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« Celebrate but let's not get carried away | Main | Going, going ... gone »

How liberal is Cameron's Cabinet?

The new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government has released a document outlining a programme of measures intended to reverse "the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion". It includes plans to:

  • Scrap the ID card scheme and the national identity register and the next generation of biometric passports
  • Extend the scope of the Freedom of Information bill to provide greater transparency
  • Adopt protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database
  • Protect trial by jury
  • Review libel laws to protect freedom of speech
  • Regulate use of CCTV and other items

But how liberal are the individual members of our new coalition government? Watch this space.

H/T Big Brother Watch and Police State UK

Reader Comments (66)

The Great Repeal Bill was the idea of Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan and I found this reference on Douglas Carswell's Blog.


This site gives an opportunity to anyone to offer a drafted amendment clause for the Bill and is an opportunity we should take to draft an amendment to the anti smoking legistlation which is so very anti libertarian and has caused so much misery (see Frank Davis Blog). It's one way of getting some debate going about this.

I'm going to have a go but I am sure there are many others out there who do a much better job. Lets go for it !

May 12, 2010 at 17:28 | Unregistered CommenterBanshee

It shows that the majority of these MPs can see the injustice of this smoking ban and is in favour of a exemption for private members clubs, this is what people who believe in divercity,equality and freedom to choose is asking for, but those in favour of discrimination and dictatorship is against the exemption, come on David Cameron do what is fair and what is right for the whole country, bring back freedom of choice and equality.

May 12, 2010 at 18:37 | Unregistered Commenterclif e

Too Lib Dem and PC for my liking. Apparently, too, they are happy about working together because they have a common purpose. That says it all! :(

May 12, 2010 at 19:37 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

Jenny -


"they have a common purpose."

Yep - they sure have THAT look about them, don't they ?

Sort of 'processed' (like peas, perhaps ?).

But I imagine a few reading this sentence don't QUITE get the signficance - even after our little exchange on the subject some time back.

How about YOUR explaining it this time ?

(Hell, it's been a long day - and I'm feeling lazy).

Even at this late hour, I don't think most people have even begun to realise how much trouble we're REALLY in........................

May 12, 2010 at 21:29 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

And as to Simon's rhetorical

"how f*ckin' liberal are the Liberal Democrats ?"


About as 'liberal' as Dick Cheney, Vlad Dracula, and Torquemada.

With toothache.

But without the wacky humour....................

May 12, 2010 at 21:44 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

supporting exemption for private members' clubs

Sounds like "cigar bars" are on then.
But in the Brit equivalent we can smoke cigarettes as well.
They need to be refitted or built.
Probably a good place for adults to meet.
Or certain bars exempted pro rata to adult smokers.
A reasonable request.
Let's see if we get a reasonable reply.
Shall we.

May 12, 2010 at 22:41 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

The main reason Labour got booted out was not the smoking ban.
But to quote most of the licencing trade.
In their situation.
It was a contributing factor.

Over to you chaps.

May 12, 2010 at 23:53 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Simon - as there's a parliamentary review of the ban coming up very soon (I believe) can you fill us in on Forest's response and when is that review lkely to be exactly?

May 13, 2010 at 6:06 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

Mark, we are trying to find out what effect the change of government will have on the proposed review, which was due to take place later this year. When Conservative MP Greg Knight met the former pubs minister John Healey in March on behalf of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign, Healey promised to consult as widely as possible, but of course everything has changed, hence our enquiries.

May 13, 2010 at 7:58 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Clark

Now for some very cautious and I do mean very cautious good news. Over on Douglas Carswell's blog.

"First proposed by Daniel Hannan and me a few years back, it seems like the Great Repeal Bill is going to make it into the Queen's Speech.

The Great Repeal Bill is a chance to scrap all the restrictive and illiberal laws that we face after 13 years of Labour. It's also a chance to harness the wisdom of crowds, rather than leave law-making up to those in SW1. I do hope the Great Repeal Bill is going to be our first ever wiki-Bill."

This includes the smoking ban. Don't get your hopes up too high, as it could easily be discarded, but hope springs eternal. Also I bumped into Douglas last night too, could of asked him, did not know.

May 13, 2010 at 8:01 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Just heard Andrew Lansley being interviewed on "Today". The UK has, apparently, highest incidence of lung cancer in Europe. Cue bullying 'for our own good'.

Wouldn't put it past them to exempt smoking ban from Great Repeal Bill.

May 13, 2010 at 8:40 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Lansley is talking rubbish as usual. From the ages of 0-74 the chances of contracting lung cancer range from in Europe:

Worst: Hungary 10.2%
Best: Sweden 2.5%

UK: 5.7%

Out of 40 European countries we come 13th, meaning 27 countries in Europe have worse lung cancer rates.

What is interesting is that Cyprus has a male smoking rate of 50% as opposed to the UK's 23% but has a figure of 3.1%.

Twice as many smokers but about half the cancer? Page 487

May 13, 2010 at 8:53 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Just to back up my figures, I have downloaded this from err.. Cancer Research UK. These are the rates of male lung cancer per 100,000 people.

The range is 119.3 in Hungary to 28.6 in Sweden, the EU average is 71.9 and the UK is 57.1. Out of the 27 EU countries we come in 5th.

May 13, 2010 at 9:26 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Oh another health minister lying again.
And he's only been in the job a couple of days.

May 13, 2010 at 9:38 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

So the new Conservative administration is continuing on the nannyism and lies of before. The National Insurance for employees is going up,inheritance tax threshold remains the same and capital gains tax and VAT to be increased.

Posters here including myself have condemned Labour for introducing a total smoking ban despite their manifesto pledge for exemptions. Are these same posters going to condemn the Tories for their total disregard of manifesto commitments and they have not been in power a wet week?

One set of liars replaced by another set. Plus ça change (plus c'est la même chose).

May 13, 2010 at 10:00 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

Have you missed the fact that it's actually a coalition? I think you will find manifesto promises will be compromised by both parties.

May 13, 2010 at 10:13 | Unregistered Commentermark

None of the 3 main parties could be trusted to stand by their manifestos, in my opinion.

All they want in an election is votes, therefore they will promise the earth if that is what it takes to get those votes. Once in, they do as they like!

Democracy? Been a long time since that applied to this poor excuse for a country.

May 13, 2010 at 10:15 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

The Tories have more than 5 times the seats that the Lib/Dems have but have torn up their manifesto while the Lib/Dems have given up very little. You talk about compromise and coalition but this is a case of 'the tail wagging the dog'.

May 13, 2010 at 10:21 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples


Anything is better than the Orwellian Labour.

May 13, 2010 at 10:32 | Unregistered Commentermark

Andrew Lansley PLEASE READ

Andrew Lansley did not say we have the highest incidence of lung cancer, what he said was:

"I mean we're in a situation where our cancer survival rates are significantly below the European average, where we have 75 percent higher early mortality from lung disease than other countries."

This may well be true let me investigate.

May 13, 2010 at 10:57 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Andrew Lansley is quite right.

"The team, writing in The Lancet Oncology, found that Britain's survival rates for the most common cancers - colorectal, lung, breast and prostate - were substantially behind those in Western Europe."

During my election campaign I spoke to a lot of doctors and nurses and they were all agreed the bureaucracy and box ticking had badly affected their ability to treat patients. The number of pen pushers in the NHS has risen from 1 milliion to 1.35 million under Labour.

May 13, 2010 at 11:25 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I must say that you seem to be doing some sterling work in Googling facts and figures for everyone on here Mr Atherton, and you must be very interested in politics to spend so much of your time doing this.

You seem to associate yourself with leading figures in the Tory Party, and also mentioned your Election Campaign. As a Conservative myself, I do have a number of friends in the Party, and I must admit that I have never heard your name mentioned. With this in mind I decided to google your name, and as I more or less guessed, nothing much came up at all, apart from several of your posts on sites such as this.

You are not breaking any laws of course, but I do think that you might be misleading some people. I might be wrong of course, and if I am I will apologise. Would you care to set the records straight by clarifying things for all concerned?

May 13, 2010 at 12:43 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Toomey


My election campaign was for the council, my nomination (1).

I am on the Executive of the Progressive Conservatives, the libertarian arm of the Conservative Party along with, Syed Kamall, Peter Lilley and Douglas Carswell. (2)

I can supply more info if required.



May 13, 2010 at 13:41 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I always find Dave's posts very informative and also googled the name as I have never found any reason to doubt what he says. I may not agree with his politics but that is the nature of the beast.

However, by adding conservative to the search I found a David Atherton who stood for the Conservatives in Oldham in the local elections. He lost to the Lib/Dems but this may be the the Dave who posts here.

May 13, 2010 at 13:42 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples


It's about time you accept the spin of Mandelson and Campbell are no longer wanted in British politics.

May 13, 2010 at 13:45 | Unregistered Commentermark

I am not bemoaning the loss of Brown et al but as a naturally left wing person I am concerned about what the Tories will do.

I am not going to turn right wing overnight and only remarked that while I may not be of the same political views as Dave Atherton, I unlike Jeff do not view him with suspicion. It is a shame that I can believe and trust in what he writes despite having a different political affiliation but a fellow Tory has severe doubts as to his statements.

May 13, 2010 at 13:52 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples


LibCon coalition agree on the issue of civil liberties. I don't expect this to include smoking but there are a million and one other Orwellian issues Labour have put on us. We are well rid of Labour.

May 13, 2010 at 13:56 | Unregistered Commentermark

I agree with all the points raised in Simon's article regarding FoI, CCTV, ID cards etc. To me the State should be there to provide a safety net for those who require it and should not be operated Stasi style.

I will be pleased if these changes are implemented because none of these has a place in society and those who implemented such policies are a disgrace to the Left.I personally favoured a multi party coalition whereby the excesses of the one party system could be curtailed but we are stuck with what we have now.

If it works, fine but if it collapses and Labour are returned to power in the next year or two, I would hope they would have had a sufficient post mortem to establish that the root cause of their failure in the recent election was their disregard for fundamental values. Maybe then they can get on with the job of running the country and not trying to run our lives.

May 13, 2010 at 14:13 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

There does seem to be an irony in that European countries are modifying the ban yet are pro EUROPEAN LibDem ministers are for the ban. Please take note LibDem's.

May 13, 2010 at 14:18 | Unregistered Commentermark

There does seem to be an irony in that European countries are modifying the ban yet our pro EUROPEAN LibDem ministers are for the ban. Please take note LibDem's.

May 13, 2010 at 14:28 | Unregistered Commentermark

I beg your pardon Mr Peoples, I do not have severe doubts as to Mr Atherton's statements at all. From what I have seen, Mr Atherton's statements consist largely of cut and paste jobs taken from various internet sources, which I have no trouble at all in accepting.

It is Mr Atherton's constant alluding to himself as some sort of leading light in the Conservative Party which worries me. It turns out now, much to Mr Atherton's own admission, that he was a Tory candidate for Leytonstone, and he is a member of a Tory fringe group.

I do get very worried when anyone sets themself up as something or someone, which they clearly are not, especially when they use the name of a political party to which I am affiliated to, although only in a small way I might add.

To get back to Mr People's however, you are trying to do on here, exactly what Mark has suggested, and that is to try imitate the spin of Mandelson and Campbell by throwing a spanner in the wheels of democracy.

May 13, 2010 at 14:37 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Toomey


I am more known for my unpaid work on tobacco control, here are a few examples/details I have had published. This obviously brings me into contact with many politicans. Some MPs and politicians I only meet briefly and do not pretend to know many that well.

Progressive Vision a centre-right think tank. (1)

Liberal Vision a Liberal Party grouping of libertarians. (2)

British Medical Journal letters. (3)

Caterer Search debate (4)

Spokesman for F2C on Denmark liberalising its smoking ban (5)

Visit to Birmingham hospital to discuss a violent video on smoker that they put out. (6)







May 13, 2010 at 14:37 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Chris Snowdon put it far better than I could Michael.

They had just got into a mindset that they could control everything I think .
They had too big a majority in 97 it gave them way too much power.
They abused it.
As they say power corrupts.
The surveilance state they created was as much to keep an eye on what they gleamed to be their opponents than the rest of us .
I genuinley believe that had Labour took power for two more terms Parliament would have been abolished and replaced with a central office ,a Politburo if you like.
A benevelent Soviet Union.
To do that you have to have a compliant population .
How ,simple ensure they all work for the state ,they rely totally on the state for everything they need.

No salt mines ,just centres for political re-education for the ones nanny deemed to be troublemakers not towing the party line.

I believe this would have occured eventually.

Errr hang on it has ... it's called Brussells isn't it ?

May 13, 2010 at 14:46 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky


"It is Mr Atherton's constant alluding to himself as some sort of leading light in the Conservative Party which worries me. It turns out now, much to Mr Atherton's own admission, that he was a Tory candidate for Leytonstone, and he is a member of a Tory fringe group."

Jeff, I think you are getting a little discourteous. I have and will never claim to be a leading light in the Conservative Party. My role like any other person/group is to as best we can influence the debate. That means you have to get involved and meet people, often only peripherially.

For your information the Progressive Conservatives are the 2nd largest grouping within the Conservative Party and we hope we can inform and shape the debate as Parliament goes forward. We have only be going about 6 months and have good progress.

On the 24th May a Monday we have our monthly meeting and you are welcome to join us in central London at 6.30. The offer extends to any reader who is Conservative Party oriented.

More details on request.

May 13, 2010 at 15:00 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

We had an appalling situation in British politics a few days ago. We had the two Generals Mandy and Campbell dealing the Labour party a hand for only one reason... the power of a few at the expense of the many. This fortunately was thwarted by Labour MP's themselves in the dark for much of the time. We are well rid of this deceit. I hope we never again see Mandy and Campbell.

May 13, 2010 at 15:02 | Unregistered Commentermark

Clegg has stated that he only wishes to ban behaviour which harms others. So banning smoking clubs staffed by their members is against his principles. I'm sure he knows it and I'm sure he is well informed enough not to believe the likes of ASH on the harm caused by passive smoking. Maintaining the smoking ban in its present form is political - nothing to do with science or a wish to make the world a better place. How would Clegg and Cameron gain?Perhaps the UKIP smoking policy cost a few votes, but there has been no serious attempt to get the ban amended. The only strategy I can see succeeding is for large groups of people to set up (genuine) smoke extraction research centres and donate to a fund to pay the resulting fines. To the Domestic Terrorism Unit, which is surely monitoring this web site, I must stress that I am not advocating such a strategy - just pointing out it is the only one likely to succeed.

May 13, 2010 at 17:27 | Unregistered Commenterjon

Nonsense, Dave. You're a lazy, good-for-nothing fantasist who does absolutely nothing in the fight against nannyism. You don't really spend your own money on more-than-weekly events to spread our message and attract the attention of policymakers at all, oh no.

In reality, you're a keyboard warrior in underpants living in a squat in Abergavenny. Time to come clean. ;-)

May 13, 2010 at 17:44 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote


I think the only thing you got wrong there was hat he squat is in east London not Abergavenney, but at least the underpants are clean(ish). ;)

May 13, 2010 at 18:13 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

What I find interesting is the smelly clothes.smokers stink,cost money blah blah blah,
appear to have gone ?
Obviously we have a different kind of troll now .
Just a thought.
Well I suppose it beats working in a call centre.

May 13, 2010 at 22:40 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

@Dave Atherton - Oh, dear, did I mishear Lansley (I was working while listening to 'Today')? I did wonder at the time but concluded that it couldn't be 'poorest outcomes' because our medical profession assures us that lung cancer=curtains ("If you smoke, you die" - the UK has been talking in soundbites and cliches for the past 13 years, IMHO) in which case it's a nonsense to talk about survival rates - chances of survival are 0%.

If lung cancer sufferers do have higher chances of survival elsewhere in Europe, might that be because those countries don't condemn lung cancer as a condition of the 'undeserving' (which is predicated on the asumption that it's a condition of smokers)? Might it just occur to Lansley that 'nudging' (the cuddly word used by those who haven't been in power long enough to bully) is just a smokescreen (as New Labour might have tried to get lung cancer mortality rates down by bullying smokers into quitting)? I wish I could believe otherwise, but I think that Lansley has no more stature than Hewitt.

BTW Dave, when I ?misheard Lansley, I thought of you as the person who would have source material at his fingertips. Thank goodness other people are more organised than I am!

May 13, 2010 at 22:50 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

@ Jeff
I think when Dave A says you are being a little discourteous, he is being exceedingly polite. I've been around this site a while now and never for one second thought Dave has represented himself as anything other than what he is ... Someone who works very hard to counter misinformation about smoking, and always Intelligently and with good grace. Perhaps you might give some thought to retracting your assertions, or at least keeping them to yourself in future.

May 13, 2010 at 23:22 | Unregistered CommenterRose Whiteley

@ Jeff Toomey.

I do not know Dave Atherton personally, but I know him via this site and via his 'argument' with a so-called eminent Professor (a big noise in government advisory circles) in the letters column of the on-line British Medical Journal. The BMJ do not publish rubbish and Dave more than held his own (re the effects of passive smoking). DA is a very knowledgeable person indeed and not without humility, so please do not knock him unless you can do better.

May 14, 2010 at 0:55 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

What is this here, the Dave Atherton appreciation society? As I said yesterday, I think Mr Atherton does some very good work in copying and pasting information for us all to see, but that doesn't stop me from wondering why he insists on associating himself with many top name politicians as if they are his personal friends, and why he talks about publishing important papers on this and that, as if they were of any significance.

You are all entitled to your views in the same way that I am, so please do not try to silence me, as that is not what democracy is supposed to be about. My personal views on Mr Atherton are that he is doing a worthwhile service to people who smoke, but I think his posts would be more acceptable if he cut the Walter Mitty act and stuck to the point he is trying to make.

May 14, 2010 at 10:24 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Toomey

Michael wrote

As a Conservative myself, I do have a number of friends in the Party, and I must admit that I have never heard your name mentioned.

How do we know this is true?

May 14, 2010 at 11:00 | Unregistered Commentermark


Jeff wrote

As a Conservative myself, I do have a number of friends in the Party, and I must admit that I have never heard your name mentioned.

How do we know this is true?

May 14, 2010 at 11:06 | Unregistered Commentermark


I do not know what has offended me most- blaming me for what was said by Jeff or you quoting me as saying 'As a Conservative myself'!

That's me thrown out of the Che Guevara club.

May 14, 2010 at 11:10 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

Apologies Michael.

I do feel Jeff could well be some sort of plant. Dave has provided evidence of his ties to the Conservatives we await the same from jeff.

May 14, 2010 at 11:15 | Unregistered Commentermark

"but I think his posts would be more acceptable if he cut the Walter Mitty act"

Dave's posts are perfectly acceptable to the rest of us - you seem to be the only person that has a problem with him.

Having met Dave on more than one occasion, I can safely say that he's a straightforward and honest bloke without a hint of the Walter Mittys about him. What does set him apart from a lot of people is his energy and determination in the cause of opposing the anti-tobacco movement.

I've also admired the way Dave has refrained, in spite of his own political loyalties, from getting involved in some of the recent heated exchanges on here concerning the election and the hung parliament.

May 14, 2010 at 11:26 | Unregistered CommenterRick S

What the hell is happening here? I leave the shop for a few hours and when I return I find it in turmoil with a bunch of kids screaming and shouting at each other over something that has nothing whatsoever to do with the business the shop should be carrying on with.

What's the difference if Jeff thinks Dave is a Walter Mitty character, surely he is entitled to his views, the same as we all are? As far as I know, Dave A is a big boy and quite capable of speaking up for himself. By defending him in this manner, you are making him look and sound like some naughty but loveable schoolboy, who is too timid to say boo to a goose.

Now that I have got that off my chest, anyone fancy going to a public hanging today? You can choose who you would like to hang, with the exception of Peter Mandeslon, as no one knows where he is at this moment.

May 14, 2010 at 11:49 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Fair comment Peter but this Jeff wanted backup info from Dave (which he got) yet does a bunk when he is asked for the same.

May 14, 2010 at 12:34 | Unregistered Commentermark

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