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« Smoking ban: petition the deputy PM | Main | The Great Repeal Bill: a plan for action »

Voices of freedom - join the debate!

I am delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new programme of events. In association with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Adam Smith Institute, Big Brother Watch, The Manifesto Club and Liberal Vision, The Free Society - a campaign launched by Forest in 2008 - is hosting a series of debates entitled Voices of Freedom: The Battle Against Big Government.

Subjects include Economic Freedom in Welfare, Big Government is Watching You, Can a Big Society be a Free Society?, Hyper-Regulation and the Bully State; and Who Holds the Liberal Torch in 2010?.

The debates - chaired by Iain Dale (Total Politics), Claire Fox (Institute of Ideas), James Panton (Manifesto Club) and Mark Littlewood (IEA) - take place next month at the IEA in Westminster. Make a note of these dates: Thursday June 3, Thursday June 10, Tuesday June 15, Thursday June 24 and Tuesday June 29.

Speakers currently confirmed include Philip Davies MP; Steve Baker MP; Michael White, assistant editor of the Guardian; Ross Clark, author of The Road To Southend: One Man's Struggle Against the Surveillance Society; Dr Eamonn Butler, director of the Adam Smith Institute; Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch and former chief of staff to David Cameron; Dr Tim Evans, president of the Libertarian Alliance; freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke; Chris Mounsey, leader of the Libertarian party; Josie Appleton of the Manifesto Club; and Daily Telegraph journalist Philip Johnston, author of Bad Laws: An Explosive Analysis of Britain’s Petty Rules, Health and Safety Lunacies and Madcap Laws. More speakers will be confirmed shortly.

Each debate begins at 7.00pm but prior to that there will be a drinks reception from 6.00pm hosted by The Free Society and sponsored by Boisdale of Belgravia.

Entry is free but strictly RSVP. Email or telephone 01223 370156.

Needless to say all readers of Taking Liberties are invited. For more details click HERE. For updates register your name and email address HERE.

And spread the word.

Reader Comments (16)

Bravo !

And if Nick Clegg REALLY means what he says about 'less' State control, then I shall be among the first to congratulate him.

I'm one of those weird types who actually ENJOY having their initially negative impressions of people corrected by subsequent events.

But the crucial question is: how MUCH 'less' ?

It's become a VERY big monster, State Control, and I rather think - troublesome Child of Liberty that I am - that merely trimming its toenails to make its hobnail boots feel more comfy (whilst kicking the crap out of us) will not quite fill the bill.

But at least he's raised the concept - which IS a good starting point.

Would it be TERRIBLY naughty of us, I wonder, to test his bona fides by raising (AGAIN) the subject of the Smoking Ban ?

But maybe I've misunderstood.................

May 19, 2010 at 8:22 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V


One organisation seems curiously absent from that splendid list of libertarian groups: the Freedom Association.

I hope they got an invitation, too ?

Pretty exciting stuff, nonetheless.............

May 19, 2010 at 8:32 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

This is more like it, and what people, whether they realise it or not, want to hear much more of, in the coming months and in the future of this new government.
I hope the 'freedom fighters' above will continue these debates on an ongoing basis and get 'the message' imprinted on peoples minds.
We've all had enough of the nanny state from the other lot.
The way to go guys!
Keep up the good work and let Britain once again be the pathfinders of liberty for the western world!
But dont forget to slip in the smoking ban in your talks!!

May 19, 2010 at 9:08 | Unregistered Commenterann

These debates are terrific fun and great social occassions. Everybody is extremely approachable so don't feel shy.

The people I am most looking forward to hearing are Steve Baker who recently has been elected MP for Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Philip Davies and Dr. Tim Carpenter.

Ever since Mark Littlewood joined the IEA, in their small garden they have installed an ashtray.

May 19, 2010 at 10:14 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Martin V, The Freedom Association (via its youth arm Free Spirits) is co-hosting with Forest and The Free Society a boat party on the Thames on Wednesday July 14 when there will be one or two guest speakers of mutual interest.

May 19, 2010 at 10:34 | Registered CommenterSimon Clark

One idea about the smoking ban - to stop people who like the ban starting to panic, push for private clubs to allow smoking. Then how private is a club? When I was in Salt lake City, the big mormom presence meant that all bars had to be a private club. but all that meant in practice was that if you were not a member, you had a pay a dollar (only One Dollar!) on the door for a lifetime membership. You got a little card and everything! Hardly difficult, and I wouldn't obeject to paying a pound as a one off charge of i could smoke with a pint again.

May 19, 2010 at 10:45 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

Headline on Sky News as Clegg makes his speech. 'We will repeal all laws that inhibit your freedom'. I know the one I want to see go! Lets hold him to his word.

May 19, 2010 at 11:26 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

Simon -

Thanks for that info.

Great stuff !

May 19, 2010 at 13:34 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Heck, I was breathless by the end of your post, Simon! Your excitement is infectious and understandable.

@Mark Butcher - I think that casinos in the UK which were membership only were free to join. For those of us who aren't pub goers, may we have private coffee shops and restaurants?

@Martin V - "Would it be TERRIBLY naughty of us, I wonder, to test his bona fides by raising (AGAIN) the subject of the Smoking Ban ?" The persecution is so insidious that there are smokers who are even now reluctant to raise the issue (thankfully not we bolshy ones here).

May 19, 2010 at 20:29 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

For those of you on Facebook me and Dick Puddlecote have put together a group called, "Nick Clegg: Include an Amendment to the Smoking Ban in the Repeal Bill."

Please sign up and invite all your friends please. This maybe one of our better hopes.

May 19, 2010 at 22:21 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Since I live in the North West, it will not be possible for me to attend, but I wish that I could. Enjoy anyway.

I do not think that we should expect too much from this initiative since the Libdems voted almost to a man for the ban...unless, when they voted for it, they were unaware just how draconian it was going to be. After all, as regards 'places', few people in their right mind would associate the words 'substantial' and 'enclosed' to mean 'tents'.
Personally, I think that the idea that 'Private Clubs' should be exempt is a non-starter. There is no significant, logical difference between 'private clubs' and 'private pubs'. This was the logical reason for the abandonment of the idea of 'wet' pub/ 'food' pub differentiation in the original Bill put before Parliament.

The really, really important idea is that private property is just that..

May 20, 2010 at 4:03 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

"The really, really important idea is that private property is just that."

Nail on the head, Junican !

And not just 'property', either.

Without wandering off into the vexing arena of Political Philosophy - the public/private concept is absolutely CENTRAL to the struggle between Individualism and Collectivism.

Guess which one favours Freedom ?

Guess which one is favoured by The Corporation (inc pubcos) and Government ?

Since 1940, the Collectivists have pretty much had their own way - simply by extending the notion of what is 'public' (or 'profitable') and thus by implication what is appropriate for additional interference, direction, and control.

In this sense, even your home is now potentially as much a 'public space' as the local park.

At least, for the Servants of Authority.

Where once it was "Open, in the name of the King !", it's now "Hi, my name's Derek - here's my card - and I'm from the XYZ Agency: we've been receiving reports that.........."

Are significant numbers of people at last waking up to the reality of what's been going on ?

Have they begun to read the omens ?

Let's hope so.

And when - at some time in the not-too-distant future - at least 51% of the population can be expected to claim greater concern over the loss of Habeas Corpus than over the loss of their mobile phone, we can be sure that we've made some progress........................

May 20, 2010 at 10:15 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I agree with Nick...oh no, I meant I agree with Junican, when he says "The really, really important idea is that private property is just that.."

The problem that I see with that outlook Junican, is that it is quite easy to get out of by the anti-smoking lobby, as all they need to point out is the "staff and customers" are members of the general public, and it is that general public that "they" must protect.

OK, so members of the public do not have to go into premises that allows smoking, but I think they could well argue that staff, do not have a choice. I would just say, "well don't work there then", but it could be argued that they might not have any option if they are unemployed and cannot get a job anywhere else.

Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but I think we all know what these awful people are like, and they will throw up any smoke screen (or should I say Ash-cloud) in order to keep control over our lives.

When this law was first passed I was very optimistic that we would get round it in one way or another, "all laws are made to be broken" was my motto, and I didn't see much of a problem with this one, "private clubs" I thought, that's the answer, but they soon covered that one. Then I thought that civil disobedience would obviously rise its head, and within a weeks or months at the most, everyone would once again be smoking in pubs etc., and what the hell could anyone do about it. But once again, they had thought of an answer on that one too, by making the landlord/owner responsible and fining them.

Please don't think that I am giving up, or advocating that anyone else should, all I am saying is that I think we need a completely new way of looking at this; most of the old ways have been tried, with very little accomplished.

We need lawyers to look at every aspect of not just the law itself, but to the way it is imposed and if it breaks any aspect of the human rights act in any way (not just the obvious). I am sure the law can be faulted, but it needs a very good team and I am afraid to say, a large sum of money, to prove this.

In the meantime, please don't put too much faith in Mr Clegg. I think you'll live to regret it!

May 20, 2010 at 13:29 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Peter -

Yes, of course the Antis will adopt the 'protecting staff and public' argument.

The traditional Reichstag Fire Tactic, in other words.

Perhaps, in the past, we should have relied less upon the harmlessness of SHS, and rather more on that trusty old defence of the Common Law: volenti non fit iniuria.

If the 'protection' argument is valid against bar smoke, then it must equally be valid against the hazards of the rugby scrum (and, indeed, all contact sports).

After all, no barman ever sustained neck and spinal injuries from a fuggy atmosphere - so far as I'm aware.

And - for the zillionth time:

No-one has a 'right' to a bar job.

No-one has a 'right' to be served in a pub.

But I'm forgetting, of course:

Bullies don't 'do' Logic.

Shall we, at least, credit THIS lot - for now - with the amazingly new insight that Bullies Aren't Loved ?

Worth a shot, Id have thought...............

(Keep your powder dry, though)

May 20, 2010 at 18:39 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Martin, there was an article on the news just now about a "new idea" to pay people to give up smoking (what a wheeze eh). Apparently they tried this latest experiment on something like 400 pregnant women (well it wouldn't be men would it) and the results were amazing! One in five actually gave up!

How about that then? And all it cost us for this "experiment" was a billion pounds. Only joking of course, but it might have well been a billion for all it was worth. I cannot remember the exact figure they came up with, but believe you me, it was a hell of a lot of money.

They even interviewed one woman on tv, who said it definitely helped her to give up in the fact that she had something to look forward to at the end of the week now. If she didn't stink of smoke, she then received, I believe £12.50. "That pays for groceries and lots of other goodies that I would have had to have gone without, had I spent the money on smoking", she said.

Wow, this lady really knows how to enjoy herself now doesn't she? Poor cow!

But to get back to my original point, what can we do when these miserable b*****ds are thinking up sh*t like this? What next is in sore for us?

The other side to the coin, is that I wondered (in the faintest of hope) that is this the dying act of the anti-smoking lobby? Is their game finally coming to an end, are the public, slowly but surely seeing through their diabolical game?

May 20, 2010 at 19:29 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Peter -

Your question "is this the dying act of the anti-smoking lobby?" is one that must have occurred to many of us here.

The Anti-Smoking Hysteria is, of course, just one aspect of the New Puritanism - albeit one of its most irksome.

I place my faith not so much in the ineffable reasonableness of our Masters (I ain't that stupid) as in the ebb and flow of Fashionable Ideas.

I trust that, in time, this mania to ban everything in sight will go the way of the spinning top, dance-halls, and beehive hairdoes.

(Let's hope it takes Celebrity Culture with it).

Freedom will become sexy (hence, fashionable) again.

Until the NEXT wave of frenzied Liberty-Bashing.

But in the meantime, if the Beast IS dying, we must expect a considerable thrashing-about before it finally succumbs.

And Deborah can at last get a proper job.

Park Warden sounds about right.

As for the Dim Bint you mentioned, I imagine that she'll probably soon find herslf buying that gold-embossed, calfskin-bound edition of the Collected Works of Dostoyevsky she's had her eye on for some time now.

So, it's not ALL bad news.......................

May 20, 2010 at 22:02 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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