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The Bonfire of the Liberties


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1: The Growth of Police Powers 2: Surveillance and the Right to Privacy 3: Freedom of Assembly and the Right of Public Protest 4: Free Speech and the National Security State 5: A Permanent Emergency and the Eclipse of Human Rights 6: From Detention - to Control Orders - to Rendition 7: Conclusion - Political Power not Legal Rights

About the Author

Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King's College London, and is one of the country's leading civil liberties lawyers. He is the author of Freedom under Thatcher: Civil Liberties in Modern Britain (with Conor Gearty) and his other books include The Right to Strike and The Struggle for Civil Liberties (also with Conor Gearty).


Britain is undoubtedly a much better, informed and relaxed place to live than 13 years ago; one would really need to be a hidebound reactionary not to recognise this. On civil liberties, however Labour urgently needs to restore its credentials. It could make a start by having a long discussion with Professor Ewing and other critics about finding the right balance between liberties and effective protection against terrorism. * David Winnick, Tribune *
Keith Ewing has written an excellent and damning indictment of New Labour's record on human rights and the rule of law, marshalling his evidence with ease and great narrative power. It is a real tour de force. * James A. Grant, University of Oxford, The Modern Law Review *
It's very readable and something which all MPs ought to read, especially the new intake from 6th May 2010. Probably the single most important theme is the erosion of individual rights by the state and Ewing backs up each topical issue with breathless detail to justify the assertions made...a useful commentary on the parlous state of today's 'rights' * Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers *
...core content of considerable value... an excellent critique * Geoffrey Robertson, New Statesman.com *
...the definitive text on Labour government's attack on liberty and rights... * Henry Porter, Liberty cetral Blog, Guardian.co.uk *
...As a handy catalogue of the duplicity and chicanery displayed by this administration it is excellent... the book's greatest achievement is to translate often dense legal argument into something slightly more palatable to the general reader... * Paddy McGuffin, Morning Star *
The aims of this book appear to be twofold. First it provides a much needed documentation of the continuing 'erosion of civil liberties' (p.vii) that occurred under the previous Labour Government...Secondly, building upon this analysis, Professor Ewing aims to provide a politics-based solution to the deficiencies of the HRA. First and foremost, this book is about a contradiction...Professor Ewing powerfully demonstrates how empty the culture of liberty rhetoric has been, and shows that there has been a contradiction at the heart of Government. * Matthew Burton, Birmingham Law School, Human Rights Law Review 11:2 *

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