted by the police?

    How about the rights of protesters to disperse and not be penned in like sheep, denied access to water, food and basic facilities, then compulsorily photographed despite not committing a criminal act?

    How about removing stop and search which has failed to result in a single arrest despite 100,000 interventions?

    How about tearing down some of the hundreds of thousands of CCTV cameras that spy on us at every turn?

  • Comment number 31.

    In this area I have nothing but praise for the coalition and can forgive all their other shortcomings if this one area is dealt with expediently.
    The erosion of our civil liberties under labour was the single most horrendous activity of any government this country has ever known.. in my opinion.... And is the reason why I would never vote labour again.
    As for the human rights act and the E.U in general, GREAT! bring it on.
    If it wasn't for the ameliorating effect of these keeping them in check then labour could well have rescinded many more of our liberties!

  • Comment number 32.

    This really is desparate. Yes, our civil liberties need looking at. That's a bit of a no brainer really, but within a month of the head of the met calling for consideration of a ban on further student protest marches, and the current 'terror threat' level being upped to 'severe' what hope is there of any tangible reform?

    This is so obviously a case of Cleggy trying to make the coalition look like they give a damn about such things.

  • Comment number 33.

    Mr Clegg has called for reform of house arrest-style system, but offers no alternative. I too can call for anything, as long as no one asks me for al alternative.
    Likewise for libel in the internet age: Wow, I'll bet Mr. Clegg has no idea how to do that! He said a forthcoming draft libel bill would propose a statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest, "whether they be big broadcasters or the humble blogger".
    Get ready, speakers-for-the-public-good, your time may have come...Oh, wait a second, you live in a democracy; so, your time should have come already.
    The Liberal Democrats made a pledge to scrap "control orders", but again there is no alternative offered, though I think the alternative is to treat "Ali", like Joe Smith. Control orders are mean, unfair, and generate from no legal conviction. 'Nough said! In enlightened socities these should be gone.
    "It is a farce - and an international embarrassment - that the American Government has felt it necessary to legislate to protect their citizens from our libel laws." Really? Give me the facts, and I will likely disgaree with you. Listen to American pundits for five minutes, and you will know what I mean.
    Distance yourselves from the United States where they are busy eroding the Constitution, civil liberties, runing up an unsustainable debt, and building internment camps for their own citizens.

  • Comment number 34.

    Make your mind up. The HYS front page says "Do Britain's civil liberties need reform?" yet above it says "Do Britain's libel laws need reform?".

    Sloppy!

    I will deal with the first question - solicitors could answer the second but would want a fee.

    There is far too much control, snooping and vindictiveness aimed at innocent Joe Public.

    There is far too little when it comes to extremists, terrorists, criminals, bankers and MPs/MEPs!

  • Comment number 35.

    We need to be free of the shackles of the EU. This has the biggest impact on our freedoms to govern ourselves and decide upon policies that directly affect us. Why we keep funding the bloated, corrupt bureaucratic monster that is Brussels staggers me!!
    Clegg is proving to be an inept and embarrassing sidekick to Cameron, showing a great deal of political naivety in the face of some very serious political issues (after a promising start). His stance on control orders, in the face of very serious criticism from experienced and knowledgeable experts, shows immaturity of the highest order.
    Cameron needs to free himself from this buffoon as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 36.

    #12 Toothpick Harry

    An excellent post which echoes the opinion of 95% of the population!

  • Comment number 37.

    The time is right for a BRITISH bill of human rights or constitution so that we can remove ourselves from the European Bill of Human Rights which is in cloud cuckoo land. This will stop many free loaders and charlatans in and others coming to our country to abuse our legal system , assisted by many in legal system who sell themselves to the highest bidder (they have a name in the sex industry)

  • Comment number 38.

    For sure our civil liberties took a beating under Bliar.
    Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, all that malarky with the ID cards and the underlying 'super' database, the removal of innocent until proven guilty for some offences, removal of right to trial by jury. The list is long and I for one would love to see all the nasty little laws put in place by that nasty little lair repealed.

  • Comment number 39.

    Saw an interesting post yesterday asking why the LibDems do not appeared worried about the civil liberties of people who have had their phones hacked into by journalists including our 'dangerous' Royal family. The LibDems in govt are amazingly quiet on this issue. Are they afraid to speak out against the powerful forces that sanctioned this? Also the civil liberties of peaceful student protestors from being kettled.

    Why are these issues not being raised by the LibDems?

  • Comment number 40.

    Nick Clegg can say what he likes.

    Politicians gave our freedom to Brussels who now make all the decisions, not Clegg & his cronies.

  • Comment number 41.

    18. At 12:23pm on 07 Jan 2011, varnayfan wrote:
    'We should restore freedom of speech, a bedrock of British liberty and kick out the mohammedan sharia blasphemy laws which have been introduced by stealth in the guise of so called "hate speech" offences.'
    ----------
    I've actually read the legislation. It is not "mohammedan" as it applies to people inciting hate against ANY religion.

    I am wondering quite why you want to incite hate against followers of a religion. You might want to examine that!

  • Comment number 42.

    The problem really is that the (socialist?)Labour government loved to control people just as they do in Communist states and used the terrorism laws to introduce controls. Certainly these need to be removed.

    Care is required if we want to do away with the EU Human Rights Directive in the UK, but the UK Human Rights Act may need to be reviewed.

    The real problem is/was the use of centrally held databases.

    However, we do need to have adequate provisions to prevent Identity Theft.

    Libel laws, blasphemy laws etc. do have the risk that they can be misused or abused and it is important to demonstrate that genuine damage has been done.

    It is very easy to take offence at nothing - just because my pride has been hurt! When Peter came to Jesus and said: *How many time should I forgive my brother if he offends me - seven times?" Jesus said: "No seventy times seven." or more simply: "why bother? Just don't take offence!"

  • Comment number 43.

    It would be nice to think that politicians are loooking carefully at balancing the need for the security of all of us against the rights of minorities about whom there may be suspicions, but little or no evidence. I doubt any politician wishes to be blamed - by people & media whose short-termism is legendary - for failing to protect people adequantely against terrorist threats: and as far as I can tell, the number of people whose lives may have been disrupted as a result of existing anti-terror legislation seems small. I suspect that only the security & police services who have some idea of the real terrorist threat facing us know whether that deprivation of civil liberty is worth it. It's also worth remembering that what suspects suffer in such circumstances is significantly less than those who were killed or maimed (physically & mentally) by the 7/7 attacks.
    On the other hand, I worry greatly about those who believe we should scrap UK's adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights. If we aren't prepared to live up to a standard like that, we are at risk of allowing our rights and freedoms to deteriorate to the sort of level seen in many parts of the world where life is cheap & freedom of expression tends to land you in gaol or dead.

  • Comment number 44.

    23. At 12:34pm on 07 Jan 2011, amp46 wrote:
    "A very simple question not only for Mr Clegg but also Ms May and Ken Clark.
    Do the victims of crime have any civil rights?"
    ----------
    Since you seem to not know, the answer is yes. If you or your property get damaged in a crime, you can use the civil courts to pursue a claim for damages.

  • Comment number 45.

    I don't believe it! A Lib Dem speaks sense!

    Let's hope the humanitarian disaster that our country suffered at the hands of Zanu Labour for 13 years is undone completely by the coalition government.

    Terrorism helped Zanu Labour control the population and deny us our freedoms. Indeed, many of Zanu Labour's dictators are now multi-millionaires thanks to the level of fear that they instilled in us and used that fear to extort money out of us.

    The simple principles of "innocent until proven guilty", freedom of speech and a right to a fair trial should never, ever be discarded. Not for anything.

    We have been beaten into submission by 13 years of Zanu Labour and are now too politically correct and too scared to speak our mind for fear of upsetting someone or being sued.

    The right to free speech outweighs the right not to be offended. End of.

  • Comment number 46.

    What's needed is for the indigenous Britain to have the freedom of speech to say what troubles them without the fear of being labelled a racist or troublemaker. We also need to get our sovereignty back from the clutches of Brussells, that means a referendum on the EU. The country is in a mess caused by weak politicians who don't listen to the populace, they just carry on with their own agenda continually getting Britain into an ever deeper mess. We don't want the unskilled rubbish from the whole of Europe coming to our shores we have enough of our own rubbish, that's freedom of speech, that's a concern of most of the British population (unless of course you're one of the I'm all right brigade). I should be able to say to an immigrant whinger, if you don't like it here, bugger off, we don't want you either. That, as a true Britain, and one that would defend his country is what I should be able to say without fear of prosecution or dumping by an unpatriotic BBC moderator, that is what defence of your country is all about, keeping your values and not allowing invasion by others.

    ------------
    I presume for "indigenous" we can read white?

    Personally I am very glad that my own grandfather was permitted to stay in the UK and not told "bugger off we don't want you" as he would undoubtedly have ended up in a concentration camp with the rest of his family! Incidentally he went on to serve gallantly in the UK armed forces in WW 1 and 2

    Personally I am proud to be a citizen of a country that doesn't tell people to "bugger off we don't want you" and doesn't whinge on about "indigenous" rights!

    However,one of the things about freedom of speech is any tom jack or racist is free to air his wit and wisdom!

  • Comment number 47.

    26. At 12:39pm on 07 Jan 2011, TechieJim wrote:
    "Criminals have basically chosen to behave in a manner outside of the law. This is their choice, they shouldbe punished not pampered or able to always fall back on humanrights legislation."
    -----
    But they are not "able to always fall back on humanrights legislation". That's absolutely not the case at all. You cannot provide evidence to substantiate that.

  • Comment number 48.

    get rid of 'uman rights' luggage that protects terrorists at the expenses on the safety of uk citizens!

    get rid of any sharia law based legislation

    keep and strengthen control orders

  • Comment number 49.

    Britain's basic civil liberties and natural justice need to be restored as quickly as possible. These are the most fundamental requirements for our societiy's health, happiness and moral integrity.

    On a related point we must reform litigation so as to restore responsibility to individuals. We are in danger of losing the freedom to do many things due to others' fear that we will sue if something goes wrong even when the responsibility lies with ourselves. Health and safety legislation should not be used to imprison us but to ensure all take on their due responsibilities.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course they need reforming.

    Civil liberties for the victims of crime are practically non-existant - whereas the criminal is extremely well cared for.

    The story of the failed asylum seeker, banned from driving who runs down a young girl & kills her, drives off, commits burglariy & is allowed to stay in the country in order to protect his civil rights because he fathered a child in the UK, is a case in point.
    It shows that there needs to be a radical change - otherwise Joe public will be pushed to the extreme right, because they understabd the frustration of the average law abiding citizen & will use this for their own ends.

    The whole system needs changing - it's not a laughing matter - it's a crying matter.

  • Comment number 52.

    Our legal system would be much clearer if it were more firmly-rooted. We need a written Constitution and a proper Bill of Human Rights, instead of our reliance on precedence, and second-hand legislation from the European Union?

  • Comment number 53.

    36. At 12:53pm on 07 Jan 2011, chiptheduck wrote:
    "#12 Toothpick Harry
    An excellent post which echoes the opinion of 95% of the population!"
    ----------
    How strange that UNDER 5% of the adult population chooses to vote for policies like this.

    That's right. You've just confused 5% and 95%. Bravo!

  • Comment number 54.

    Civil liberties and free speech should be restored rather than reformed but it will not and cannot happen. The power of the state and it's ever increasing involvement in the daily lives of people has become a self sustaining juggernaut. Until citizens collectively reject what they have failed to do over the past 60 years it will be more of the same. Tragic but true.

  • Comment number 55.

    Yes,British libel laws should be changed. Currently they are used to silence valid comments that are in the public interest, e.g. to gag scientists who want to expose nonsensical medical theories such as homeopathy. The threat of expensive libel actions is used to stifle potential whistle-blowers who would otherwise reveal ineptitude and corruption in many areas. In their present form these laws are a crooks’ charter.

  • Comment number 56.

    I concur with comment 46.

  • Comment number 57.

    Yes, of course the erosion of our Civil Liberties needs looking at, the situation is a shambles, but I'd suggest Nick Clegg draws up a list of priorities.

    There are an awful lot of things wrong with this country right now, but I think Civil Liberties reform can wait until we get some of the more pressing issues sorted.

  • Comment number 58.

    48. At 1:06pm on 07 Jan 2011, locust wrote:
    get rid of 'uman rights' luggage that protects terrorists at the expenses on the safety of uk citizens!

    get rid of any sharia law based legislation

    keep and strengthen control orders

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What "...sharia law based legislation..." would that be?

  • Comment number 59.

    I find it a joke that Clegg should be championing civil liberties.

    Surely part of those liberties is knowing that when you vote for a party based on their election party that they will uphold those pledges otherwise how is due process (that term they like to be us around the head with when we get unruly) supposed to work?

    In this country the only people who seem to have civil liberties are those who can afford to pay for them to be upheld and those criminals and terrorists who blight this country.

    Personally I think it is wrong that as country we are forced to give safe refuge to a known terrorist on the grounds that we cannot deport them because they themselves may be killed. Tough!

    As for human rights when does one person’s human right become an infringement of another person’s human rights?

    Again I believe that anyone who infringes another person’s human right should forfeit their own human rights and be treated accordingly.

    However I suspect that whatever legislation is introduced it will only weaken the common person’s civil liberties still further and I certainly would not trust Cameron and his puppet Clegg to do anything for us.

  • Comment number 60.

    Yes...most traditional British qualities need restoring...our freedoms, our tolerance, our kindness, our gung-ho attitude in the face of adversity. They all seem to been replaced by constant whingeing, xenophobia, ignorance and meanspiritedness...with exceptions of course. Here's hoping we can start to go back to who we were, and who some of us still try to be.

  • Comment number 61.

    48. At 1:06pm on 07 Jan 2011, locust wrote:
    "get rid of any sharia law based legislation"
    ----------
    It's SO telling that you think there is any. Hard evidence, such as the law itself, shows that there is not.

    Perhaps you would like to share your evidence? Or you can just resort to playground insult as you often do when your claims are shown to be hollow.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes they do. Some of our freedoms are being taken away from us, with the promise of greater security from the likes of terrorism and rogue states. I think we need greater security from the likes of the state, America and large multinational corporations.

    The first thing I would like to see is the Digital Economy Act repealed with immediate effect.

    I am a patent holder, but patent and associated law needs reform to bring it out of the 18th Century, and into the 21st. What else? IR35.. Retrospective elements of section 58, Finance Act 2008... There are plenty of blunders from the last government that need to be sorted out.

    "Your Freedom" (google it) was designed to tell the ConDems exactly what we wanted repealed. I do hope they listen and do what they said they would do. Mr Clegg has surprised me so far, in that the coalition is still here. Long may that continue, but only if they can get this stuff done.

  • Comment number 63.

    You have the right to remain silent, but doing so will harm your defence. Anything you do say will recorded be used against you. Whichever you choose you lose.

  • Comment number 64.

    51. At 1:13pm on 07 Jan 2011, DPStL wrote:

    Of course they need reforming.

    Civil liberties for the victims of crime are practically non-existant - whereas the criminal is extremely well cared for.

    The story of the failed asylum seeker, banned from driving who runs down a young girl & kills her, drives off, commits burglariy & is allowed to stay in the country in order to protect his civil rights because he fathered a child in the UK, is a case in point.
    It shows that there needs to be a radical change - otherwise Joe public will be pushed to the extreme right, because they understabd the frustration of the average law abiding citizen & will use this for their own ends.

    The whole system needs changing - it's not a laughing matter - it's a crying matter.
    ------------------------------------------
    Bonkers!

  • Comment number 65.

    48. At 1:06pm on 07 Jan 2011, locust wrote:

    get rid of 'uman rights' luggage that protects terrorists at the expenses on the safety of uk citizens!

    get rid of any sharia law based legislation

    keep and strengthen control orders
    -----------------------------------------
    Bonkers!

  • Comment number 66.

    We have too many rights and not enough responsibilities.
    I do not want any more freedoms and I do not want any more freedom to be given to terror suspects either.
    Having done a fair bit of travelling I know what restrictions a country can place on its citizens if it has the chance. We should not complain about our liberty, we should celebrate it.

  • Comment number 67.

    13. At 12:12pm on 07 Jan 2011, Meglamaniacs Anonymous wrote:
    Am I alone in thinking that individual civil rights have gone too far.

    The other day we heard a celebrity talk about the universal right to information. No one batted an eyelid. I might be wrong, but I have read the universal declaration of human rights and I do not recall the right to information. And therein lies the problem, a lot of these "rights" seem to be invented on the spot.

    Like it or not, all individual rights come at a cost to the rights of the state. As we get more rights as individuals, the state loses power. Some will say that that is a good thing and I agree to a point. However, in a democratic country the state exercises its power for the good of its citizens and so the less power the state has, the less able the state is to fight for the COLLECTIVE rights of its citizens.

    We need balance.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I agree entirly with the above comment, and it's probably one of the most balanced well thought-out comments on this message board. There are too many people with far left or far right views on HYS...in my opinion something in the middle is best.

    The fact is, unless we want to live in complete anarchy, society needs rules, regulations and laws. To that extent we will NEVER be completely 'free'...BUT a balance must be maintained where the states power does not negatively impact on the majority of the law-abiding population.

    One thing I actually find quite amusing is that in actual fact the state interferes in the publics lives far less then it did 50/100/200 years ago. We most certainly, without a doubt, more able to very publicly speak our minds now then we were 100 or more years ago. Society has also become FAR more tolerant of people's views and opinions. We can take part in debates such as this where anyone can slag off the government or a politician, even the monarchy, without fear of reprisal...within reason of course. Proof of this is the existance of BBC's HYS message board.

  • Comment number 68.

    Firstly ditch the human rights legislation and secondly the health & safety executive. We are adults, we should be treated like them and be responsible for our own actions.

    Replace court orders with prison, yes that does mean building more prisons. I am happy to pay if thats where offenders are put.

    Anyone in the UK without a valid visa should be immiedately deported to a european country on the North Sea coast. All aslyum applications should be made at the consulate of the first country they get to.

    Include in all prison sentences a duty to serve the community by clearing the streets or another such task which our councils have failed to do.

  • Comment number 69.

    51. At 1:13pm on 07 Jan 2011, DPStL wrote:
    "Of course they need reforming.
    Civil liberties for the victims of crime are practically non-existant - whereas the criminal is extremely well cared for."
    ----------
    You're talking spaghetti. You're comparing civil liberties (even reduced ones!) such as the right to free association with being locked up in a cell and deciding that three men in a single cell equals "extremely well cared for".

    Bonkers.

    If you really believe this, why are you not planning a bank robbery?

  • Comment number 70.


    What is a libel law? I bet it is something you made up just yesterday. you must ask your own avatar if you need a reform.I cant do all the job here can I?

  • Comment number 71.

    11. At 12:04pm on 07 Jan 2011, Waylander wrote:

    How can civil liberties be promoted? Get rid of the Human Rights Act and Europe's interference in UK matters.

    Do anti-terror laws need reform? Yes, strengthen them.

    What could be a replacement for control orders? Jail or expulsion.

    The UK is a laughing stock around the world. We give succour to terrorists and allow people who want to kill UK citizens to live in our country AND give them money. What the ?


    So you want to given the government the right to jail you for life or expel you at will without trial, without you even being told what you are accussed of and with no right of appeal, you should be careful, you may just get what you wish for.

  • Comment number 72.

    Change the libel laws? will that mean we can actually say what we think on HYS without being blocked. Yipee.

    Seriously why would anyone be offended by words. At the end of the day they are just words. Some ones opinion.

    I agree they shouldnt be threatening or personal however expressing your opinion should be okay without censor.

  • Comment number 73.

    25. At 12:38pm on 07 Jan 2011, LabLibConsAreCROOKS wrote:
    12. At 12:08pm on 07 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:
    What's needed is for the indigenous Britain to have the freedom of speech to say what troubles them without the fear of being labelled a racist or troublemaker. We also need to get our sovereignty back from the clutches of Brussells, that means a referendum on the EU. The country is in a mess caused by weak politicians who don't listen to the populace, they just carry on with their own agenda continually getting Britain into an ever deeper mess. We don't want the unskilled rubbish from the whole of Europe coming to our shores we have enough of our own rubbish, that's freedom of speech, that's a concern of most of the British population (unless of course you're one of the I'm all right brigade). I should be able to say to an immigrant whinger, if you don't like it here, bugger off, we don't want you either. That, as a true Britain, and one that would defend his country is what I should be able to say without fear of prosecution or dumping by an unpatriotic BBC moderator, that is what defence of your country is all about, keeping your values and not allowing invasion by others.

    --------------------------------

    I agree. But me thinks you are going to get slated for that comment.

    Indeed he/she is being slated...and rightly so. There are unskilled immigrants of course...but there are more unskilled and whingeing natives I'm afraid. What is a native for that matter, and who could say their ancestors were definitively not invaders or immigrants? Should all the the "British" people who are now invaders/immigrants in other lands be forced to come back here if we send everyone home...and if we just stop any new immigrants, should we also accept that other countries may say they dont want us? What happens when we realise we dont have enough indigenous clever people to provide enough doctors, scientists, engineers etc? What happens when we discover that our indigenous population refuses to pick the vegetables, clean the drains etc? (at least a wage most of us could afford to pay without endless tea breaks anyway!. I have a whole load more Qs that could be asked about the sort of unpleasant person the poster may be...but for now I would be really interested if LabLibConsAreCROOKS and Toothpick Harry answered these ones...

  • Comment number 74.

    6. At 11:52am on 07 Jan 2011, HaveIGotThatWrong wrote:
    The first thing that needs to be done is to rid the UK of the European Human Rights Laws.

    But that wont ever happen.
    __________________________________________________________________
    Of COURSE that won't happen - why would it? The ECHR was basically drafted by David Maxwell-Fyffe (subsquently Lord Chancellor) and incorporates ONLY British common law principles. We foisted them on the rest of Europe, not the other way around.

    Why on earth would we get rid of them? You and your ancestors have enjoyed these freedoms for hundreds of years - why do you want to reduce state interference in your life?

    Or is it that you simply don't understand what the ECHR and HRA are and how the affect you?

  • Comment number 75.

    33. At 12:49pm on 07 Jan 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Mr Clegg has called for reform of house arrest-style system, but offers no alternative. I too can call for anything, as long as no one asks me for al alternative.

    There's already an alternative, its called arrest followed by trial followed by imprisonment or deportation (for non British Citizens) for those found guilty.
    Contol orders cut out the arrest and trial & deportation parts but leave the imprisonment part.
    It doesn't apply to some mysterious group identfiable as "terrorist" either, control orders can be applied to anyone in the UK and that means you.

  • Comment number 76.

    Libel laws or civil liberties? What is this HYS meant to be about?

    Either way there are plenty of bonkers posts.

  • Comment number 77.

    We all have to live during the period of history starting from when we are born.

    Change is painful.

    If we want to create a better society and greater freedom and happiness for all then we need to change (i.e. we are not the finished product!)

    For our children to have a better "tomorrow", we must give our "today" (fortunately today this means we must accommodate social change, previously it meant we had to sacrafice ourselves on the battlefield)

    The upshot is, if we can squeeze out the wrongs of society today (however painful it may be) then tomorrow our children won't have to suffer as we are. If we fail, or are to weak and corrupt to tolerate short-term social change, then our children will have to cover for us.

    I will feel pretty sick if I leave my children social issues that I (or WE) should have addressed on our watch....... but failed to rise to the occassion!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    Yes is my answer. However, on many issues recently (the immigration cap comes to mind) the Government says they will do this or that and then some court, either UK or EU based, says what ever it is, is not allowed! So my question is (and I would really appreciate an answer to this)

    Who runs this country? I really do not know.
    Is it the parish councils, the local councils, the regional authorities, the UK Goverment or the EU? I really am not sure how many layers of Governance there are and why they are needed, but it seems that any Judge, any where at any time can overrule all of them, so what difference does it make what Nick Clegg wants to do.

    Roll on the revolution.

  • Comment number 79.

    Do Britain's libel laws need reform? People need more freedom all over this Earth.

    Sadly BBC is looks like every government is for sell even Great Britain.

    It's people to it's government (to have what they need to exist) and it's government to other governments, again to simply exist.

  • Comment number 80.

    Yes they do need sorting out we as a people have lost so many liberties under the last governbent it should be criminal.

    I'd like the right to religious belief to be set in stone but i'm afraid in 2011 UK Some members of society are being unfairly persecuted and risk being imprisoned.

  • Comment number 81.

    Do British freedoms need reform?

    Britains freedoms need constant protection from inadequate jobsworths.

  • Comment number 82.

    At 12:08pm on 07 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:
    What's needed is for the indigenous Britain to have the freedom of speech to say what troubles them without the fear of being labelled a racist or troublemaker. We also need to get our sovereignty back from the clutches of Brussells, that means a referendum on the EU. The country is in a mess caused by weak politicians who don't listen to the populace, they just carry on with their own agenda continually getting Britain into an ever deeper mess. We don't want the unskilled rubbish from the whole of Europe coming to our shores we have enough of our own rubbish, that's freedom of speech, that's a concern of most of the British population (unless of course you're one of the I'm all right brigade). I should be able to say to an immigrant whinger, if you don't like it here, bugger off, we don't want you either. That, as a true Britain, and one that would defend his country is what I should be able to say without fear of prosecution or dumping by an unpatriotic BBC moderator, that is what defence of your country is all about, keeping your values and not allowing invasion by others.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Mr Toothpick, well said.
    Your comments are in line with the MAJORITY of people who are from the UK.
    The London Champagne Socialist elite and juvenile Trots dont like this as this is a little to close to US demonstrating OUR democratic right.
    I for one, am sick to the teeth with the UK and its people being taken for fools (although by reading many on this HYS maybe they have a point)

  • Comment number 83.

    48. At 1:06pm on 07 Jan 2011, locust wrote:
    get rid of 'uman rights' luggage that protects terrorists at the expenses on the safety of uk citizens!

    get rid of any sharia law based legislation

    keep and strengthen control orders
    -----------

    .When have you read and understood sharia? if it is true you understood your avatar must be cool. Could we exchange for a moment? Mine sucks. I have lots of complaints about me avatar and I dont know which court to apply. so i would like to make an exchange with somebody else's avatar. I dont know if those fit like shoes but it worths a try. wanna change?

  • Comment number 84.

    Mr Clegg should know all about the law, it is a rich man's plaything after all, but does he know how to keep a promise? I think not, and that immediately relegates him to a person who opens their mouth, says something, and romances about what people heard him say.

    The banking system needs reform Mr Clegg. Do something about it.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    In my view one of the greatest freedoms lost is the ability to freely criticise the Organised Religions with out the fear of the thought Police knocking on your door. In my view we are now a Nation living in fear from constant religious oppression, much of it connived at by the establishment who seem prepared to accept any doctrine, without consideration of its merits and who also appear to have embarked on a campaign against the non religious that amounts to a hate crime. We also need a massive enhancement of the Freedom of Information Act. Apart from matters relating to the security services and business competition there is almost nothing that could not be in the public domain and it would restore confidence and credibility to the House of Commons, which, seems to me to be far more in need of reform than the Lords.

  • Comment number 87.

    Where in this speech was the substance. I gather the current state is an embarrassment (his words)

    What then are we going to do about it. Guess we have to wait for that.

    Useless man lart-leading a useless administration.

    I dont want Labour but these are proving more wishy washy than we deserve

  • Comment number 88.

    40. At 12:58pm on 07 Jan 2011, chiptheduck wrote:
    Nick Clegg can say what he likes.
    Politicians gave our freedom to Brussels who now make all the decisions, not Clegg & his cronies.
    ____________________________________
    Complete rubbish, and you know it.

  • Comment number 89.

    If the Fib-Con coalition were serious about civil liberties they would end the legislative and policy war against fat people, something which has no place whatsoever in a modern liberal democracy that is otherwise reasonably tolerant of human variation. In particular, the potential for the future misuse of the National Child Measuring Program (classroom weigh-ins which the Coalition want to make compulsory and extend to an annual basis) and National Obesity Register (the largest such database on Earth) means that both should be abolished as recommended in 2009 by the Rowntree Foundation. In practice they have not only pledged in their Public Health and forthcoming Obesity White Papers to increase funding for what is a bizarre and misplaced priority in a time of economic restraint, but also to transfer much of the responsibility for policing weight away from the NHS (which presently can at worst deny care to fat people) to local authorities with their ability to mandate compliance through fines, intrusion into family life and other draconian sanctions.

  • Comment number 90.

    There's nothing wrong with human rights legislation, it's money grubbing solicitors and silly judges who cause the problems and they will cause the problems with or without the human rights act.

  • Comment number 91.

    We need to restore the independence and integrity of the English legal system, that is a reflection of our own unique history and has served us well over the years. The incorporation of the European Human Rights Act into our law and legislative process was a major error and has had the effect in many cases of creating a form of anarchy in which lawyers, instead of justice, are the main beneficiaries. English law is based on the idea of telling people what they CANNOT do, whereas European law is based on telling people what they CAN do, which is why the Human Rights Act is important to Europe but not us. The sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament, that has so meekly been surrendered by the political classes to the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, must be restored. Nick Clegg can rant on as much as he likes, but until we recover our sovereignty in this way, the changes he is talking about lie within the EU remit and are no longer within the power of Westminster to deliver.

  • Comment number 92.

    82. At 1:44pm on 07 Jan 2011, AuntieLeft wrote:
    At 12:08pm on 07 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:
    What's needed is for the indigenous Britain to have the freedom of speech to say what troubles them without the fear of being labelled a racist or troublemaker. We also need to get our sovereignty back from the clutches of Brussells, that means a referendum on the EU. The country is in a mess caused by weak politicians who don't listen to the populace, they just carry on with their own agenda continually getting Britain into an ever deeper mess. We don't want the unskilled rubbish from the whole of Europe coming to our shores we have enough of our own rubbish, that's freedom of speech, that's a concern of most of the British population (unless of course you're one of the I'm all right brigade). I should be able to say to an immigrant whinger, if you don't like it here, bugger off, we don't want you either. That, as a true Britain, and one that would defend his country is what I should be able to say without fear of prosecution or dumping by an unpatriotic BBC moderator, that is what defence of your country is all about, keeping your values and not allowing invasion by others.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Mr Toothpick, well said.
    Your comments are in line with the MAJORITY of people who are from the UK.
    The London Champagne Socialist elite and juvenile Trots dont like this as this is a little to close to US demonstrating OUR democratic right.
    I for one, am sick to the teeth with the UK and its people being taken for fools (although by reading many on this HYS maybe they have a point)

    *******************

    Totally agree ! The government seem to think that as long as they dont deal with the problem that eventually we will drop it !

  • Comment number 93.

    Could someone tell me what number in the list of promises this is. At the moment there are a lot of crosses on the list and I was wondering if I should get excitid about a possible tick.

    There again I would probably die of shock if this lot keep the mere hint of a promise so better not to know.

    Would someone wake me at the start of the next election campaign just so I can check and see where and how many times it all went pear shaped.

  • Comment number 94.

    Read a report 5 or 6 years ago which pointed out that their were (at that time) FORTY THREE agencies, organizations or groups concerned with the protection of convicted criminals' rights and civil liberties

    And for the victims of crime? JUST ONE - Victim Support

    Now. Do you really need to ask the question?

  • Comment number 95.

    4. At 11:47am on 07 Jan 2011, LabLibConsAreCROOKS wrote:
    Let people say what they want. Scrap all libel laws. I hate censorship. Who cares they are only words.
    =========================
    So, if you dislike someone there should be nothing to prevent you from fabricating a story about him, for instance that he's a paedophile? And you don't think that those "only words" could cause someone to lose their job or their family or have their house torched or be beaten up by a mob that can't tell the difference between paedophile and paediatrician?

  • Comment number 96.

    What about the liberty of English people to vote for their own laws, just like the Scots, Welsh & Irish? I don't hear much from Clegg about that.

  • Comment number 97.

    //25. At 12:38pm on 07 Jan 2011, LabLibConsAreCROOKS wrote:
    12. At 12:08pm on 07 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:
    What's needed is for the indigenous Britain to have the freedom of speech to say what troubles them without the fear of being labelled a racist or troublemaker. We also need to get our sovereignty back from the clutches of Brussells, that means a referendum on the EU. The country is in a mess caused by weak politicians who don't listen to the populace, they just carry on with their own agenda continually getting Britain into an ever deeper mess. We don't want the unskilled rubbish from the whole of Europe coming to our shores we have enough of our own rubbish, that's freedom of speech, that's a concern of most of the British population (unless of course you're one of the I'm all right brigade). I should be able to say to an immigrant whinger, if you don't like it here, bugger off, we don't want you either. That, as a true Britain, and one that would defend his country is what I should be able to say without fear of prosecution or dumping by an unpatriotic BBC moderator, that is what defence of your country is all about, keeping your values and not allowing invasion by others.

    --------------------------------

    I agree. But me thinks you are going to get slated for that comment.//

    Indeed. I agree with the sentiments, though not the strength of language - or the spelling.

    It is interesting, though, that many of the arguments made in favour of immigration/multiculturalism would be considered highly offensive if applied to others.

    For example

    - there is no real indigenous population, as we have very mixed roots (Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans etc).
    - we 'need immigrants to do the jobs the native population is too lazy to do
    - we 'need' immigrants because our culture is so dull that it can only be 'improved' by being added to
    - we are basically racists anyway, and we 'deserve' and 'need' multiculturalism to atone for the way 'we' treated people under the Empire
    - resistance to immigration and multiculturalism just shows how intolerant we are
    - imported cultures and ethnic minorities need special 'protection' or privileged treatment, because 'we' are such racists.

    If you said any of that to anyone in the third or developing world, to justify a huge influx of white Brits, and you'd be accused of being a racist.

  • Comment number 98.

    Freedom from foreign rule and laws would be a good start.

  • Comment number 99.

    82. At 1:44pm on 07 Jan 2011, AuntieLeft wrote:
    "Mr Toothpick, well said.
    Your comments are in line with the MAJORITY of people who are from the UK."
    ----------
    Does "MAJORITY" in capitals mean a minority?
    I say this because a minority of people support parties with such policies. Quite clearly a small minority too.
    But you can claim it's over half.

  • Comment number 100.

    83. At 1:45pm on 07 Jan 2011, NameAgain wrote:
    "48. At 1:06pm on 07 Jan 2011, locust wrote:
    get rid of 'uman rights' luggage that protects terrorists at the expenses on the safety of uk citizens!

    get rid of any sharia law based legislation

    keep and strengthen control orders
    -----------

    .When have you read and understood sharia? if it is true you understood your avatar must be cool. Could we exchange for a moment? Mine sucks. I have lots of complaints about me avatar and I dont know which court to apply. so i would like to make an exchange with somebody else's avatar. I dont know if those fit like shoes but it worths a try. wanna change?"

    I have absolutely no idea what NameAgain is saying and am struggling a bit with "'uman rights' luggage that protects terrorists at the expenses on the safety of uk citizens", but getting rid of Sharia law based legislation could be interesting as I was under the impression that our idea of "proof" being the basis of legal judgement (as opposed to trial by ordeal) originally came from Sharia law.

    Mind you: calling Nick Clegg's speach "wide-ranging" is rather bigging it up, don't you think?

 

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