What we stand for

Michael Harris /   November 16, 2015 at 10:43 PM 4,092 views


In the justified outrage and horror at the events in Paris on Friday, it seems like it’s necessary to remind some commentators about what Islamic extremists seem to hate and we (should) seek to defend (I’ve included some recent comment pieces in brackets that appear to forget these values):

Respect for privacy (“I have less and less sympathy with opponents of new surveillance powers for the security agencies” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph, 16th November 2015)

Freedom of movement (‘Written in the blood of innocents, the folly of a Europe with no borders’, Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail, 16th November 2015)

Freedom of thought and religion (‘‘Close down all Mosques’, says UKIP candidate’, The Sun, 16th November 2015)

The rule of law and due process (‘Fury as Jeremy Corbyn OPPOSES ‘shoot to kill’ against terrorists on UK streets’, Daily Express, 16th November 2015)

Being judged as an individual (‘As the first plane-loads of Syrian refugees arrive, MAX HASTINGS reveals the deadly threat of Britain’s enemy within’, Max Hastings, Daily Mail, 16th November 2015)

Equality and diversity (“Don’t use this attack to defend multiculturalism. We don’t all love multiculturalism. We don’t all want equality the way you see it”, Katie Hopkins, Daily Mail, 14th November 2015)

Rational debate and discussion (‘Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t even have the decency to be angry about the Paris terror attacks’, Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph, 16th November 2015)

It’s called a liberal society, and we should defend it against anyone – foreign or domestic – who would seek to threaten or undermine it.

And while we’re at it, there are some other freedoms we need to defend at the moment as well:

Access to justice irrespective of wealth and power (‘Court charges could put pressure on defendants to plead guilty, claim judges’, The Independent, 16th November 2015)

The right to vote (‘Watchdog urges peers to block plans to take 1.9m names off electoral roll’, The Guardian, 23rd October 2015)

The right to protest (“It is vital we protect our right to free speech. It is vital we protect our right to protest. Which is precisely why tonight’s “demonstration” should not be taking place at all” – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph, 5th November 2015)

The right to withhold labour (‘The BMA’s strike threats ‘could be interpreted as a betrayal of the Hippocratic Oath’, Daily Telegraph, 13th November 2015)

Isn’t it strange then, that those who proclaim themselves to be the boldest ‘defenders of our values’ seem to be the most willing to throw them away?

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