The utter failure of the Conservative Party to challenge the Civil Contingencies Act, ID Cards, denial of the right to self-defence, arbritary bans on smoking, etc., leaves the population politically helpless.
The Liberal Party has traditionally been the party most associated with civil liberties, but while the modern Liberal Democrat party nominally hangs on to its beliefs, it does not inspire confidence that civil rights are a high priority, nor are they a major campaigning subject. A Liberal Democrat party with a share in power would seem more likely to push its European, Welfarist and (in the current context) pacifist policy directions much harder than civil liberties.
Some have optimistically suggested that UKIP might force the Conservative party to be replaced, somehow producing a party with more sympathy for the liberty of the individual. UKIP’s organisational problems apart, one must bear in mind that UKIP’s membership and core support are likely to be just as sympathetic to authoritarianism as Howard’s party.
UKIP has shown, however, that in the modern world of narrow-based parties, it is possible for a new party to have an effect on the national politics, and, most of all, on the public agenda.
Is it time for a new party to take up the cause of freedom against the totalitarian tendencies of the current political class? It could not be a Libertarian Party; to get votes it would have to accept the status quo of the current bloated state, and it would be unwise to take the hunting ban as a central issue; and it would have to oppose specific EU abuses without explaining how they could be prevented without leaving the EU, but if a party could grab 10% of the vote on a platform of rolling back the Nanny State and the Surveillance State, it would at least bring the topics into the political mainstream.
Update: Added another post on the subject.