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Labour has taken liberties

August 21, 2008

Well done to the Hastings Against War group who organised a very interesting evening on Tuesday.

Our MP, Michael Foster, was invited to speak on Labour’s civil liberties record.

Fortunately for Michael, there was no vote at the end of the meeting to test whether or not he had persuaded people of his arguments.  But there was certainly some strenuous debate on a number of key issues, including British foreign policy (and its implications for defence policy), ID cards, 42 day detention without charge and intercept evidence.

Labour will not be able to escape a vote altogether.  It will be one of the key aspects of the forthcoming General Election.

Interestingly, in his defence of the Government, Michael suggested that a Conservative government would not have acted any differently in respect of civil liberties. 

I can’t think of a better reason to vote Liberal Democrat.

Here is a recent comment on the subject from Cath Elliott writing in the Guardian (Cath is a former Labour Party supporter):

‘In cahoots with an equally distasteful American regime, the New Labour government has masterminded and overseen an erosion to individual freedoms and liberties that both Thatcher and Reagan, even in the darkest days of their rule, could only have dreamed of. Not content with removing all ethics from our foreign policy, they are doing their damnedest to make sure that before we know it, civil liberties and human rights at home will soon be nothing more than a distant memory. ID cards, “Sus” laws, 42-days detention, extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, torture, juryless trials, secret prison ships, a hidden network of “black sites” where suspects are interrogated and who-knows-what-else away from prying eyes and ears: these are all the stuff of fiction, of spy novels and sci-fi. They’re the stuff of nightmares, the grimmest of fairy tales brought to life, with our government firmly in the role of bogeyman.’ 

Here is the article in full.

[What do you think of Labour’s record on civil liberties?]

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