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Brits happy to ditch civil liberties

The Register | August 23 2005

Three out of four Brits would happily hand over their civil liberties in exchange for better security against terrorist attacks, according figures from pollsters ICM.

It is interesting to note that this is the same general public that rails against any attempts to make them drive more slowly, or with more care. This is in spite of the fact that in 2004, 671 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents, and a further 2,550 people died in other road accidents.

The ICM/Guardian-backed survey found that 73 per cent of Brits overall support a trade-off between liberty and security. Tory voters are even keener than average to do so, with 79 per cent of respond ants backing the idea. Labour voters and Lib Dems came in at 72 per cent and 70 per cent in favour, respectively.

Further, 62 per cent of respondents were in favour of deporting foreign radical Islamists, even if that deportation was to a country that used torture. Only 19 per cent directly opposed this idea.

Similarly only 19 per cent opposed calls for terror suspects to be held for three months without charge, with 62 per cent welcoming the proposal. Currently, the upper limit is 14 days.

However, the poll also revealed that a sizeable minority was still in favour of having an independent judiciary.

Although 52 per cent of those polled said judges should not be able to rule against government measures, 40 per cent said they agreed that judges should "protect our civil liberty and continue to overturn anti-terrorist measures if they feel it is right to do so".

A spokesman for Liberty told The Guardian that the results of the poll were a cause for concern, but cautioned against knee jerk legislation.

He added that people would realise that defending our basic values would be a better way to protect our society, rather than passing "counterproductive" and "superficially attractive" security measures

 

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