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Convention on Modern Liberty

 
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dai



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 2853

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:10 pm    Post subject: Convention on Modern Liberty Reply with quote

http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/ advertises http://www.modernliberty.net/

for links to comments
http://www.modernliberty.net/coverage
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/modern-liberty
http://www.modernliberty.net/read-our-blog
http://www.modernliberty.net/participate/reading/blog-carnival-on-modern-liberty

and there is a do on 28th February, free to go :

http://www.modernliberty.net/satellite-conventions/cardiff

Cardiff Event

Presented by UNA Wales: Vale of Glamorgan.

This event is free (donations appreciated). No tickets needed, just turn up on the day.

Venue: St. David’s Hall - the world-renowned National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales.

Click here for a map and travel information.

This programme may be subject to change, so please contact us or check the CML website for updates.

Speakers

Kirsty Williams AM (Leader, Liberal Democrats)
Jenny Willot MP (Liberal Democrats)
Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru)

Draft Programme

09:45 Opening Key Note Address
Live on screen from London: Shami Chakrabati opens the Convention on Modern Liberty.

10:00 First Plenary: What is the Crisis?
Live on screen from London, with Q&A live from Manchester.
Chair: Georgina Henry. Speakers: Nick Clegg MP, Dominic Grieve QC MP, Helena Kennedy QC, David Lammy MP, Ken Macdonald QC.

11:45 Morning Session: Human Rights, Democracy and Governance - speakers TBC.
Speakers will be followed by a Panel Discussion with audience participation.

13:00 Lunch break

14:30 Afternoon Session: The Future of Freedom - speakers TBC.
Speakers will be followed by a Panel Discussion with audience participation.

15:45 Second Key Note Address
Live on screen from London, with author Phillip Pullman.

16:00 Second Plenary: Freedom and Democracy after the Market Meltdown
Live on screen from London, with Q&A live from Manchester.
Chair: Anthony Barnett. Speakers: Cory Doctorow, Chris Huhne MP, Will Hutton, Caroline Lucas MEP, Chuka Umunna.

17:15 Third Key Note Address
Live on screen from London, with David Davis MP.

17:45 Closing Session
Details TBC.

For further details, please e-mail cardiff@modernliberty.net
or telephone 029 2000 6347.
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dai



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 2853

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes the Times still Thunders

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5811412.ece

Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms
To mark the Convention on Modern Liberty, the children's author has written this articlePhilip Pullman
Are such things done on Albion's shore?

The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake's prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.

We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.

We are so fast asleep that we don't know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation - after all we have an Established Church - or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?

Background
£34bn cost of state-run surveillance databases
Former spy chief says UK is now a police state
First ID cards are to be issued within weeks
COMMENT: that's a bit rich, Dame Stella
The new laws whisper:

You don't know who you are

You're mistaken about yourself

We know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthless

We do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for you

And if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognised

The sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. This is what the new laws say about that:

Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activity

Whatever your opinions are, we don't want to hear them

So if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you are

And we do not want to hear you arguing about it

So hold your tongue and forget about protesting

What we want from you is acquiescence

The nation dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.

You are not to be trusted with laws

So we shall put ourselves out of your reach

We shall put ourselves beyond your amendment or abolition

You do not need to argue about any changes we make, or to debate them, or to send your representatives to vote against them

You do not need to hold us to account

You think you will get what you want from an inquiry?

Who do you think you are?

What sort of fools do you think we are?

The nation's dreams are troubled, sometimes; dim rumours reach our sleeping ears, rumours that all is not well in the administration of justice; but an ancient spell murmurs through our somnolence, and we remember that the courts are bound to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we turn over and sleep soundly again.

And the new laws whisper:

We do not want to hear you talking about truth

Truth is a friend of yours, not a friend of ours

We have a better friend called hearsay, who is a witness we can always rely on

We do not want to hear you talking about innocence

Innocent means guilty of things not yet done

We do not want to hear you talking about the right to silence

You need to be told what silence means: it means guilt

We do not want to hear you talking about justice

Justice is whatever we want to do to you

And nothing else

Are we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don't mind if we are. They don't think we care about it.

We want to watch you day and night

We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you

We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people

We can see you have abandoned modesty

Some of our friends have seen to that

They have arranged for you to find modesty contemptible

In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide

We want you to feel that solitude is frightening and unnatural

We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things

One of the pleasant fantasies that consoles us in our sleep is that we are a sovereign nation, and safe within our borders. This is what the new laws say about that:

We know who our friends are

And when our friends want to have words with one of you

We shall make it easy for them to take you away to a country where you will learn that you have more fingernails than you need

It will be no use bleating that you know of no offence you have committed under British law

It is for us to know what your offence is

Angering our friends is an offence

It is inconceivable to me that a waking nation in the full consciousness of its freedom would have allowed its government to pass such laws as the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the Terrorism Act (2000), the Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001), the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Extension Act (2002), the Criminal Justice Act (2003), the Extradition Act (2003), the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003), the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), the Inquiries Act (2005), the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), not to mention a host of pending legislation such as the Identity Cards Bill, the Coroners and Justice Bill, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Inconceivable.

And those laws say:

Sleep, you stinking cowards

Sweating as you dream of rights and freedoms

Freedom is too hard for you

We shall decide what freedom is

Sleep, you vermin

Sleep, you scum.

Philip Pullman will deliver a keynote speech at the Convention on Modern Liberty at the Institute of Education in London tomorrow

www.modernliberty.net
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