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December 01, 2005

Garton Ash

Strange to find myself agreeing with Garton Ash I know but this is spot on:

Now here's what Tony Blair, the home secretary, the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet need to do. First, they should go back and read the magnificent pages in which John Stuart Mill explains why what he calls the "collision of opinions" is vital to the preservation of liberty, and why it is "obvious that law and authority have no business with restraining" attacks on either religion or what he calls "infidelity". (I know they are very busy people, so here's the exact reference: pages 58 to 61 in the Oxford World Classics edition of On Liberty. Private secretaries please photocopy and include in tomorrow's red boxes.) Then they should reflect on the example of a brave Somalian woman who, inspired by authors such as Mill, is risking her life every day to maintain our right to free speech. Then they should summon up the courage to risk just a little possible unpopularity from a small part of the electorate, and take forward the bill as amended. Is that too much to ask?

While they’re about it they might consider revoking a few other stupidities, the abolition of trial by jury, the ID cards nonsense, the racial hatred laws and so on. Fat chance, eh?

December 1, 2005 in Politics | Permalink


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