Today I finally got around to watching the DVD of Taking Liberties which I won courtesy of Liberal England - and I urge anyone who cares about freedom in this country to do the same.
I was already aware that the Labour government's record on civil liberties was terrible, but even I had my eyes opened as to just how poor it actually is. When someone can be threatened with arrest just for having the word 'peace' written on a cake, you know the idea that the UK can be considered a country in which freedom is valued is unfortunately just not true.
Chris Atkins' film is immensely thought-provoking. It covers all the well-known cases - the Fairford protestors, Maya Evans, Brian Haw, Walter Wolfgang, etc - as well as quite a few with which people might be less familiar. For instance, the EDO protest against an arms maker in Brighton was not one I had really heard of before. It also allowed people like former Guantanamo detainee Moazzem Begg and one of the people acquitted of the so-called ricin plot to have their say.
I don't think Atkins' film actually said anything which wasn't known before. What was effective was bringing together in one place all the different ways in which Labour under Blair and Brown has been and is continuing to take away basic liberties which people have taken for granted for generations.
But despite the vast catalogue of infringements on our freedom, the basic message of the film is positive. It celebrates the fact that people can take on and beat the people who try and take away our liberties (the Fairford protestors, for instance, eventually won their case in the House of Lords).
So, while I would recommend that everyone see Taking Liberties, I would empasise that watching it is not enough. If you care about freedom in this country, then join Liberty, support NO2ID (that reminds me, I really must get around to sending off my pledge money), join one of the demos in Parliament Square, I don't mind what you do (yes, you!), but do something.
After all, it's your freedom that's being taken away.
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