Don’t take freedoms for granted

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Mel Gibson as Kurt Mayron, Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron, Will Ferrell as Brad Taggart and John Lithgow as Don Taggart in Daddy's Home 2. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/Claire Fogler.

CHERYL GIBBS: Not a great film, but I still balled my eyes out

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To be able to change your government in free and fair elections is important – to say how your tax should be spent, which laws we should follow and how the government should treat you.

And being able to criticise, debate and argue freely is important too. But we may sometimes take these freedoms for granted in this country.

The events in Libya show they can come at a high price, in terms of lives and bloodshed – although it is to be greatly welcomed that the rebels have won, a dictator has been toppled and some of these freedoms are being re-asserted.

Now Britain and the international community must support the new government to become a fully-functioning one and to hold elections as soon as practicable.

I believe the NATO air support for the rebels was justified and, importantly, unlike with Iraq, followed the terms set down by a UN resolution.

The events in Libya and elsewhere show this is still a very uncertain world where a strong British military capability will be essential for peace, democracy and our best interests for many years to come.

So I hope the government will look very carefully at its proposed defence cuts. We shouldn’t cut today, only to regret it tomorrow.

Closer to home we have seen the riots in London and other cities. There must be firm but fair policing and law enforcement. But we should be careful not to say that Twitter and Facebook should be shut down as that is the road to dictatorship.

This Sunday will be the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is easy at a time of terrorism and riots to say we should become a draconian police state and limit free speech and legal safeguards. But the Liberal Democrats will continue to resist this.