Brown's Speech on Liberty - The Transcript
Prime Minister Gordon Brown will seek to address critics of his record on civil liberties with a high-profile speech about the need to balance the demands of security and liberty.
I suppose it will be a rerun of his Speech on Liberty (25 Oct 07) - a fine speech:
I want to talk today about liberty - what it means for Britain, for our British identity and in particular what it means in the 21st century for the relationship between the private individual and the public realm.
I want to explore how together we can write a new chapter in our country's story of liberty - and do so in a world where, as in each generation, traditional questions about the freedoms and responsibilities of the individual re-emerge but also where new issues of terrorism and security, the internet and modern technology are opening new frontiers in both our lives and our liberties.
Addressing these issues is a challenge for all who believe in liberty, regardless of political party. Men and women are Conservative or Labour, Liberal Democrat or of some other party - or of no political allegiance. But we are first of all citizens of our country with a shared history and a common destiny.
And I believe that together we can chart a better way forward. In particular, I believe that by applying our enduring ideals to new challenges we can start immediately to make changes in our constitution and laws to safeguard and extend the liberties of our citizens:....
And my starting point is that from the time of Magna Carta, to the civil wars and revolutions of the 17th century, through to the liberalism of Victorian Britain and the widening and deepening of democracy and fundamental rights throughout the last century, there has been a British tradition of liberty - what one writer has called our 'gift to the world'.....
Now is the time to reaffirm our distinctive British story of liberty - to show it is as rich, powerful and relevant to the life of the nation today as ever; to apply its lessons to the new tests of our time.
So instead of invoking the unique nature of the threats we face today as a reason for relinquishing our historical attachment to British liberty, we meet these tests not by abandoning principles of liberty but by giving them new life. ...
we must never forget that the state and the people are not equivalent. The state is always the servant of the people.
We must remember that liberty belongs to the people and not governments.
It is the challenge and the opportunity for our generation to write the next chapter of British liberty in a way that honours the progress of the past - and promises a wider and more secure freedom to our children.
Hurrah! He'll be voting for David Davis next. But actions speak stronger than words, and however much he trumpets British Freedom and Liberty he has presided over the most illiberal and authoritarian crackdown on them since the Luftwaffe were flying overhead.