This is not going to be just any Thatcher rant…. this one is relevant in light of recent weeks events. It is no secret that power in Britain rests almost exclusively with the government of the day, oppositions seek it, governments hoard it. Before Labour came to power their rhetoric defended civil liberty, now they have been in power for over a decade they have acted in such authoritarian ways that the future of civil liberty is being seriously called in to question. It is readily accepted that there has been a ‘Thatcherite’ consensus on economic matters that mean all the three main parties sing from a similar hymnsheet. Despite recent blips that battle is won. But there is one battle that remains to be fought, a battle in which the Conservatives can revive the spectre of Margaret Thatcher to great effect.
This is in the battle for the freedom of the individual. There have been many criticisms levelled at Margaret Thatcher and her methods but one theme consistently supported and respected is Thatchers staunch defence of the liberty of the individual. Thatchers defence of the indvidual over her 11 year premiership is clear, whether it be fighting for the slaves of communism or the people of the far off Falklands, allowing people to buy their own for perhaps the first time, fighting the fat cat union bosses who held the country and indeed their members to ransom, or using the battle of ideas to defeat communism and socialism which had all but bankrupted global economies, Thatcher fought for and defended the liberty of people the world over. Yet her successors have failed to do so with the same vigour.
Under New Labour, which for all its social rhetoric is regarded as our most authoritarian to date, our civil and individual liberties are for perhaps the first time in living memory being seriously called in to question. In October 2006 it was reported that Britain has an estimated five million CCTV cameras, one for every 12 citizens, comprising a fifth of the world’s cameras. Given that Britain occupies only 0.2 per cent of the world’s inhabitable land mass, that is quite an achievement! Add to that the folly of Labour’s identity cards scheme, the 1000 extra MI5 officers, the wildly expansionist plans for a DNA database, the abhorrent arrest of Damian Green MP by 9 counter terrorism police, terror detention without charge to 42 days and a recent decision to allow virtually every public body across the land access to citizens’ telephone records, and a picture is emerging of a state out of control.
However Labour control-freakism doesn’t stop there. Street protests are now frequently banned, and where they do take place, even the most uncontroversial ones are ostentatiously filmed by the police to add to their ‘records’. Countless New Labour Home Secretarys have, among other things, sought to remove sentencing powers from judges; weaken safeguards for those accused of criminal offences; remove the right of jury trial; criminalise asylum seekers; and form a national gendarmerie. Now I am all for strong government but New Labour is blatantly authoritarian bordering on fascism. The worst part is they hide their wicked deeds behind a devalued currency of ‘social action’ and ‘society’.
The fact is society has gone to the dogs under Labour. Britain is broken and arguably for the first time people are actually beginning to feel scared of the execcessive influence and control this government appears to be taking on our lives. What started off as a ‘New Labour project’ is fast becoming a regime. Cameron and the Conservatives have this government on the ropes, as the latest 15% lead indicates, all we have to do now is show some true Thatcherite conviction and stand up and fight for the liberty and freedom of the individual and we’re on for a landslide. So one post-Thatcher battle remains to be fought between those who value individual rights and those who wish to sacrifice them on the altar of the state. When the hammerstroke of history falls I hope we find ourselves on the right side.
“Let me remind the honourable gentleman that he would not have the freedom of speech which he puts to such execellent use… unless there had been people prepeared to fight for it!”
– Margaret Thatcher