The LibDems deserve a certain amount of Brownie points for not caving in to the government's demands to yet more draconian legislation in response to terrorist threats. Mark Oaten, their home affairs spokesman, is talking sense when he says:
If we give up the fundamental principles of justice, we are giving in to the terrorists. And if we sacrifice our liberal society we will be weaker, not stronger.
The BBC's reporting of his statement contains a rather chilling phrase: it talks of the LibDems 'breaking the cross-party anti-terror consensus'. No quotation marks around 'anti-terror'. The nature of the consensus is presented as fact. So the implication must be that the LibDems are not truly 'anti-terror'.
Would it not be just as accurate to call it the 'cross-party anti-free-speech consensus' or the 'cross-party abolishing-ancient-liberties consensus'? Calling it an 'anti-terror' consensus is a matter of (highly contested) opinion, not a matter of fact. This might just be sloppy journalism, but the BBC should be more careful in its reporting on such contentious issues.