United Kingdom

Nick Clegg's Remarkable Little Website


The URL alone is pretty striking: http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/

It's the pet project of U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has made civil liberties a priority of Britain's new coalition government. The site's langauge is even more remarkable. The first full sentence reads:

The Coalition Government is committed to restoring and defending your freedom – and we're asking you to participate.

The word "restoring" is rare candor. It acknowledges that the British government has taken a good amount of freedom in the first place, something governments are generally loathe to concede. Here's more refreshing language, describing what the site is all about:

We're working to create a more open and less intrusive society through our Programme for Government. We want to restore Britain's traditions of freedom and fairness, and free our society of unnecessary laws and regulations – both for individuals and businesses.

This site gives you the chance to submit, comment on, or vote for ideas about how we can do this. Your ideas will inform government policy and some of your proposals could end up making it into bills we bring before Parliament to change the law.

So if there are any laws or regulations you'd like us to do away with, then submit your idea. If you see ideas here already that you like the look of, then rate them and get them moved up the list. And if there's more you'd like to say, then talk to others in the comments section for each proposal.

It's time to have your say. After all – it's your freedom.

I suppose it remains to be seen what sort of actual policy changes the site inspires. But damn. This is certainly a good start. It's the kind of thing that might—just might—warm even the jaded, liberty loving hearts of Hit & Run commenters.

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  1. Too bad there’s no “left-libertarian” tradition in America.

    1. There was, actually. All it took was a couple of Red Scares to round them up, shut them down, and either imprison or deport them.

      1. Woodrow Wilson strikes again?

    2. I think there is: Noam Chomsky, Alan Dershowitz and a few others.

  2. Nothing warms my heart except SugarFree’s deranged literary diarrhea.

    A nickclegg is a cross-eyed well monster from Irish folklore. Since it possesses no genitals or brains it really only presented danger to especially stupid children who play in wells. Also the inspiration for the nursery rhyme:

    Nickclegg, Nickclegg
    Fall down the playing well
    and he’ll dry-hump your leg
    No matter how very much you beg
    or kick or scream or rebel,
    There’s no escaping foul Nickclegg

    1. Diarrhea? I’ll have you know I shat out every word of that as a compact, dry and highly polished thought-turd. it was so perfect I didn’t even have to wipe when I was done.

      1. I still say that you should use your creative powers to incorporate “peg”* into the limerick.

        *since the nickclegg is genital-less, it would need an external pleasure device to indulge in its shenanigans…hence the word “peg”

        1. Also, not to be persnickety, but nickclegg is never to be capitalized.

          1. Just one of the many parallels between nickclegg and bell hooks.

            1. I was thinking that nickclegg, like STEVESMITH(all caps, interestingly enough), can describe a group of things…though we only know of the existence of one example.

              For instance, you could name a nickclegg; STEVESMITH, or Bob, or bell hooks, if you like.

  3. Politicians’ libertarian-sounding lies about evil shit they’re so gonna stop doing someday aren’t a “start.” They’re an opposition-weakening tactic.

  4. That certainly sounds good & I hope Nick Clegg really means it. Unfornately, my jaded, liberty loving heart believes little will come of this. It’s probably nothing more than a politician trying to score political points with liberty sounding rhetoric.

  5. Get back to me when they repeal ASBOs. There’s no more blatant example of current British statism than an ASBO. If that’s not the first thing gone, then the rest is all show.

    1. I should have watched the vid first before I got all cynical. That was the most refreshing statement I’ve seen from a (co-) head of state…in my lifetime. Nothing I recall from the Reagan/Thatcher years was that blunt about freedom vs. Government.

      Awesome. We’ll see (still a cynic), but awesome.

      1. Clegg isn’t co-head-of-state.

        The head of state for the UK is the Queen. Cameron is the head of government and Clegg is the deputy head of government.

        Still, I nearly jizzed seeing the site and watching the video.

      1. Anti-Social Behaviour Order:

        It seems like they can be issued for virtually any behavior that someone doesn’t like. One woman was issued one that prohibited her from having noisy sex (I think it has been discussed on H&R before).

        If you violate the ASBO you can be arrested.

        Apropos of nothing, for me the term “violate an ASBO” always brings to mind someone performing an obscene act on a small European car–I guess ASBO sounds like a car brand to me.

    2. Sucks to your ass bow.

  6. Balko has good news for us? What?

    1. Don’t get used to it. I expect a nut-punch before the day is over.

  7. This is much needed in the UK, they are no longer free. I can’t say we would have any use for it because USA is the land of the free, because of the brave. That’s why I am proud to be an American, cause at least I know I’m totally free. Let freedom ring.

    1. Go light up a joint in front of a cop shop. Try opening up a men only drinking establishment. After paying the fine and doing the time for those two stunts, try converting your house into a lodging business. Or a bordello.

      Then get back to us about your total freedom in American.

      1. I think Fred was being sarcastic.

        1. Ya never know on this site.

          “God bless ACORN”.

          1. Too true.

      2. Then go to another country.

        1. Aahhh, the old “America, Love It or Leave It” I remember from my younger days, “Change It or Lose It”.

          Which was closer to reality?

  8. Beat you to it, biotch!

  9. I await the coming nut punch.

  10. I’m from Missouri. Show me.

    1. Show me __________.

      Do we get to fill in the conveniently added blank ?

  11. The first episode of the BBC comedy series Yes, Minister was titled Open Government. The new government in that show abandoned the idea of open government as soon as they had the reigns of power, too.

  12. The url link also provides a list of citizen commentary . . . 27 votes/comments so far for legalization of cannabis!

  13. One of the suggestions is “More Powers for Police to Stop and Search.” Freedom is hard for some people.

    1. Another one says “Force supermarkets to charge for their car parks to help support high street shopping”

      These are the things that make me realize that we are hopelessly fucked.

  14. The Brits have slowly evolved into generally inactive, government worshiping dolts on the dole. Lets see if the few liberty lovers left in the UK can stir up some trouble.

    1. Lets see if the few liberty lovers left in the UK can stir up some trouble.

      I think that lot wised up about ~234 years ago.

    2. Slowly evolved? They’re still the same monarchy loving group they were born as. RS knows what’s up.

  15. Jacqui Smith must be aghast. There’s nothing in there about creating mandatory databases or adding more closed circuit cameras to the most camera-infested nation on earth.

  16. I’ve already seen at least one thread on b3ta discussing plans to organize some 4chan style shenanigans on the site! Hope the jokers don’t discredit it as it seems like a neat idea. Internet usage in the UK has hit 80% now so its time for this.

    I’ve voted lib-dem twice out of support for the orange book fraction


    and for the Tories this time as labour had to go! so I’m pretty happy about the coalition.
    Maybe this could be the start of some Neo-classical liberalism and if not at worst, they cant fuck things up any more than labour

  17. If you think the government is too oppressive, please enter your name, e-mail, and telephone number to register your suggestion. Don’t worry about your physical address, we can deduce it from your IP and the CC cameras in your neighborhood.

    Representatives from the government will stop by soon to discuss your dissatisfaction.

  18. I very much like this for one reason: It is lie. Promises will be made, nothing beyond the symbolic will be done. As propaganda against govt. it will be invaluable. It might turn an entire generation of gullible Britons into cynical libertarians!

  19. How about getting together to vote up proposals to repeal of British gun bans?

    The brits would go apeshit! they wouldn’t understan the connection to liberty….

  20. This page alone should be enough to warm the hearts of Hit & Run commenters.

  21. It’s just words right now.

    When Nick Clegg actually succeeds in paring back some government overreach, such as the fucking ASBOs, then I’ll know it’s not just empty promises.

    Hell, I’ll even go along with him proposing laws to make such changes, and getting turned down by the Tories and Labour. That would be a sign he’s not just making shit up to get votes.

  22. But then it would have been pretty hard not to improve over Labour’s hard authoritarian government style. And to think that they used to be a social democratic party…

    1. Hard authoritarian = social democratic.

      1. But Labour don’t even pretend to be leftists any more. Authoritarianism and big government is all that’s left of their platform.

        And still they get 29% of the vote.

  23. After all ? it’s your freedom.

    Actually, if I correctly understand the theory behind British government, it’s Her Majesty’s Freedom, some of which she has deigned to dole out to her adoring subjects.

    1. Adoring citizens not subjects (since 1983)

  24. Can anyone imagine that fuck Tony Blair doing this? Or GWB? Or BHO? Even the idea of this kind of outreach would make them hurl.

    Unlike us yanks, it seems the Brits actually elected some real change.

  25. The Reason commenters’ hearts grew three sizes that day…

    ….which, considering the initial size is really not all that much to talk about.

    1. I resemble that remark.

  26. I’ve lost almost all hope for England. It’s a country where when the government said that it wanted every email to be recorded, saved and sniffed, the only meaningful opposition to it was complaints about the cost.

  27. I thought Clegg was supposed to be a bit of a clown…

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