David R. Henderson  

Hope for Britain?

Liberal Conflation... Milton Friedman on Racial Disc...

Here's are some excerpts from a speech that Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave this week:

As we tear through the statute book, we'll do something no government ever has: We will ask you which laws you think should go.

Because thousands of criminal offences were created under the previous government. Taking people's freedom away didn't make our streets safe.

Obsessive law-making simply makes criminals out of ordinary people.

So, we'll get rid of the unnecessary laws - and once they're gone, they won't come back. We will introduce a mechanism to block pointless new criminal offences.

The London Telegraph reports the reforms announced:

...will involve the end of the controversial ID cards scheme, the scrapping of universal DNA databases - in which the records of thousands of innocent people have been stored - and restrictions placed on internet records. The use of CCTV cameras will also be reviewed.

Dubbed the "Great Reform Act", the measures will close down the ContactPoint children's database. Set up by Labour last year, it includes detailed information on all 11 million youngsters under 18. In addition, schools will not be able to take a child's fingerprint without parental permission.

In an attempt to protect freedom of speech, ministers will review libel laws, while limits on peaceful protest will be removed.

The measures to repeal so-called surveillance state laws will be included in next week's Queen's Speech. Under the coalition agreement, Mr Clegg and David Cameron said they would end "the storage of internet and email regulations and email records without good reason". This is likely to mean the end of plans for the Government and the security services to intercept and keep emails and text messages.

The £224 million ContactPoint database can be accessed by 300,000 people working in health, education, social care and youth justice - leading to fears it could be exploited or fall into the wrong hands. Mr Clegg will add: "It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop. "This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state. That values debate, that is unafraid of dissent."

HT to Angela Keaton

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CATEGORIES: Economics of Crime

COMMENTS (12 to date)
William Barghest writes:

Is there a word for people who are libertarian with respect to regulation, taxation, and capitalism, but who don't see a problem with heavy police surveillance. Is there a difference between freedom to do anything as long as it's overt, vs. protection of covert action?

Brian Moore writes:

I can barely even believe the stuff I hear Clegg saying. Even the act of him saying it out loud seems too good to be true, never mind what I think of the possibility of it actually happening.

ivan writes:

If he would propose the same thing about economic regulations, that would really be marvelous.

Yancey Ward writes:

Talk is cheap, but you gotta start somewhere.

Rebecca Burlingame writes:

A discussion on econlog a few days ago had me thinking how great it would be, if our country could set aside times to get rid of unnecessary laws which hurt communities and create massive economic gridlock. Imagine the productive debates which might ensue, and the disbelief people would feel at some of the laws on the books that no longer serve any productive purpose.

William writes:

William Barghest: fascism?

William Barghest writes:


Yes fascism is related to this concept, but I think the fascists in Germany and Italy were quite corporatist and nationalistic often at the expense of the public welfare, starting wars for example. I mean something more like Pinochet's Chile or Singapore, who's governments were autocratic but oriented towards economic liberty, and arguably benefited those governed.

It seems that Singapore does keep an DNA database, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-16614727.html world.
They also have one of the lowest murder rates in the world (0.4 per 100000) which is an order of magnitude lower than the US rate.

kevin writes:

@William: no, fascists support strict regulations and control of corporations to ensure they operate for the benefit of the glorious state.

@William Barghest: I think that is called "conservatism".

Doc Merlin writes:

I am fairly upbeat now about the DL-Conservative alliance the conservatives bring economic freedom and the DL brings personal freedom it seems. Its almost too good to be true.

Andy Wood writes:

@ivan: Nick Clegg was one of the contributors to The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism.

I've not read it, but you might find it favourable.

Brian Clendinen writes:

This does seem to good to be true, lets see how it will shake out. However, from what I can understand this is only about 1% of the laws that should go. However, it is almost always a step in the right direction when a government starts repelling laws and not just replacing them. However, these are almost all privacy laws not the hundreds that removed basic freedoms. When they start getting rid of laws like criminal penalties for not using the metric system, then I might actually dare think the Alliance is actually a good thing.

Brian Clendinen writes:

It was to good to be true. Business as usual.

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