• “We must put safety before liberty” – Tony Blair, paraphrased by The Telegraph, 24/02/2005
  • “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick
  • “The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.” – Edmund Burke

I’m going to have to stop thinking of Beard Clarke as a pitbull, and cast him as something with more nibbly teeth. Like a fascist hamster.

  • “There is no greater civil liberty than to live free from terrorist attack.” – Tony Blair, writing in The Telegraph, 24/02/2005

No greater civil liberty? No greater civil liberty? Not freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom to vote and think and dress and work as I please? No, clearly not. The freedom to not be blown up by terrorists is far more important – let’s ignore the fact that far fewer people are the victims of terrorist attacks than of incompetent government bundling of health, social security, transport or education. Unless New Labour is planning to offer vocational training in terrorism it’s difficult to see how Al Qaeda could ever pose a greater threat to most people than, say, MRSA. Or a seven day house arrest without judicial review. Or Ruth Kelly.

To be completely fair, Cicero disagrees with me. “Liberty consists in the power of doing that which is permitted by the law”, he boldly states. I can hear him now, calling down the years: “Let none listen to Aylett, lest he end up listening to himself!”. But then he was a wuss who would go and sulk every time he lost a case he was trying; and let us not forget that it was also Cicero who said “When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff”, something that a couple of millenia later has become enshrined as the way to get elected in America. Speaking of which:

  • “This young century will be liberty’s century.” – George W. Bush
  • “It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.” – Dick Cheney

(Cheney subsequently making it his life’s work to ensure that no American ever again takes liberty for granted.)

And in case you were thinking that judicial review of cases which (for reasons that have never been explained) cannot be prosecuted will make us all happy, free, safe bunnies:

  • “Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.” – Edmund Burke

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