I have today posted my colour to the mast by calling on Nick Clegg to explain again why he has supported and pushed through parliament illiberal legislation restricting the right to protest and introducing secret courts for civil action.
Those of you who know me know that this is not the first time I have directly challenged Nick on this issue, indeed I took the opportunity to challenge him at the leaders questions and answers session at conference two years ago, and received a reply which totally dissatsified me.
The arrest yesterday of my former colleague and good friend Donnachadh McCarthy for protesting in Paliament Square was an appalling act of police over-reaction in a country that used to proclaim its right to protest as a foundation of its democracy. The fact that that arrest was made under legislation introduced by Liberal Democrats in Government disgusts me.
The fact that those protestors may not be allowed to be present to defend a civil action against the police in response to these arrests due to the introduction of Secret Courts disgusts me even more.
Benjamin Franklin may well have been talking of the defence budget when he said ‘Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.’ but the statement echoes through the centuries to the actions of the police in Paliament Square, and to the politicians who passed the legislation the police used.