Ten times the House of Commons has voted recently on the Conservative plans for a Snoopers’ Charter. Ten times Tim Farron has voted against the Tory plans. And the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn? He hasn’t voted against even the once.
As Tim Farron recently tweeted:
Of course, this failure to stand up for civil liberties in the face of threats from centralised government power is a regular feature Jeremy Corbyn’s attitudes towards foreign governments too.
Here, for example, is Corbyn praising the Venezuelan government in 2015:
When we celebrate, and it is a cause for celebration, the achievements of Venezuela, in jobs, in housing, in health, in education, but above all its role in the whole world as a completely different place, then we do that because we recognise what they have achieved.
Yet here is what Amnesty International had to say about the Venezuelan government in its 2015/16 report:
Human rights defenders and journalists continued to face attacks and intimidation. Political opponents of the government faced unfair trials and imprisonment. There were further reports of excessive use of force by the police and security forces resulting in dozens of deaths, some in circumstances suggesting that they were unlawful killings. Most of those responsible for grave human rights violations during the 2014 protests were not brought to justice and there were concerns about the independence of the judiciary. Colombian refugees and asylum-seekers were deported, forcibly evicted and ill-treated. Prison overcrowding and violence continued. Survivors of gender-based violence faced significant obstacles in getting access to justice.
That is not a record to celebrate. That is not a trail of misery to praise as being different. That is not a record of thuggery to welcome as an achievement.
Things have hardly got better when you look at the votes in the House of Lords.
All this is of in line with Jeremy Corbyn’s past failure to take up civil liberties issues in the UK as illustrated by the issue he declined three times to take up when a constituent (me) raised it with him.