Friday, May 05, 2006

Local Elections

I've voted yesterday for the first time in the UK (EU citizen are allowed to vote in local council and EU Parliament elections).

I voted Liberal Democrat, but with a heavy heart. I really wanted to vote Labour.

Local elections should, in my opinion, be decided on local administrative issues and not national politics, but I just couldn't get myself to vote for a party that is undermining civil liberties. Civil liberties are also important local polical issues for two reasons: Asbo's and CCTV.

Anti-Social Behavour Orders (Asbo's) are civil orders restricting the freedom of individuals considered to be behaving badly. Asbo's can be ordered on the basis of second hand evidence and a breach which is a criminal offence.(1) Asbo's are applied for by either a local council, the police or a registered social landlord. The application and use of Asbo's varies considerably in the UK, with some local councils applying for hundreds and others hardly any.

Surveillance cameras or CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) are everywhere in the UK. Wherever you go in UK towns and cities you constantly being watched. Most of the cameras are installed by local councils or local shopping associations and are often run by private security firms. It really is an Orwellian experience to live in the UK. For more on surveillance cameras see (which has some interesting reports, two comparing video surveillance in Denmark and Norway)

Charles Kennedy stated at last years Liberal Democrat Coference that the dividing line in politics is not longer Left vs. Right, but rather between Authoritarian and Libertarian. I agree completely with that statement and I voted Liberal Democrat becaue Labour has, in my opinion, aligned itself with the Conservatives in the Authoritarian camp

1. See Kennedy, Helana. Just Law (London, Vintage Press, 2004) p. 218.


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