Sunday, May 20

Will Our Grandchildren Forgive Us ?

Shami Chakrabarti the enigmatic freedom activist writes a thoughtful piece in today's Sunday Telegraph. Ms Chakrabarti takes as her theme the currently fashionable and boring line of Tony Blair's legacy; though today's op-ed is far from boring.

As Ms Chakrabarti eloquently states, the right to free speech, to protest, to a fair trial, to privacy all have diminished during the Blair years. The point for debate is, of course are those diminished freedoms a necessary restriction of the times we live in and would the situation we have ended up with have been any different under the tenure of a different premier.

As the Director of Liberty herself profoundly points out she is like the grim reaper If you see him about then something pretty awful is happening. It is indeed a sad reflection of the way things have been that we have in recent years seen a lot of 'Reaper(ess)' Chakrabarti.

The full article is linked to the bottom of this posting and deserves a good reading. Well highlighted is the law that requires police permission to protest peacefully in Parliament Square. Truly an affront to the fundamental right to free speech. We on this blog are still appalled at the sight of sons (and a few daughters) of the landed gentry, farmers and farm workers being battered about the head by over reacting bad tempered Metropolitan Police Officers a few years ago out side our mother of all Parliaments on the occasion of the abolition of the fox hunting demonstration.

Ms Chakrabarti and Liberty make much of the Guantanamo Bay detainees and that Blair has never "unequivocally condemned the scandal". Yet in war and the fight against terrorism is very much a war, interrogation practices are sometimes unpalatable; as indeed are the products of terrorism. A balance is difficult and the detainees were not planning their annual holiday walk in the Khyber Pass when they were picked up by our American allies.

The article refers to the increasing hypocrisy of our political class when it comes to privacy. When politicians' expenses are scrutinised, they seek exemption from Freedom of Information. When our privacy is up for grabs they say ''Nothing to hide, nothing to fear."

A case in question was as recently as Friday when MPs opted by 113 votes to 27 to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act; in so doing confirming that there is one law for them and one for everyone else. There is no good reason why MPs should keep information from the people when the rest of us now have considerably reduced rights of privacy. More on this issue will be covered in the Blog later in the week.
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Some reference is made by Ms Chakrabarti to the Government's hype of the proposed National ID card. If Liberty were to achieve nothing else over the next few years other than provide an effective leading opposition of the grand and dangerous folly of the Identity Card legislation the organisation they will receive the humble respect of this blog.

Finally as Shami Chakrabarti concludes: ''One thing is certain, if we an educated electorate give up as much in the next decade as we did in the last, our grandchildren will not forgive us."

Indeed so, the terrorists must not win. Every time our basic freedoms are eroded, every time the British way of life is intruded upon 'in the interests of security' the terrorist achieve yet an other victory.


Shami Chakrabarti's article can be read in full by clicking here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/05/20/do2001.xml

1 comment:

luke said...

Above mentioned lady, Shamless Akrobati (Director of Liberty, an organisation "fighting" for human rights), never "fights" a cause outside Britain - or the West. She knows, fighting the horrible human right abuses in Somalia, Sudan, Algeria ... you name it, is very DANGEROUS and DOESN'T PAY well.

She then better fight the Gov... The worst thing that can happen to her is to be elected ambassador to XYZstan, world bank, EIBRD, UN or some other place well paid by tax money. I bet we see her there in 7 years time.