It was announced in the last week or so that the UK coalition government had plans to increase its online snooping on UK citizens. Whilst a few Brits may have shrugged their shoulders and said "so what?" the majority were outraged.
The Tory part of the UK coalition had revealed that new internet snooping legislation proposals would be announced in the forthcoming Queen's speech. The Lib Dem part of the coalition was up in arms.
Nick Clegg, Deputy PM and leader of the Lib Dems was quick to denounce his political allies. He assured the public that there would be a period of consultation and no changes would simply be implemented. PM David Cameron has contradicted this today stating emphatically that Mr Clegg and leading Liberal Democrats were at the table when the plans to increase spying were discussed.
Who is lying is hard to say. Both leaders and parties do not currently have a good track record for telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Perhaps there is an element of truth in what both men have said. We of course will never know.
The May local elections are just around the corner and if the snooping announcement is to cause any political fall-out it will be the Lib Dems who are affected. This is because voters who took a chance on voting LD had hoped for much more from this political party. They had not from the Tories.
Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron, has however gone on record as saying that his party will "kill" any attempts by the government to implement the changes, unless they are watered down. That last point is of course significant. How will they be watered down? Will what they call "watered down" be what UK voters believe that to be?
Still we have to remain hopeful. The current proposals would enable the increased monitoring of emails and internet use in real time, and without recourse to a judge for a warrant. Mr Farron has said that he and his fellow party members will not back "authoritarian laws"Well that is good to hear. Most people accept in time there will be some changes but no-one wants an expansion of UK Big Brother.
Whether we can rely on Mr Farron or trust him though is another variable. In the meantime we can but hope, lobby our MPs, make your voice heard at the elections and sign the many petitions out there, including the one at this blog.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog