The Convention under attack!

It’s said that if you’re being attacked in politics you must be doing something right (presumably because it means you’re not being ignored!). Since its launch the Convention on Modern Liberty has drawn attacks from a number of sources, including senior figures in government. Here we reproduce just a few of the many exchanges that have taken place.

Justice Minister Jack Straw twice had a pop at the Convention – first in the Guardian and then in the blog of Blackburn Labour. Henry Porter replied in the Observer the Sunday after the big day.

Professor Conor Gearty of the LSE wrote a piece for the New Statesman warning progressives to stay clear of the Convention which he accused of being a trojan horse for the right-wing project of dismantling the state. It followed an earlier implied attack on the Convention by Gearty in the Guardian. Blogger Shuggy responded by questioning the right-wing label and pointing to the diverse range of speakers and partner organisations. Anthony also has a reply in the New Statesman.

Times columnist David Aaronovitch attacked all those who fear the erosion of rights and freedoms, lamenting the fact “there are Grand Conventions in defence of liberty and none in defence of politics.”

Rafael Behr meanwhile produced a bizarre column for the Observer in which he told civil libertarians not to worry since we are in fact living through what he called the “golden age of liberty”. Anthony replied to this “floppy verbiage” and the Aaronovitch piece on OurKingdom.

David Goodhart, editor of Prospect, dubbed Conventioneers “rebels without a cause” claiming that the “shrill politicisation of the liberty lobby” makes rational debate on the database state much harder. UKliberty responded with a through fisking of the piece on his blog.

On the World Socialist Website Chris Marsden labelled the Convention an “unholy alliance” of Conservatives and former leftists.

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