CIVIL LIBERTIES AN IDIOT’S GUIDE

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According to most dictionaries civil liberties are basic rights and freedoms granted to citizens of a country through national, common or statute law. Such rights and freedoms are supposed to form the basis of a democratic society.

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Apparently, the only place where you are likely to find these freedoms lacking is in a dictatorship.

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A dictatorship? A country, government or the form of a government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator.

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A prime example of how the UK Government protects our civil liberties is the 1988 Human Rights Act. This act was introduced to safeguard our civil liberties and so negate the need for us to petition the European Court of Human Rights (see Abu Qatada, you might need government permission before you do).

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In the UK we prize our freedom so highly that in 2010 the coalition government promised to

“Implement a full program of measures to reverse the substancial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion”

The government values our rights to freedom of assembly, privacy and a fair trial. And indeed only after much intense discussion within the coalition government was the decision taken to quash the Communications Data Bill. And then reintroduce it via the media back door.

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The Justice and Security Act, passed by Royal Assent on the 25 April 2013, is another example of how honoured and revered our civil liberties are.

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However, it does appear that Section 8 of the Justice and Security Act, stomps so wholeheartedly on the right to a fair trial that British Citizens may be petitioning the ECHR for quite some time to come.And then there’s the attendant problem of ever diminishing Legal Aid provision…oh dear….

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