I attended much of the second reading debate on the Protection of Freedoms Bill today, conscious that liberty is still the subject about which I have written most, judging by the tag cloud, bottom right.
There’s much in the Bill to be glad about and I shall certainly support it but of course I would have liked it to do more. I discover that many of my colleagues are less concerned about these issues than I might have liked: we have come a long way since Pitt, Gladstone and Disraeli.
For example, from Pitt:
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
Reagan was quite spectacular:
You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin — just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. […]
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to
take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.
And indeed in our own country, we have departed far from the commitment to liberty which Churchill expressed here:
If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
Still, lets take the improvements we can get…