Carmichael: SNP plan intrudes on privacy

Alistair Carmichael is urging folk to “shout loudly” and oppose SNP moves which he says could threaten civil liberties.

Public consultation on Scottish government plans to expand access to an NHS central register to 120 public bodies is due to close tomorrow.

It is feared the move could see each individual assigned with a unique citizen reference number to accompany their data stored on one central database.

The Shetland MP says the plans would pose a “significant intrusion” on rights to privacy. He has highlighted comments from Baroness Shirley Williams which urged care to avoid a “sleepwalk into authoritarianism.”

Mr Carmichael said: “People in the Northern Isles will be alarmed to see a further centralising project from the SNP government in Edinburgh.

“Their ill-conceived proposals to expand access to the NHS central register would pose a significant intrusion on our rights to privacy.”

Successive Westminster governments have had previous form on planning similar legislation which may have threatened to impinge on civil liberties.

The previous Labour government planned to introduce ID cards. Mr Carmichael highlighted proposals since then from the Conservatives to bring in a “Snooper’s Charter”. He said the Lib-Dems had blocked the plans from their coalition partners which threatened to keep records of texts, emails and websites visited.

“I know from my own mailbag that many local people were concerned about the Snooper’s Charter. These plans to establish one massive central database shows that the SNP are no friends of civil liberties, either.”

He urged anyone concerned to make their voice heard by completing the consultation.



Add Your Comment
  • Ali Inkster

    • February 24th, 2015 15:01

    I seem to remember the SSnp saying before the referendum that westminster proposals to do this in England and Wales was one more reason to vote yes. The yes voters should feel like the animals at the end of Orwells Animal Farm.

    • Shuard Manson

      • February 26th, 2015 1:09

      Just because i dinna hiv dy wit. By SSnp, is du suggestin dey ir a branch of da Schutzsaffel?

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 26th, 2015 10:44

        Du said it Shuard.

      • Shuard Manson

        • February 26th, 2015 23:32

        I merely ask for clarification, du might have a sticky keyboard?

  • Harry Dent

    • February 25th, 2015 16:07

    I have to laugh when I see Liberals claiming to stand up for liberty when I recall that most of their MPs (including Mr Carmichael) voted for the Tories’ notorious Transparency of Lobbying Act (better known as the Gagging Law) which severely limits the ability of organsations to “shout loudly” in the months leading up to an election.

    • Brian Smith

      • February 25th, 2015 18:15

      To be fair to Carmichael, the Lib Dems’ support of the Gagging Law was primarily a desperate attempt to stop students campaigning against Clegg at the forthcoming election because of his fibs about university fees. Carmichael was just trying to save his beleaguered leader – a hopeless cause.

      • John Tulloch

        • February 26th, 2015 9:29

        Personally, Brian – pardon the cliche – I’m “sick and tired” of the cacophony of spin from the groups who bleated most about this. Presumably, it wasn’t in the Tories interest to save Clegg, so there must be more to this law than that?

        Does it also apply to the CBI, the Institute of Directors and the fossil fuel lobby?
        To WWF, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth?
        To the renewable energy lobby?
        To the trade unions?

        Let’s see what kind of folk opposed it:
        The British Medical Association,
        The Trades Union Congress,
        Friends of the Earth, and best of all,
        The Association of Professional Political Consultants 🙂

        Aw…quel dommage!…. as a democrat, i’m really gutted for them – NOT!

      • Brian Smith

        • February 26th, 2015 17:59

        You must read more carefully, John.

      • John Tulloch

        • February 27th, 2015 0:28

        Brian, I accept you didn’t say whether you think the “Gagging Law” was a good or a bad thing and assume you just wanted to “take a slice off” Alistair Carmichael and the Lib Dems. In most cases, that would be fine by me, however:

        Do you think students will be affected by the law, given it relates to money spent, as opposed to time spent?

        Does the Students’ Union £9750 in the bank, anyway?

        I know,….”Yes, but they’re saving it for the end of term.” 🙂

  • John Tulloch

    • February 26th, 2015 22:52


    I’m not convinced that putting short leashes with choke chains on the likes of ‘Big Business’, ‘Big Union’, ‘Big Green’ and ‘Big Political Lobby’ is such a bad idea.

    The campaign group ’38 Degrees’ doesn’t like the so-called “gagging law”, either, however, they point out that the act limits spending, not time spent by people so they are helping people to organise locally, start petitions, supporting campaigns and starting campaigns unaffected by the law, against non-political entities like, say, quangos, etc..

    Local people organising themselves to campaign for any issue they, choose, without ‘big money’ spin doctors drowning them out with tales of “castles in the air”.

    Local people like CURE and Sustainable Shetland, organising themselves to fight for their communities, pitted against ‘Big Council’ and ‘Big Renewables’ spin doctors, for whom money is no object and whose arguments are devoid of logic and based on demonstrably false premises, yet they carry on, peddling the same falsehoods, literally, ad nauseam.

    Big money groups who have direct access to politicians, and whose influence is inversely proportional to their money and worth.

    Nothing wrong with letting local people organise themselves. As ably demonstrated in the cases of CURE and Sustainable Shetland, you have a much better chance of hearing some valid arguments, instead of, frankly, a lot of trite crap e.g. children “being deprived of a good education in country schools” and needing a wind farm in Shetland to “save the Planet”.

    More than enough said!

  • Tim Parkinson

    • March 2nd, 2015 21:17

    If Alan F Hickman were still in the Salvation Army he would be gagged from writing his letter the Shetland Times regarding food banks and the “National Disgrace”.

    The Scottish Association of Social Workers can’t campaign about the impact of welfare reform on the people who need their services ( not to mention Social Workers having to spend vital time [paid for by you] interviewing and writing “chits” for people in order for them to be able to draw a food parcel)

    Teachers Unions need to be careful what they say about class size proposals; nurses about the fragmentation of the NHS by the amalgamation of Health and the local Authority into a separate agency in English metropolitan areas.

    All jolly handy really.


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