Author Archives: Shane Burke

Save Palestine by rediscovering the British Liberal tradition

Right now, as events unfold in Gaza, a test case is emerging for British Liberalism, and European Liberalism more broadly, the response to which will say a lot about the state it is in within Western Europe. That test case is the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict.

For too long, some liberals have been indifferent to the persecution of Palestinians by the Israeli state, with the honourable exception of the Liberal Democrats. A lack of forceful criticism or forbidding expression of objection to the actions of the Israeli state, in the case of Emmanuel Macron, is to the disgrace of the noble cause of liberalism. That is why British liberals need to rediscover their liberal heritage to save the reputation of liberalism as something more than what cynics dismiss as mere talk.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Undercover policing – the status quo is a danger to political rights

The Liberal Democrats should be commended for their principled opposition to The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (criminal conduct) Bill, which is better known as the “spycops” bill. Yet, they have much work to do in securing the civil liberties of their fellow citizens. What has gone on with undercover policing for decades is a threat to hard won political liberty and social progress. Liberals have to learn lessons of undercover policing gone wrong from the Undercover Policing Inquiry.

With all due respect to Baron Paddick, who wrote the article The ‘spy powers’ bill is a step too far, he needs to realize the status quo of undercover operations is toxic, as far as the police go. He wrote:

if all this legislation did was to provide legal authority for the police and security services to authorize informants, when necessary to commit crime, it would maintain the status quo and the Liberal Democrats would have no argument for it.

Liberals need to consider how zealous efforts by undercover police officers could cause people to act criminally, in cases they ordinarily would not have. Considering the case of animal rights activist Geoff Sheppard, he claims then-undercover Metropolitan Police Officer, Matt Rayner (not his real name) asked him to show him how to make an incendiary device. Sheppard received a four year sentence for possession of a shotgun, ammunition, and material to make an incendiary device.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Liberal Democrats fight for the world’s poorest

Women in the Abu Shouk camp for displaced people, north Darfur, Sudan - Some rights reserved by DFID - UK Department for International DevelopmentFor many Liberal Democrat members the heavy election defeat was disheartening. However, the party can take strength from their contribution to governing the United Kingdom from 2010-2015.

One such example is the achievement made in the area of overseas aid. What were the achievements? When the Liberal Democrats were in government the UK reached the 0.7% figure of all national income, that should go towards foreign aid, for the first time ever; then enshrined the commitment in law.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 19 Comments
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