(This is an open letter to my family, friends, and any UK resident who is concerned about preserving the freedoms we enjoy)
In the last few years we have seen a worrying trend. We live in times where terrorism is a major fear. Having lived through the attacks of September 11th and the 7th of July we are all intimately aware of the havoc that a few angry extremists can wreak. And yet we have responded to these attacks with fear; by demanding that these threats are eliminated at all cost we have sacrificed our liberties for the sake of cowardice.
Although the majority of our British compatriots are well intentioned, the media has frenziedly exaggerated the threat of Islamic extremism, and the government has taken advantage of that fear to push for more control over us. Legislation like RIPA; proposals for national biometric ID cards; the handing over of our private data to government agencies; all take away from the rights of innocent citizens. We are sacrificing the freedoms for which we have fought for a misguided feeling of security.
It is hard to argue against many of the attacks on our civil liberties without
being accused of being tolerant of the crimes which the new measures are alleged
to prevent. The fallacy that we must support these crimes to be against the
preventative measures has marginalised and stigmatised many of the defendants of
our rights. As President Obama summarised in his inaugural address, we must
reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
As more and more of these attacks on our liberties are foisted upon us, slipped secretly through parliament under popular legislation and argued for by a sensationalist media, there has been one voice that has been unwavering in their support of our rights and freedoms. Liberty is a organisation dedicated to supporting civil liberties in the UK. They have campaigned against ID cards, RFID tags, the threat to free speech and many more vital issues.
If we are to protect the liberties that we enjoy, to preserve our way of life with all of its freedoms, to defend the equality of all citizens and oppose totalitarianism, then we must support organisations such as this. I have already joined Liberty - I feel it is my duty as a citizen of the United Kingdom. I would urge you to do the same. The ultimate aim of terrorists is not to kill, but to destroy our values and way of life. We must fight to defend these values, and I believe that supporting organisations such as Liberty is a vital step in this goal.