Saturday, 15 January 2011

Norwich City Council abuses terrorism laws

David Campbell Bannerman has criticised Norwich City Council for using the regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to send undercover investigators into pubs in the city to make sure they aren't flouting the smoking ban.

I personally detest smoking and am more than happy with the ban.  I'd be even more happy if smoking was banned in public places so non-smokers - particularly those with asthma or other respiratory problems - don't have to breathe in other peoples' smoke when they're out and about.  I know that's not very libertarian of me but that's my opinion.

However, the issue here isn't the smoking ban; it's Norwich City Council's abuse of a law that was intended to help them investigate terrorism and serious and organised crime and their criminal waste of taxpayers money.  RIPA was passed to find evidence of people committing serious crimes, not people smoking in pubs or even tracking down people with outstanding library fines.

It could have been different of course, the people of Norwich could have elected Glenn Tingle last year instead of the rather scary looking Tory candidate, Chloe Smith.  UKIP believes in a small state, freedom of the individual and in stopping councils and other busy-bodies from abusing their powers.  Glenn Tingle would have taken Norwich City Council to task over their abuse of anti-terrorism laws and wasting taxpayers money but Chloe Smith ... not a peep.