thenextwave

‘Liberties’ issues seem to be gaining momentum

Posted in civil liberties, emerging issues, politics, security by thenextwavefutures on 16 May, 2007

One of the premises of this blog is that when the same issue starts being addressed visibly by two different communities, then it’s likely to be a weak signal of some sort of change. And that seems to be happening now with concerns over the loss of civil liberties in the UK in the last decade, expecially since 2001.

For most of that time, Liberty – and a small collection of radical lawyers – along with the anti-ID card campaign NO2ID, have been the only people making these arguments, and it’s been easy – politically – to box them into a corner of the ‘they would say that, wouldn’t they?’, while playing the anti-terror card.

But the constitutional debate seems suddenly to have shifted with Blair’s resignation. Even before Brown’s remarks about a written constitution on emerging from Chancellor’s purdah, the issue had gained impetus.

Anthony Barnett at Open Democracy – usually a good bellwether on these things – had launched a blog-come-campaign, Our Kingdom, which is attracting energy from a range of contributors (in terms of their political views).

Last week, Jack Straw became (apparently) the first serving Cabinet Minister to say that he was in favour of a written constitution (at a Smith Institute event).

And beyond the political classes, there’s the imminent launch of a film called Taking Liberties, a documentary made by a young team of film-makers which will get a cinema release next month. To judge from previews, the approach seems to be more Michael Moore than Panorama. But as well as usual suspects such as Tony Benn, interviewees include Boris Johnson and the former Conservative Cabinet Minister Ken Clarke. (The trailer is here, and a preview last night was hosted by Vanity Fair).

There’s an argument made in Scotland (about the second devolution vote in 1997) that it succeeded because the ‘Constitutional Convention’ which was created after the first failed vote in the 1970s created a foundation which meant that people understood the issues; they had assimilated the need for change. It’s possible that the Power Commission, which published its final report a bit more than a year ago, has done something similar here.

And perhaps Charter 88 (now become Unlock Democracy following a merger) has had some impact on this as well. But I’m more sceptical about this.

5 Responses

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  1. […] thenextwave futures – trends – emerging issues – scenarios « ‘Liberties’ issues seem to be gaining momentum […]

  2. bigeasy said, on 25 May, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Taking Liberties does not address the lack of a public enquiry into the July 7th bombs.
    These issues need to be looked at.
    there is no cctv of the alleged 7/7 bombers – none on the bus, trains, platforms, ticket halls, car parks, etc
    there is no credible eye witnesses of any of the alleged 7/7 bombers
    the company in charge of london transport security VERINT engaged all its 1000+ employees on a drill to coincide with the bombs same stations same day, impossible for it to have been a coincidence

    Israeli embassy was issued with an alert BEFORE the bombs went off
    train times dont match 7.40am was cancelled
    all the bombs were military grade
    why was bombed bus the only bus diverted?
    how did ‘injured’ headband man appear before any medics or ambulances arrived?
    why did ‘muslim’ bus bomber grab an egg mcmuffin before blowing himself up?
    why did the bombers leave the ‘best’ bombs back in the boot of the car?
    why did they buy return tickets?
    why did they pay and display? they werent coming back were they?
    how did they keep the ‘mission’ secret from all their friends, families and relatives several had small kids one had a pregnant wife, if they really were clean skins how comes they crossed M15’s paths several times?
    Why did one mans documents survive the explosion and end up at SEVERAL bomb sites?
    Why did Ian Blair announce “there are definately 4 bombers” before anyone even knew then retract when he realised he had spoken too soon?

    What really happened at the outdoor retreat where they all went kayaking and team building. Was hypnotism or auto suggestion part of the course?

    The question why didnt the security services nip this in the bud before it happened?

    Because 7/7 was an inside job.

  3. […] couple more trends on the liberties issues I wrote last week of trends that seemed to be colliding and reinforcing the ‘liberties’ agenda. There […]

  4. […] Liberties’ – sign of different film economics? The film Civil Liberties, which I mentioned recently and which opens in London this weekend, seems to be a sign that the economics of the film market […]

  5. […] posts: Surveillance scepticism and the world of “pre-crime”; ‘Liberties’ issues seem to be gaining momentum; and Ted Heath’s prescient comment on liberties Explore posts in the same categories: civil […]


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