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« Allen Carr: blast from the past | Main | Hockney: Brighton breezy »

Saturday night at the movie

BinCrapLaws_200.jpg On Saturday, having missed an earlier screening in London, I finally caught up with Taking Liberties (the movie). Venue was Warwick Arts Centre, on the university campus. Director Chris Atkins, a graduate of Warwick, was there too, taking questions from the audience.

Taking Liberties is a Channel 4-style documentary that examines the way that New Labour has ruthlessly restricted some of the civil liberties we take for granted: freedom of speech, the right to protest etc. It explains how our privacy can be invaded, how we can be detained and even extradited without trial (even when the alleged offences have been committed in this country).

It goes on too long and is less focussed than it might have been, but that's understandable because there is so much more that could have been included (and isn't). Editing all that material into a simple narrative must have been very difficult. (Don't forget that Labour has introduced 3,000 new criminal offences, more than any other government, since 1997.) However, it's thought-provoking, never boring, and there are some very funny moments that disturb and entertain in equal measure. 

Taking Liberties is released on June 8th, but only in a handful of cinemas. If you want to see it, before it comes out on DVD or is shown on television, you will almost certainly have to lobby your local cinema. If you want others to see it, you MUST support it on its opening weekend otherwise it won't get a wider distribution.

PS. None of those watching the film on Saturday will be the least bit surprised by the lead story in today's Daily Telegraph. Full story HERE.

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Reader Comments (11)

To repeat what I have already said elsewhere about this film .... I have yet to see it but from the trailers I've seen and reports I've read it appears to describe the decline of the UK into a police state. I think this is absolutely fine as a theme for a documentary film.

The very real danger about this film is that people will conclude that the Labour party is to blame and so all we need to do is vote for the "right people" and all will be reversed.

I say NO. The problem with government is not the particular people who happen to be wielding the power at any particular time. The problem is that whether the people are sane or insane, bright or stupid, decent or corrupt they have the power to do very bad things. We should not be permitting that kind of power to anyone.

May 28, 2007 at 14:48 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

In case anyone is wondering....

I am not now and have never been a member of the Labour Party and I have never even thought about supporting them since I was at school.

I voted Conservative in every election from the mid 70s until 1997. Since then I have consistently voted for None of the Above and will continue to do so. I do actually vote for none of the above. I don't just mean that I don't bother to go to the poling station. I cross out the other candidates and add None of the Above to the ballot paper.

May 28, 2007 at 14:53 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

When in 2004 Dr John Reid said:
"All I say is be careful, please be careful that we don't patronise people. As my mother would put it, people from those lower socio-economic categories have very few pleasures in life and one of them they regard as smoking."

Here is link:

Dr John Reid was attacked by everyone including “scientific palm reading society” and he didn’t get any support from people that are campaign for freedom of choice.

I think that we have better government that we deserve.

We are entering new Dark Age where cognitive abilities of humans are impaired by fear from illnesses and death and mostly from all the humans ability to understand real cause of ilnesses is obstracted by scientific fraud that is by most people in good will accepted as scientific fact

May 28, 2007 at 16:11 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

I agree with the general thrust of your comments Bernie, but I will add that the Labour Party is much more prone to state interferance than the Tories and hence, I contend, that the general condition of nanny statism would have not been so strong under the Tories as it is not so much their natural incination.

However, we are now so far down the line of corruption and control that, as you say, simply voting for the "right" people will not do the trick. Moreover, Cameron is profoundly self-centred, at least, he gives that impression, and hence "Davo's"
inclination will he to run with anything that furthers his personal cause and principle be damned.

There is only one answer now: people power, except of course that that option will probably not be engaged due to apathy and the addiction to shopping. The latter has indeed become the opium of the masses.

May 29, 2007 at 0:17 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy

I agree about the one answer and about Cameron Blair.

I wouldn't blame shopping for apathy and I wouldn't count on apathy lasting forever if I were a part of the ruling class.

As more and more people are pushed into corners they will eventually find out their only option is to stand and fight. The human spirit can take an awful lot of crap but eventually it always fights back.

I don't have any problem with shopping at all. I consider voluntary trading between consenting adults as one of the highest forms of social interaction. We are enriched by it.

We are also enriched by sitting and talking with our friends in pubs so it might be the case that soon shopping will be our only form of social interaction!

Shopping does not send people to sleep. Nor does it numb their minds and make them feel there is nothing they can do about conditions they'd like to change. Nor does it create false enemies for us to blame.

The "opium of the masses" is still an apt description for something, for surely there is something that is preventing an awful lot of people from waking up and seeing what is really happening.

I would say that the "opium" is nothing more than plain and simple, yet very sophisticated and highly prevalent, propaganda. It is impossible, no exaggeration, to listen to any news program without being told that there are dangers in the world that can only be solved through the State making some kind of new regulations.

There is criticism of some people in power but there is never criticism of the power they hold.
Instead we are ceaselessly bombarded with two messages;
1. The State can solve any problem.
2. There ought to be a law.

Try an experiment for two weeks and refuse to read a newspaper, listen to the radio or watch any TV at all. Then watch a single news program and it will become obvious.

May 29, 2007 at 13:08 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

My theory is that many people are chained to working all the hours God sends to pay off their mortgages - and what free time they have is spent worrying about interest rate rises - worrying about whether they're keeping up with their peers - worrying that if they don't do everything perfectly and keep up with all the negative health-scares/live a 'zero-risk' life, they might be accused of abusing their children - trying not to be frowned upon for doing something that might exacerbate global warming - worrying that the man next door might be a terrorist - worrying that they're two pounds overweight - worrying that the thing that was supposed to be 'good for you' last week is 'bad for you' this week. Too many people are in a fear-obsessed cycle. It's destroying their quality of life and wearing them out. They're so bombarded with things to worry about that they don't have time to see the wood for the trees.

Just my opinion.

May 29, 2007 at 15:22 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy

Nice one Poppy. And part of the point I was making.

About 90% of everything in the main stream media is designed to have that effect. I don't know if it is as successful as you describe though:-)

May 29, 2007 at 15:55 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

I hope you're right Bernie. Speaking as a woman, I've found all this worrying to be truer of women (mainly middle-class and middle-class aspirants) than men.

There's a lot more I could say on the subject (since being seen as loyal to 'the sisterhood' doesn't even register on my list of priorities) - but I'd probably bring a lot of wrath down on my bonce, so I'll leave that there ;)

May 29, 2007 at 16:06 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy

Aw, come on Poppy, say more. That was getting interesting!

May 30, 2007 at 0:08 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy

LOL Blad. No really.... I'd be scorning so many that it'd be 'Wrath City' - best not go there ;)

May 30, 2007 at 19:04 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy

There is actually a man in America, currently trying for the nomination as presidential candidate, who I would actually vote for if there were someone like that here. Here is one of his speeches. It is very much on the subject of this thread.

May 31, 2007 at 13:15 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

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