The state has crept further and further into people’s homes and their private lives under the cover of pretending to act in our best interest. That needs to change, says Nick Clegg.
During their 13 years in power, the Labour Government developed a dangerous reflex. Faced with whatever problem, legislation increasingly became the standard response. Something needs fixing? Let’s pass a new law.
And so, over the last decade, thousands of new rules and regulations have amassed on the statute book. And it is our liberty that has paid the price. Under the cover of pretending to act in our best interest, the state has crept further and further into people’s homes and their private lives. That intrusion is disempowering. It needs to change.
The Coalition Government is determined to restore great British freedoms. Major steps have been taken already. ID cards have been halted. Plans are underway to restrict the storage of innocent people’s DNA. Schools will no longer be able to take children’s fingerprints without their parents consent.
But we need to do more. The culture of state snooping has become so ingrained that we must tackle it with renewed vigour. And, especially in these difficult times, entrepreneurs and businesses need our help. We must ensure we are not tying them up in restrictive red tape.
So today we are taking an unprecedented step. Based on the belief that it is people, not policymakers, who know best, we are asking the people of Britain to tell us how you want to see your freedom restored.
We are calling for your ideas on how to protect our hard won liberties and repeal unnecessary laws. And we want to know how best to scale back excessive regulation that denies businesses the space to innovate. We’re hoping for virtual mailbags full of suggestions. Every single one will be read, with the best put to Parliament.
It is a radically different approach. One based on trust. Because it isn’t up to government to tell people how to live their lives. Our job is to empower people, giving you the freedom and support to thrive. That belief is right at the heart of this Coalition. And both coalition parties recognise that Whitehall doesn’t have a monopoly on the best ideas.
So, finally, after years in the wilderness, freedom is back in fashion. This is our chance to redraw the boundaries between citizen and state. It’s your chance to have your say.
By Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
Published: 6:30AM BST 01 Jul 2010
Source: The Telegraph