The Assault on Liberty: What Went Wrong with Rights

By Dominic Raab

An urgent and necessary polemic on the government’s assault on our fundamental freedoms and the proliferation of Human Rights.

From 42 days detention to ASBOs, as citizens of modern Britain we are seeing some of our fundamental freedoms being pawned off cheaply in the name of security. At the same time, a whole range of novel, and comparatively trivial, rights are being handed out like sweets. Why? In the last 10 years the government has launched an unprecedented assault on our civil liberties. The loss of basic liberties has been replaced by a litany of new rights and the emergence of a new rights culture without any meaningful democratic oversight. This assault, and the parallel proliferation of rights, has warped the moral compass that guided the idea of fundamental rights throughout British history. But in whose name and to what end? In The Assault on Liberty, a radical polemic on the state of the nation, Dominic Raab, Chief of Staff to the Shadow Home Secretary, asks whether we can really defend our freedom by sacrificing it. The risks to Britain are real and likely to grow unless unchecked. Raab argues that the long-term risk is that the current approach will undermine the credibility of, and public support for, the very idea of fundamental rights in this country. He concludes that it is only a modern Bill of Rights that would offer a precious opportunity to review and repair our approach to rights, one of the pillars of our liberal democracy and would place these fundamental liberties in the correct context of the challenges facing Britain and its citizens in the 21st century.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 19 Jan 2009
Pages: 276
ISBN: 978-0-00-729339-1
Dominic Raab was formerly Chief of Staff to David Davis, before he resigned as Shadow Home Secretary and MP to contest his seat on principle over the 42 day detention bill. He studied law at Oxford and international law at Cambridge, where he was awarded the Clive-Parry Prize for International Law. In 1998, he studied the Arab-Israeli peace process on the West Bank and worked for one of the negotiators of the Oslo peace process. He was seconded to Liberty, as the Human Rights Act entered into force, and advised on human rights test cases in the UK and at the European Court of Human Rights. He has also advised on EU law, including on secondment to Brussels. He currently runs the Office of the Shadow Home Secretary and advises on all areas of Home Affairs policy, including crime, policing, immigration, counter-terrorism and human rights.

'A clear-headed and important contribution to our contemporary predicament from one of the most brilliant young political minds of our time.'Peter Oborne -

'A book that could make Gordon Brown vote Tory.'Nick Cohen -

'A feisty and refreshing attack on human-rights orthodoxy.'John Gray, The Independent -

'Dominic Raab's lament for Britain's lost liberal democracy should reinforce the arguments of those already worried by the state of British human rights; and it should make those who dismiss these concerns think again.'John Kampfner, The Observer -

'As useful a guide as you could want to the consequences of a prolonged absence of proper parliamentary oversight or opposition.'Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times -

'Dominic Raab has been at the middle of the battle to defend our freedoms from these many different threats, and also brings an understanding of the international dimension to the table. He is uniquely placed to analyse the problems and propose thoughtful solutions in this book. His first class forensic analysis is likely to provoke some strong responses, but the cause of freedom is never defended without some discomfort.'Rt Hon David Davis MP -

'An excellent and timely book.'Henry Porter -

'An excellent book.'Timothy Garton Ash -