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.