No American Equivalent

I am actually a little bit stunned at this. And it remains to be seen if the Tory/LD coalition government in the UK will take any action on this or whether it’s only so much window dressing. But can you even imagine something like this being done here in the States?

That’s Deputy PM Nick Clegg in the video making that rather extraordinary post-election promise.  This link takes you to a webpage of Her Majesty’s Government where individual citizens can explain how they believe their civil liberties are being abridged and at minimum some government flack is going to read the complaints and compile them in a report.

I’ve got to imagine that there will be a lot of cranks complaining about nothing they can clearly articulate and a fair number of people griping about paying taxes and a number of partisan hacks poisoning the well with complaints about innocuous policies.  But it’s not like there aren’t things for Brits to complain about.  Their government watches their citizens’ spending habits, reserves the right to eavesdrop on their telephone conversations and e-mails, and utilizes criminal justice procedures the likes of which would shock civil libertarians here in the States.  And you simply can’t walk around pretty much anywhere in London and especially in the Tubes without a CCTV camera monitoring you.

Given the abysmal, dismissive, and disappointing performance of the Obama Administration on civil liberty matters, I simply cannot imagine the government of the United States undertaking a similar sort of initiative with any degree of seriousness.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. I'm appalled.With myself. I wouldn't have noticed this initiative if it weren't that I followed a blog by an American who's paying more attention to UK politics than I am. Now I'll probably be prodding people I know with this interesting video for the forseeable future.Thanks.

  2. I'm presuming that you have not seen America Speaking Out ( then?Or else you, being of the political camp you admit to being, have dismissed it without really looking?I do agree that there are a lot of laws that need repealing. That'd be a hell of a lot of work. The fact that we cannot, due to entanglements between law/regulation/treaty/etc, even define the number of possible federal felonies (let alone misdemeanors or state/local offenses), is extremely troubling.

  3. The House GOP site you point out isn't concerned at all with civil liberties. Neither party in the US does more than lip service to the foundational, core values of our nation, and this site does little to persuade me to the contrary.My "political camp" is that of the libertarian leaning Republicans. Many people get the impression that I'm a liberal Democrat and that's just not the case.

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