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Nick Clegg to announce the Coalition's plans to hand power back to people from the state (though he still doesn't want to reduce the tax burden)

15634549 Nick Clegg is to make his first major speech as Deputy Prime Minister today, and he will use it to outline how the Government intends to reduce the power of the state over the individual.

He will promise to "tear through the statute book" - with the public being consulted on which laws it would like to see scrapped - the point which the Telegraph leads on today.

The Independent, meanwhile, lists some of the measures which the Coalition intends taking:

  • scrapping the identity card scheme and second generation biometric passports;
  • removing limits on the rights to peaceful protest;
  • a bonfire of unnecessary laws;
  • a block on pointless new criminal offences;
  • internet and email records not to be held without reason;
  • closed-circuit television to be properly regulated;
  • new controls over the DNA database, such as on the storage of innocent people's DNA;
  • axeing the ContactPoint children's database;
  • schools will not take children's fingerprints without asking for parental consent;
  • reviewing the libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

All this is music to the ears of all libertarian-minded Conservatives (like me) who became increasingly outraged at the way in which the Labour Government accrued more and more power and assembled the trappings of a Big Brother state over the last decade or so.

However, in an interview with The Times, Nick Clegg rather blots his copy book with the same small state Conservatives when asked about the issue of tax:

Asked whether he expected the Government to reduce the tax burden, he said: “No, I am saying we will rebalance the tax system. We’re not making great claims about the overall tax burden... The Conservatives have always been ideologically in favour of a tax reduction and the Liberal Democrats in favour of fairer taxes and the coalition agreement strongly emphasises the latter.”

Is not reducing the overall tax burden the ultimate way of reducing state power and giving people lower tax bills the best indication that you favour restoring power to individual people?

Jonathan Isaby


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