Reclaiming freedom

Think tank: Fabian Society

Author(s): Liam Byrne

December 18, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Fabian Society looks at the case for a 21st century bill of powers and duties.

Freedom was the left’s first cause. Now, Liam Byrne MP argues, it is time for Labour to reclaim freedom as its own, with tangible liberties: freedom from poverty and from fear and freedom to live a healthy life, to work in a fairly paid job and to participate in society. The pamphlet sets out the case for a new Bill of Rights and Duties in the best radical tradition — a Bill which would enshrine these liberties for the benefit of all of our citizens. For more than 40 years, the right’s story of liberty has been the animating force for election victory after election victory. It has proved the keystone in their bridge to power. It is time we took it away, not least because the Tories’ account of freedom is so flimsy that it is little more than a fiction. As the government merely tinkers with its Bill of Rights Bill, Labour should argue for a far more imaginative Bill of Powers and Duties for the 21st century. By doing so, it can take the fight to the Conservatives and, in government, fulfil its original mission, to secure and advance the freedom of all to live a good life.