In the latest installment of my Sadiq Khan debate over who owns the mantle of civil liberties, Robert Sharpe has posted an interesting piece on Liberal Conspiracy in which he discusses both my own piece and Sadiq's.
He makes a good case for not tainting Sadiq Khan with the record of the last Labour government.
"For starters, he was one of the Labour rebels who voted against Tony Blair’s 90-day detention policy, back in 2005. More recently, he has admitted the party’s mistakes on human rights and civil liberties. Part of his Charter 88 anniversary lecture was a scathing critique of the last Labour Government’s approach:
'And I hold up my hands and admit that we did, on occasions, get the balance wrong. On 42 and 90 days, and on ID cards, where the balance was too far away from the rights of citizens… On top of this, we grew less and less comfortable with the constitutional reforms we ourselves had legislated for. On occasions checked by the very constitutional reforms we had brought in to protect people’s rights from being trampled on. But we saw the reforms as an inconvenience, forgetting that their very awkwardness is by design. A check and balance when our policies were deemed to infringe on citizens’ rights.'"
Fair enough. I think Sadiq's record does stand up reasonably well
But that wasn't Sadiq's case in his New Statesman piece. Here he claimed Labour deserved the mantle of Civil Liberty Champion. But their record does nothing to merit this, nor are they currently offering any policies to suggest they deserve it. Check out Sadiq's piece - not a single idea, nor any firm promise to improve civil liberties; indeed, the only party currently promising to overturn Secret Courts legislation for example is...the Lib Dems.