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I am normally 101% opposed to anything which punishes us all for the failings of a few (e.g. speed cameras). Civil liberties are far too important to be compromised. However, there is a strong case for the police to have temporary powers to pull the plug on Twitter, FaceBook, Blackberry, etc. in the event of serious public unrest. It is pretty well conclusive that those responsible for the rioting and looting organised themselves through use of these media, so had they been switched off there is a strong probability they would not have spread so far or so fast. The key word here is 'temporary'. Provided this is an operational action, under the control of the police and not poiticians, and lasting a matter of hours not days weeks or months, then it is acceptable.
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2011 on Unnecessary interference at THE FREEDOM ASSOCIATION
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I too have little in common with Tom Watson, but I gladly applaud him for his admirable stand. Regrettably I did not see all of the proceedings, and in particular I missed Tom's cross examination. I did see some of the questioning by other committee members, which I thought was tame, supine, and pretty well ineffective, so its nice to know someone used the opportunity to best effect.
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It surely should come as no surprise that our liberties have been undermined. The last government spent 13 years stealthily chipping away at our liberties, one piece at a time. Despite hopes, the present government has shown little inclination to reverse the process. Up until now. Thanks to this current NoW/Murdoch affair we now have a unique opportunity to turn the clock back on this sorry state of affairs. The question is, do any of our political leaders have the moral courage to take a lead. Much as it pains me to say so, the only one who has remotely impressed so far has been Ed Milliband, though I suspect that is more down to poltical opportunism that personal principles. It is time for a conviction politician to step forwards.
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After much speculation about cuts in excess of 25%, the package delivered today seems incredibly modest. Considering this, I am shocked at the self-centred reaction it seems to have attracted rom the media and public alike. Everyone seems to be more concerned with their own self interest than with the good of the country as a whole. This is a sad relfection of the overall state of our society. All in all I think Geoge Osborne has pulled off a resonably well balanced package given incredibly difficult circumstances. There are just two aspects with which I strongly disagree: Firstly, it seems incomprehensible that an increase in foreign aid of £2.7bn has been made at the cost of £2.3bn to the defence budget. After 13 years during which the previous government consistently overstretched our forces while starving them of resources, a cut now is adding insult to injury, and does nothing to restore the military covenant. Secondly, I find the government's apparent antipathy towards the BBC very worrying. We enjoy in this country, by almost universal consent, the highest quality TV & radio in the world, much of which is due to the BBC, yet there are those who would place this in jeopardy. This is dangerous and foolhardy. These two concerns aside, the government is to be applauded for tackling this difficult task with determination and courage.
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Oct 20, 2010