Troops on the streets and the Freeborn Englishman

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2017 by kmflett


The decision to raise the security threat level to critical and deploy troops on the streets, aside from receiving the applause of The Sun, is perhaps understandable in the light of the awful bomb in Manchester. If there is a threat of more that needs to be fully addressed and stopped.

Paul Mason the Momentum activist and journalist has called on social media for a longer term setting up of an equivalent to the French paramilitary police the GIGN. It is perhaps not the most obvious argument for someone on the left but as Mason is also a convert to NATO perhaps we can understand something about where he is coming from.

Nevertheless while both Britain and France are democracies the latter is noticeably more authoritarian in terms of how the State behaves than the UK. This is not a matter particularly of some quirk of the British or English character but the concrete result of battles the left and the labour movement have fought over two centuries.

E.P Thompson in the Making of the English Working Class described the Freeborn Englishman:

freedom from absolutism (the constitutional monarchy), freedom from arbitary arrest, trial by jury, equality before the law, the freedom of the home from arbitary entrance and search, some limited liberty of thought, of speech and of conscience, the vicarious participation in liberty..afforded by the right of parliamentary opposition and by elections and election tumults.. as well as freedom to travel, trade, and sell one’s own labour.

He was not automatically a figure of the left but what he did not like in particular was the arbitrary use of State power. That seems to me why a permanent GIGN equivalent is not something the left can support


One Response to “Troops on the streets and the Freeborn Englishman”

  1. quite so. I am shocked by Mason’s suggestion, as I was when Emily started going on about supporting NATO. Are they just too young to know the history? Anyway I keep my mouth firmly shut right now as we need unity and all hands on deck to defeat the Tory clique.

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