The Tories Emphasize Civil Liberties

There is an overlap between on strain of English conservatism and English liberalism. It's civil liberties, where one of the most ferocious critics of the police and surveillance state in recent years has been David Davies, a Tory. But the Lib-Dems have always been a civil liberties party. So what has Cameron done today? He's set out a platter of civil liberties positions to appeal to Lib-Dem voters:

And how about this potpourri of liberal demands on civil liberties from Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice secretary? He pledged to:

• Prevent councils snooping on people for trivial matters.

• Review the use of stop-and-search powers under the terrorism act.

• Change the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to strengthen the right to trial by jury.

• Review the operation of the extradition act and the UK/US extradition treaty to make sure "it works both ways and it does not result in vulnerable British citizens being packed off to America".

Grieve was pretty blunt:

Our message is this: if you care about our liberties, if you want people to be free from an overbearing state and if you want a government with liberal values vote Conservative.

Notice the phrase "vulnerable British citizens being packed off to America." Yes: America is now the place known internationally where people can get "disappeared," or sent off to the former torture camp, Gitmo. When it sinks in that this is how the British Tories now partly think of the US, you realize how much damage to the US Dick Cheney and George Bush really did.