Liberty Belle

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: The former National Council for Civil Liberties is now simply called Liberty. Shami Chakrabarti is the Director of Liberty having joined in September 2001, and has spent the last four years campaigning against the increasingly repressive anti-terrorist measures since 9/11.

According to the website, the ex-Home Office barrister believes that human rights should be at the core of society’s value system. She campaigns for a ‘culture of respect for human rights’ and is often seen on the box putting the case in this increasingly repressive age.

She is assisted by being photogenic, cute even, and not coming over as paranoid (unlike Guido) about the government. Shami is the voice of liberal reason, in contrast to Hazel Blears say, who is the robotic voice of illiberal spin, the Big Mother for our age. Shami is a permanent feature of broadcast news as Britain becomes a shoot-on-suspicion, ID-card-carrying, trial-without-jury, internment-without-trial, house-arrest-by-fiat, ASBO and control-ordered type of place.

Liberty is reputedly laden with Hampstead liberals, but increasingly right-wing libertarians recognise the value of an organisation which was once monitored by MI5 as subversive (in the days when Patricia Hewitt was involved). Liberty is not really a twenty wonk strong think-tank, its more a human rights organisation. Something worth supporting whatever your party allegiance.


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