Friday, 20 February 2009


One of the problems with the erosion of liberty in Britain over the last
decade was that the public failed to pay attention to what was happening in
Parliament. Laws that fundamentally challenged our traditions of rights and liberty and flew in the face of the Human Rights Act (“HRA”) were passed with relatively little debate.
Few grasped the impact they would have on our society and Ministers were able to brush aside protests with assurances that their desire to protect us was equal to their respect for civil liberties.

The difficulty campaigners faced was to press home the argument about the
scale of the loss. An account was needed to show that the legislative programme,
which swept away centuries old rights and transferred so much power from the
individual to the state, actually existed.
Now we have that evidence and the
Convention on Modern Liberty can demonstrate with confidence what Britain has
and discuss how this crisis of liberty took root in one of the world’s oldest
democracies and what to do about it.

This report by the UCL Student Human Rights Programme (“UCLSHRP”)
is a concise and approachable inventory of the loss. It is a profoundly disturbing
document, even for those who thought they knew about the subject, for it not only describes the wholesale removal of rights that were apparently protected by the HRA and set down nearly 800 years ago in Magna Carta, it also shows how the unarticulated liberties that we assumed were somehow guaranteed by British culture have been compromised.

The same is true of constitutional safeguards that
were once considered beyond the reach of a democratically elected legislature.
The attack is as broad as it is deep. Over 25 Acts of Parliament and some 50
individual measures are involved.

It concerns you all, so please read it all. It's not a particularly lengthy document. And while you're reading it, do bear in mind the repeated incidents of legislation being introduced ostensibly for one purpose, then being used for another. For example, can anyone even begin to explain why anti-terror legislation should be used against an Icelandic bank? Yes - that does read 'Icelandic'. Iceland? Terrorist? ... there's something wrong with this picture isn't there. Or Walter Wolfgang, a former internee in the Nazi concentration camp system, arrested under anti-terrorist legislation for shouting one word - "Nonsense" - at Jack Straw.

Read it - everyone needs to know this stuff because what is legislated against immigrants, terrorists or indeed anyone else today, WILL be used against you tomorrow.

Would you like to bet otherwise? Based on experience of the past 12 years?


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