Obeying the law will no longer be enough to guarantee you are able to live peacefully in the UK without harassment from the state.
David Cameron is set to announce a string of new powers that are seen by many as a challenge to our basic civil liberties.
This sentence from the Tory leader is particularly chilling:
“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’.”
Well, in simple terms: obeying the law will no longer be enough to be enough to ensure you escape retribution by the authorities.
Even if you are not suspected of committing any crime, you could be hit by orders preventing you from speaking in public or associating with specific people.
The planned “snooper’s charter” will give the police the right to read your private messages, even if you’re not suspected of any wrongdoing. Now, it seems that if they see anything they don’t like (even if it isn’t criminal) they won’t be obliged to leave you alone.
We know that the Tory government are also planning to scrap the current Human Rights Act and replace it with one that would introduce a “threshold below which Convention [human] rights will not be engaged” – allowing UK courts to strike out certain cases.
This could leave you with no legal recourse to challenge any controls you are subject to.
Why is David Cameron doing this?
He wants to preemptively combat extremism and terrorism. But we already have a number of laws which allow police and counter-terrorism officers to monitor and arrest anybody suspected of being involved in terrorism, or in planning a terrorist attack.
Although these fundamental changes are being brought in under the guise of combating terrorism, this isn’t the limit of their application.
These new changes have the potential to be used against all of us.