Taking Liberties

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Taking Liberties is a shocking, but hilarious polemic documentary that charts the destruction of all your Basic Liberties under 10 Years of New Labour.

Released to coincide with Tony Blair’s departure, the film and the book follow the stories of normal people who’s lives have been turned upside down by injustice – from being arrested for holding a placard outside parliament to being tortured in Guantanamo Bay.

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While there are many details in the video that are open to debate, the main premise that civil liberties are being eroded in Britain is difficult to argue with. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of issue that we don’t tend to think much about until we’re the ones experiencing injustice.

As the video points out it’s ironic that in trying to defy terrorism, the government is eroding key parts of the democracy that it is trying to protect. Parts of the video reminded me of the TV series 24, where counter-terrorist agents get so focused on stopping a certain terrorist at all costs, that every idea of right and wrong becomes secondary to this focus. It makes for great TV, but isn’t a great way to run a country.

We have to be careful that we’re not so focused on the threat of terrorism that, driven by fear, we believe that anything is acceptable in order to eliminate this threat. Our moral judgments have to be based on striving for what is right rather fearing what is wrong.

The only way to counter terrorism is not through focusing on the threat, which produces fear, but by building a society based on love, justice, truth, respect and unity, as demonstrated so well by both political and religious leaders in Northern Ireland this week.

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