Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Motions to Council - Coroners and Justice Bill

The new(ish) system in Liverpool is that while any councillor can submit a motion for Full Council, they won't all get selected for debate. The ones that don't will still end up being discussed and voted on - but at a committee rather than at the Full Council meeting. This one (below) is one I wrote with Cllr Colin Eldridge. We expect it to be discussed at the Overview and Scutiny Committee in mid March.

Council notes the progress of the Government’s ‘Coroners and Justice Bill’.

Council, whilst welcoming the strengthening of the laws surrounding child pornography, and witness protection believes that the proposed legislation leaves open the opportunity for the Government to possibly amend the data protection act.

Clause cl.152 if passed would potentially allow ministers to make 'Information sharing orders’ that can alter any Act of Parliament and cancel all rules of confidentiality in order to use information obtained for one purpose to be used for another.

Council believes this to be illiberal and threatens the civil liberties of Liverpool residents.

Council calls on the Chief Executive to write to the Merseyside MPs asking them to oppose this element of the Coroners & Justice Bill.


PM Swimmer said...

coward, all I can say is coward!

no wonder people are disengaging with spineless self serving politicians at all levels.

I don't mind people who I can't agree with Paula, but people unwilling to engage in the conversations because they might look bad or don't have answer are not only not fit for public office they aren't fit to draw breath.

Paula Keaveney said...

Gosh.. not fit to draw breath eh

I have posted many of your comments PM Swimmer as you will be well aware. But as I have said before I will not post things that I consider to be defamatory or unfair to third parties, and a number of yours that I have not posted have been. As the editor of the blog its clearly up to me what I publish. You have exactly the same rights as me - you could set up a blog and publish whatever you like.

You clearly have lots of strong opinions and you clearly have a strong dislike for me. That is OK. I don't expect everyone to like me. As you know I also publish my home phone number, my mobile number and my personal e mail address and you are welcome to use any if you want to discuss any issue. You are also welcome to at any of our councillor surgeries (days and times changing - details tobe posted later) It may interest you to know that the Labour party threw a wobbly when this particular motion (and another one on ID cards) came up for debate on Tuesday evening and so both got deferred to the Overview and Scrutiny Committe in April

PM Swimmer said...

Whilst I support your move and your opposition to ID cards and the march of the draconian laws by this government I think there is a serious need to get your own house in order.
Liverpool must be near the top of the league of cities with CCTV systems they are disturbingly endemic in our public (and recently flogged off public) spaces and trumpeted as being great for all of us when all what they actually do is reduce all of our freedoms and rights without its been proved providing significant evidence which can be used in court.
You've also presided over the sell-off of frontline council services to BT thus clearly putting a private company in a position of having access to private data.

You've also rolled out a farily large campaign of asbos including designating a huge area of Garston as one great asbo area, something you've crowed about in this blog.
What your less honest about is that Asbos are a former of legislation which actually criminalises lawful behaviour and as such are about as iliberal as you can get.
ASBOs despite what the government say and what the high court might want are frequently granted using a lower burden of proof allowing hearsay evidence and although granted on the basis of behaviour or actions which would never themselves warrant a criminal prosecution or jail sentance can and do result in a jail sentance, as breaking an ASBO is a criminal offence with a maximum 5 year prison sentance. Your council, the one you are an executive member of, applies for ASBOs against people for lawful (if antisocial) acts and sees people threatened with or actually sent (not sure if its has happened yet) to prison again for behaviour which is not in itself criminal.
Now you'll say,residents lives are blighted by anti-social behaviour ...... which to me is no better than, "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" or "these people are terrorists we shouldn't worry about their human rights", to wrongs don't make a right and you don't solve the root cause of the problem by just criminalising the behaviour.
If you want to be taken seriously as liberal democrat then don't use and support Labours illberal, dirty, squalid laws.

Oh and can you gurantee your readers that no council officers have used powers granted under terrorist legislation to spy on Liverpool citizens in council tax, littering, school place, dog fouling or other non-terrorist related investigations?

Can you tell me where as a councillor, a cog in the wheels of governement your responsibility lies in the fight to save our Liberties? Can you explain why its ok for you to rail against the National governments creation of these illiberal laws whilst supporting their use by the council you are a member of and for whose actions you share collective responsibilty ?

I mean I'd really like to know your thoughts on this?

not only limits access to fair trials but actually does away with it all together. An asbo can be foisted on someone without much in the way of due process and worse still although an ASBO itself is a matter of civil law with a lower level of evidence or certainty required, (balance of probabilty) the breaking of asbo is a matter of criminal law. The result of this that now in the UK your council can apply for an ASBO for an offence which carries no serious legal sanction and requiring a low level proof, with little appeal

why has you not posted this comment?

PM Swimmer said...


I appreciate the defamtion issue and the removal of personnal data, I might not always agree with your definition but I can at least agree with the reasoning. however my post on this has no information on any individual its my views on the polivy and action of the council of which you are a senior member.

If you can explain what in my post about the councils roll out of CCTV and use of ASBOs I'll remove it.
And your wrong by and large I think you seem to be quite a good councillor and certainly the best of current rulling administration and most of the Labour ones. I like that you have this blog I just wish more councillors did and that there were more open forums for debate. That I want the best from my elected representatives and expect high standards does not equate to a personal dislike.

If you are going to post about your support for the anti-id card campaing which I share and these aspects of the coroners bills then I don't think it unreasonable to ask why you don't have a similar problem with the use of some of the other illeberal tools this government have created?