Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day, ID cards, freedom of speech

Today I salute the veterans and their fallen friends for the great sacrifice they made. I remember talking to my Welsh grandmother as a teenager when a friend of mine tragically died. She calmly and with great sadness told me of the great number of her friends that never came back from the War. I have particular reason to be grateful for the sacrifices made by those who so bravely fought and died in the Second World War, my mother's family were living under occupation by the Nazi's. I have grown up hearing from her some of what that meant, her description of watching people starving and having to eat flower bulbs as food, the constant fear, the inability as a young child to play freely or say what one thought, for fear of doing the wrong thing. The hope brought by occasional snatches of broadcasts from the BBC, passed on by those who had been able to hear them. I also know her relief and joy when the city she lived in was liberated by the British and Americans from Nazi rule, something for which she remains eternally grateful.

I have therefore grown up with a deep distrust of State "controls" which may account for why I am so against ID cards, why political correctness is such a corrosive thing - freedom of speech is vital and yet now many fear that they can not say what they think out of fear of being branded an "ist" racist, sexist etc. The attempted introduction of 42 day detention without trial, a DNA database even for children, and the threat of the compulsory administration of medicines (vaccines) being discussed as a serious idea by a Labour AM here in Wales in the last week. The increasing surveillance society where cctv cameras on streets and roads track our every movement, and with the Government seeking to monitor emails and telephone calls on a huge scale. Local councils using anti terror legislation to monitor benefit claimants and parents sending their children to a particular school. Complicity in "extraordinary rendition" and collusion in the use of torture.

Our freedoms were fought for at great cost.

I want to thank those who gave their lives, I thank those who watched their friends die and have lived with that for so many years, those who came (and to continue to come home) maimed and injured. I also thank those who continue to fight to bring those values to other countries. You have fought for our freedoms at such great cost, and we owe you a duty to preserve the values that you fought for.