I want to break free

You may be excused for assuming that the pursuit of liberty is old hat.

Global intervention to save faltering banks, massive Government debt and a national ID card system costing more than five billion pounds all seem to signify a shift of power from people and business to Government.Why should students seek to challenge such paradigms? What is in it for us in our cosy little bubble of Warwick?

As students, we are affected by the controlling grasp of Government in many more ways than others. From next term, all international students will be forced to hold ID cards. On this issue, NUS President Wes Streeting hits the proverbial nail on its head: “By singling out international students from their peers with biometric identity cards, a group already at risk of stigmatisation will be indelibly marked as different.”

The issue is even scarier if we assume that Gordon Brown gets his way and they start to roll out amongst the general public from 2012. The implications of denial of rights to those who refuse to take them out and a national ID register containing DNA and other biometric information gives the power to Government to follow every aspect of our lives.

“Function creep”, the inevitable use of the system for more than just identity checking, and the demands of the security services in the “War on Terror” would no doubt encourage any weak-willed Government to curtail the civil liberties of card-carrying citizens even further. It is the start of a slippery slope for the future of Britain.

A poll last year by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust measured that a majority of citizens are against the cards and a quarter strongly against them.

In addition to this, massive spending and borrowing under Gordon Brown’s government has particular relevance to every student that wishes to stay and work in the UK. We will be servicing the debt for years to come, just as the generations before did so to pay for the Second World War.

Labour has amassed debts equal to £23,000 for each man, woman and child in the country. Government debt repayments alone equal the amount currently spent on the Police Force. Whilst Labour and Conservatives argue about how many public servants have to be sacked in order to reduce the budget deficit, better financial management in the past means that we could afford to employ even more if we so wished.

In order for this situation to change we don’t just need a change between the two parties in Government, we need a greater cross-party clamour for change. The formation of a libertarian society here at Warwick will give us the chance to broaden our understanding of Government and its many failings.

In addition to the questions of civil liberties and massive Government spending, libertarian politics question the very assumptions that exist in society. Why should certain drugs be controlled? Is internet piracy a bad thing? Should Government be involved in curtailing prostitution?

Consequently, in order to shape the future of British politics we shouldn’t be scared to think outside the box. Rather than acting as a fringe party, Warwick Libertarians will be open to members of all parties as well as people who hold just a passing interest on the issue.

The root of the many branches of libertarianism is a belief in freedom. However, as the actions of Government become more and more authoritarian that basis is becoming increasingly fragile.

I hope you can join us in supporting that the metaphorical tree of libertarianism, and having a damn good time in the process.

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