Why Civil Liberties Are Important


Just before Christmas, I had the amazing opportunity
to challenge leaders from some of the main British political parties. That included the Green Party, UKIP, Labour
and the Liberal Democrats. But for some strange reason, Prime Minister David Cameron (leader
of the Conservative Party) decided to cancel last minute. Hmm… I wonder why that was. This was a part of an online series called
‘Leaders Live’, organised by the fantastic organisation ‘Bite The Ballot’. Over the course of the series, I occasionally
received remarks from others on how I was posing “awkward questions” (or “typical Myles
questions”) especially on the Labour broadcast, where I asked their leader Ed Miliband about
our privacy rights & the mass-surveillance programs being conducted by our government and GCHQ. At first these reactions puzzled (and kind
of frustrated) me, but it then dawned on me why. It was simply because I was asking questions
about issues that don’t fall in-line with the more obvious ones you hear so often. Healthcare, education, the Economy, Immigration
etc. These are all key issues we hear about so often in election campaigns. Civil liberties however, is arguably a much
more ambiguous subject in comparison. After the live broadcast with Ed Miliband,
I left the studio and went into the foyer where he was there, standing surrounded by
all the people who were in the audience. And guess what: They were all questioning him
about mass-surveillance and civil liberties, and it was just such a pleasant surprise! My point is that, that instance illustrates
just how, we of course all care about civil liberties, but unfortunately it is an issue
that is absent from most political discussion, and therefore the general public has very
little opportunity to hold the government accountable over such. We all care about lots of different issues.
We actually care about pretty much all of the same things, but because the world and
society are such complicated constructs, we have to prioritize, and actually choose our
own fights. So one of you may be wanting to fight for improving the education system;
Someone else out there may work in the health service and want to improve that. For me civil
liberties is my fight, and it’s not to say that whatever you’re fighting for is inferior
or doesn’t matter; We’ve got to support each other and help each other make this world
a better place by fighting for what we are passionate with. And so I made this video
today to basically explain to you why civil liberties are important to me. I guess I should take this opportunity to
underscore what civil liberties are. Civil Liberties are personal freedoms; they
are effectively personal guarantees granted to us, citizens of a society in which the
government cannot curtail them, whether that’s by passing new legislation and law, or by
the way they choose to interpret pre-existing laws. To give a few examples of some civil liberties,
they include: the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, freedom
of assembly, freedom from torture and even as simple as the right to life. So some of you may be asking, “Myles, out
of all the issues that exist, why do you primarily focus on civil liberties?” Well for me it’s because civil liberties provide
the absolute core fabric of our society. The stronger our civil liberties are, the stronger
we as individuals can be at campaigning for all of the other issues that matter. Because whether you care about the cost of
living, health, equality etc. – when you really think about it, all of these issues are all
built upon the foundations of civil liberties. And just to take this one step further. We
are all the same human beings. We all require the same things. We require the necessities
of life, we require happiness, love, respect, freedom, security – the list can go on. These
all tie in with civil liberties, and the reason I fight for those issues so passionately,
is because if we don’t hold our elected officials accountable on civil liberties, we may find
that these things which are essential to living a dignified life may start slipping very slowly
away. So that’s enough from me; I’m interested in
hearing from you now in the comments below, about what issues matter to you? What do you
make of civil liberties? Is that something you would ever find yourself fighting for?
And the fundamental question we should all be asking ourselves when engaging in politics is, “What kind of society do we want to live in?” I really look forward to hearing your thoughts,
and thank you for tuning in as always. Adios ’til next time!

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