Tuesday, 24 October 2017


Defence of individual liberty at the heart of our mission

Members of the National Liberal Party celebrated Magna Carta Day a symbolic day of liberty on Wednesday the 15th in different ways. Some tied orange ribbons, some put plaques around trees – a symbolic icon of liberty and freedom from 19th century Europe. Some wore the colour orange – a symbolic colour of liberty. Some no doubt toasted the day in the evening.

Throughout the week we ran a ‘Liberty Literary Week’, hosting articles and poems from supporters touching on aspects of freedom. All this discussion and symbolism however does have a practical end.

We are very lucky in the West to be able to express ourselves, by and large, openly. Many around the world are unable to voice dissent without harassment, imprisonment or worse. It is not an accident that many political refugees cite the UK as their role model.

Lost Liberties?

Yet the very fact that we have so much more freedom than most has made us complacent, as if it will always be so? It has not always been that way. As recent articles on the struggles to organise labour in the past and ones of present moves to cut access to legal representation shows it is possible to go backwards.

‘External’ events can bring unpleasant consequences. The so-called ‘War on Terror’ introduced new laws and reduced old sensibilities to individual liberties. But whether externally driven or not, the inertia of Authority is always to gather more power and control. For functionaries of the state anything that may make their professional lives more easy is bound to be attractive. For example, holding a million innocent peoples DNA on Police databases marginally assists the force. Having cameras spying on us all will help them too. Having access to all our e-mail, phone calls or Internet searches will be useful. But in order to obtain some marginal advantage in a fight against crime or terrorism we sacrifice our privacy and ultimately allow a future, less benevolent, regime to more easily turn upon other such ‘undesirables’ i.e. political dissidents.

We would however, as the American Benjamin Franklin once said, take the view that “He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security”.

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Watchdogs

What allows us to maintain our liberties are fundamentally not acts of law or ordinary functionaries of the state but ‘watchdogs’ whether in the form of political parties, pressure groups or actually empowered officers (the National Liberals would like to see a Government Civil Liberties watchdog). Without a Constitution that enshrines civil liberties or even with one, the safeguard of our liberties rely upon people like you who are prepared to be active in the defence of liberty. Join us!

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