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Liberty! The Timeline

Young Czech man and woman in Prague rejoice at new freedom from tyranny

In Prague, a young generation is free to live because Brits and Americans oppose the tyranny of Communism. Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, and Slovaks need the perseverance and support of Western democracies – and their own tremendous stamina and courage – to end fear with the triumph of hope.

Photo: mammamaart@istockphoto.com

BRITS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
IN COLD WAR.
INDIA BECOMES
A DEMOCRACY.
BRITS REINVENT
ECONOMIC
FREEDOM.

World War II has just ended when the Communist Soviet Union grabs Eastern Europe, and stands poised to impose its oppressive rule on all Europe.
Britain and America resist.
Brits support the people of India's
decision to govern themselves. Britain's first woman Prime Minister expands economic freedom. Brits face new danger from the
European Union.

1946 WINSTON CHURCHILL ATTACKS COMMUNIST TYRANNY

Winston Churchill once again comes to the defence of liberty, making his Iron Curtain speech at Fulton, Missouri, on 5 March 1946. He clearly condemns Communism as a murderous ideology bent on world domination, and asserts that the West must defend individual human freedom. See Winston Churchill, Going through Hell

1947 INDIAN CITIZENS CREATE LARGEST DEMOCRACY IN WORLD

Living simply and contemplatively, the British-educated Mahatma Gandhi has travelled around India, learning how Indians live and electrifying common Indians with the idea that justice demands fair wages and self-rule. He advocates the power of non-violence. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he applies the principle of non-violent protest to India with unprecedented effect, because the British Government did not suppress him. (Hitler told the British Prime Minister that he would have had Gandhi killed.) The political and cultural cohesion of the Indian people is created in their struggle for independence.

During the Second World War, the British Government imprisoned protestors, but returns to the negotiating table immediately after the war ends. Muslims in Indian demand the creation of their own state, Pakistan. After murderous riots in the north, the British Government agrees. India and Pakistan achieve independence, and go their own ways. India is now the most populous democracy on earth.

By the time they leave, "The British increased the area of irrigated land by a factor of eight, so that by the end of the Raj a quarter of all land was irrigated, compared with just 5 per cent of it under the Mughals. . .There were also marked improvements in public health, which increased Indian average life expectancy by eleven years" (Niall Ferguson, Empire).

The British also helped to avert chaos by making sure that more than 500 independent princely kingdoms in India became part of the nation of India. Among other legacies, the Brits left behind rail transportation, Common Law, cricket, and the English language.

Young Indian children are part of the biggest democracy in the world

Hundreds of millions celebrate India's independence on August 15, 1947, and pay tribute to Gandhi's wise and dauntless leadership. Within a year Gandhi will be assassinated, but the Republic of India will go on to become the world's largest democracy and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Photo: imagesoftheworld

1948 BRITS AND ALLIES DEFY COMMUNISM, FREE WEST BERLIN

In 1948, after the defeat of Germany in World War II, West Berlin became part of the free country of West Germany. But Berlin was surrounded by armies and territory controlled by the Soviet Union. Stalin, the Soviet Union's murderous ruler, blocked all rail lines, canals, and roads entering West Berlin in an effort to conquer the city.

In 1949 the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force, supported by civilian and allied aircrew from around the world, tackled the seemingly impossible task of keeping Berliners alive during the 11-month blockade of their city.

Events to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Airlift and the outstanding contribution of UK Armed Forces throughout the campaign began in Berlin on May 12th 2009.

f_berlin_airlift.jpg

Royal Air Force airmen help a Berlin Airlift veteran to dismount an RAF Puma helicopter at Gatow Airport in Berlin as part of 60th anniversary commemorations.

Image: SAC Neil Chapman, Ministry of Defence

British and American aircraft flew more than 175,000 trips to and from the city to ensure that the two million people living in Berlin did not starve or freeze to death when their supplies were cut off.
No country had ever succeeded in such a massive flight-supply operation before. The sacrifice of the British people, still living on war rations, helped to make the airlift a success, and kept West Germany free.

1950s - 1960s EAST AFRICANS CLAIM INDEPENDENCE, AND BRITS CONFIRM THEIR RIGHT TO BE FREE

Since World War I Britain has been governing Trust Territories in East Africa. By the 1950s African peoples are calling for the right to grow coffee, fair representation in legislative councils, and an end to land enclosures. Forgetting their own hard-won history of liberty, the initial British reaction is not positive. But by the 1960s Britain agrees to the East African desire for independence: By 1963, Zanzibar and Tanganyika (uniting as Tanzania in 1964), Uganda, and Kenya have become independent, self-governing states. Their inheritance, if they choose to keep it, is the English language, democracy, and Common Law.

1940s - 1990s TREVOR HUDDLESTON AND MANY OTHERS WORK FOR FREEDOM FROM APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA

The anti-British, Nazi-sympathizing Nationalist government takes power in South Africa in 1948. Opposed to the British Commonwealth, they do not speak English, and view Britain's policies toward blacks as too liberal. The Nationalists rob black citizens of their voting rights, separate the races, and establish the morally monstrous machine of apartheid. Based on skin colour, apartheid debases black people.

Rich in natural resources, and strategically located, South Africa can ignore the world's condemnation. A few courageous opponents in the South African Parliament continue to condemn apartheid, but the Nationalist Party bolsters its rule and racism.

A gentle, friendly man, Father Trevor Huddleston, a monk of the Community of the Resurrection, ministers in the townships of Sophiatown and Orlando in South Africa in the 1940s. Appalled by the horror that apartheid wreaks on South Africans, he becomes a brave and powerful opponent.

Nelson Mandela remembers him as the priest in cassock and large back hat who doffs his hat to his mother, a cleaning lady. In 1956 Huddleston pens an international bestseller, Naught for Your Comfort, that describes the horrors of aparatheid. He advocates economic sanctions against South Africa and a sports and cultural boycott. For the next thirty years, even while serving as bishop of Tanzania and Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, he continues to press for the end of apartheid, and raises money for its victims. South Africa becomes a pariah. The courage of Africans such as Mandela, who resist apartheid, and the severing of the country's credit by international banking, ends apartheid's reign in 1990.

1950 - 1951 CLARENCE WILLCOCK DEFIES THE POWER OF THE STATE TO IMPOSE ID CARDS

On 7 December 1950, Clarence Willcock, 54, the manager of a dry cleaning firm, was ordered to produce his ID card by a police officer. He declined to do so. He said that the emergency for which ID cards had been introduced (World War II)no longer existed, so it was wrong for the State to continue using this power. His case went from court to court, each time finding against him, until it reached Lord Goddard, the Lord Chief Justice.

Lord Goddard unhappily concluded that he had no choice other than to uphold the conviction because the statute remained in force and could only be reversed by an Order in Council, but he deplored a law which had lingered past its sell-by date and made law-abiding British citizens resent the police.

On regaining power in October 1951, Winston Churchill’s Conservative government repealed the National Registration Act and abolished the cards.

1950s - 1970s BRITS AND ALLIES RESIST SOVIET ENSLAVEMENT OF WESTERN EUROPE

Russian and Warsaw Pact tanks roll into Prague in 1968 to crush Prague Spring

The Soviet Union tightens its control, and the Iron Curtain descends on Eastern Europe. Britain works with America to keep Western Europe safe. They help to establish NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance that integrates Americans and Western Europeans into a system of mutual defense. They maintain the BBC and Voice of America as alternative news sources to Soviet and Communist organs. They sustain the hope of the peoples of Eastern Europe that they will recover their freedom.

Photo: pages.zdnet.com

1955 YOUNG REBELS ESTABLISH IEA TO DEFEND BRITAIN'S FREEDOM

Ralph Harris, Lord Harris of High Cross, is a “fantastically ebullient personality” who sees that socialism is a walking disaster for an economy and a people because it destroys their independence, their ability to create, and their prosperity.  A working class man, who understands the importance of a good education, which he receives in a grammar school and at Cambridge, he knows exactly how socialized welfare destroys working class initiative, self-respect, well-being, and happiness.

In 1955, Antony Fisher, Ralph Harris, and Arthur Seldon establish the first free-market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs to generate ideas, and undermine socialism and communism which are making inroads into Britain.

They will win some great battles in keeping Britain free. (They will be unable to protect the grammar schools from the Labour Government which destroys them.) IEA's ideas will affect the working class people Harris loves, because its ideas are accepted, particularly by Margaret Thatcher, and a prosperous Britain lifts almost every boat. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher sends Harris to the House of Lords.

1969 PARLIAMENT LOWERS VOTING AGE TO 18 FOR ALL BRITS

Old enough to hold a job, old enough to fight in the Army, old enough to vote. But are they old enough to vote? And is there anyone they would like to vote for?

1972 MPs TAKE STAND AGAINST COMMON MARKET AND SPECTRE OF EUROPEAN UNION

Tony Benny, Douglas Jay, MP, Enoch Powell, MP, and Peter Shore, MP strongly oppose the passage of the 1972 Communities Act that takes Britain into the Common Market and the nascent European Union. They understand all too well that Britain's independence and the democracy of the British people will be lost. They fail. Parliament approves entry.

1975 KEEP BRITIAN OUT CAMPAIGN

Brits try to persuade the public that politicians are deceiving them about the true intentions of the Common Market, which will become the European Union and a superstate that swallows Britain. Christopher Frere-Smith leads the Keep Britain Out campaign. They warn fellow Brits not to vote to approve the referendum on continuing Common Market membership, but the politicians lie. They say that Britain has to remain in order to survive economically, and they say that only economic and not political union is envisaged. The perfidy of their deceit is detailed by Dave Barnby here (pdf file)

Tony Benn disagrees. He writes his constituents, "British membership of the Community, by permanently transferring sovereign legislative and financial powers to Community Authorities who are not directly elected by the British people, also permanently insulates those Authorities from direct control by the British electors who cannot dismiss them and whose views, therefore, need carry no weight with them and whose grievances they cannot be compelled to remedy."

Benn will continue to warn that the European Union is inimical to freedom and British sovereignty for the rest of his life.

1975 THREE STALWARTS FOUND FREEDOM ASSOCIATION

The twin brothers Ross and Norris McWhirter had photographic memories of a vast number of facts. In 1954, when they were barely 30, they began publishing the bestselling Guinness Book of Records. In 1975, the McWhirters and Viscount De L'Isle VC, establish the Freedom Association. The Association advocates the seven guiding principles of a free society: 1) Individual Freedom; 2) Personal and Family Responsibility; 3) The Rule of Law; 4) Limited Government; 5) Free Market Economy; 6) National Parliamentary Democracy; and 7) Strong National Defences. Ross was assassinated by the IRA shortly afterwards. Norris will continue to fight for Britain's freedom until his death in 2004.

This England magazine cover

In 1968, Roy Faiers found This England, a quarterly, illustrated journal featuring England's people, history, landscape, architecture, arts, and food.

1978 FAIERS SLOWS IMPOSITION OF CONTINENT'S METRIFICATION

In 1978 Faiers puts a big road block in the way of metrication by collecting and personally delivering the signatures of 100,000 people opposed to this inefficient European import, which is being imposed on them without any reference to their wishes.

PM James Callaghan, “shocked” at the strength of the campaign, calls an election within weeks of the delivery, and is trounced by Margaret Thatcher, who becomes Prime Minister, and quickly shelves metrication. Retaining British measurements of yards, inches, and feet, pounds and ounces gives Britain an advantage trading with countries such as America, which still uses these sensible and easy-to-understand measurements.

A young Margaret Thatcher embarks on a career serving her country

At a time when most women did not attend
university, Margaret Thatcher excels in chemistry
and law. In 1959, she wins a seat in Parliament,
and over the next two decades becomes leader
of the Conservative Party and
Prime Minister.

1979-1980s MARGARET THATCHER ADVOCATES FREE MARKETS AND FREE MINDS

In 1979, Britain is in dire straits with interest rates and inflation going through the roof and unions holding the country hostage. Brits no longer seem to believe in themselves. A number of major industries, nationalised in the '50s, appear to be dying. Plus, some powerful people - Labour Union leader Arthur Scargill want a communist revolution. Apparently they had not noticed how unspeakably awful communism is in the USSR.

To stimulate the economy Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decides to cut taxes and cut government support for nationalised industries by privatising them. She considers this a liberation that will unchain the creativity of Brits, and allow them to recreate prosperity.

However, the oil crisis sends the economy into a slump, the government chooses incorrect monetary targets, and unemployment strikes hard all across the country. Many of her own ministers fight her. They urge her to make a U-turn and let the Government command the economy. She believes that is the worst possible solution. Her popularity plummets, but she declares, "The lady's not for turning".

The results of her defiance will become clear.

Falklands beach

The Falkland Islands is a self-governing territory of the
United Kingdom.

1982 BRITAIN REPULSES ARMED AGRESSION AGAINST THE FALKLANDS

When the military dictatorship of Argentina invaded on April 2,1982, a local radio presenter repeatedly played 'Strangers in the Night' to warn Falklanders. They were determined to remain British.

Stanley in the Falkland Islands

Three thousand people live in the Falkland Islands.

Image: Virtual Tourist

The British Government, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, takes the wishes of the island people so seriously it goes to war to protect them from armed aggression and to assert the rule of law.

Britain had been taken by surprise by the attack and scrambled to launch a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault if necessary.

While British ships stream across the Atlantic, the Argentine government refuses to withdraw as requested by the UN. It refuses to respect the Islanders' right to self-determination.

After intrepid combat, the British prevail. They did so with the help of the United States. President Reagan's administration made supplying essential military supplies its top priority. Caspar Weinberger, the US Secretary of Defense, will receivea knighthood for his services. Happily, the Argentine defeat increases popular protests against the military junta, which falls.

Prime Minister Thatcher's resolute defence of the Falkland Islands against Argentine aggression wins her national and international support.

"It was," wrote Luigi Barzini, "a highly pragmatic operation undertaken in defense of international law and morality and surely not for gain." The islands were restored "to the government desired by their inhabitants".

Falkland Coat-of_Arms

Coat of Arms of the Falkland Islands

1984 THATCHER DEFIES IRA TERRORISM; LIBERATES BRITISH ECONOMY FROM GOVERNMENT CONTROL

Five Brits are killed and dozens are injured when the IRA bombs the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton. Margaret Thatcher barely escapes, but undaunted, continues with the Conference, declaring, "All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail".

Her challenge continues to liberate industries that had been run into the ground under government administration. British Airways, a slovenly and bankrupt national carrier, is privatised and transformed into one of the world's best and most profitable airlines. British Steel, once more than a billion pounds in the red as a state concern, becomes a successful company. Rather than bankrupting the nation, privatised industries pour wages and taxes back into the nation. Just as government cannot efficiently run a business, it cannot run a health service, but she is unable to liberate the National Health Service.

State control of bog comprehensives unhappily continues, and local government is increasingly bullied and suffocated by the national government.

Margaret Thatcher early in her career as Prime Minister

The Soviets are the first to call Maggie Thatcher "the Iron Lady." Thatcher energetically supports U.S. President Ronald Reagan's decision to rearm against the Soviets'
"Evil Empire." The result: The Soviet Union collapses, and millions of Eastern Europeans become free in the 1990s.

Margaret Thatcher's Government reduces government regulations which drag down business, helps to increase home ownership, and reduces taxes to stimulate the economy. (Partly in result, the booming economy brings in more tax revenues). She attacks the Welfare State, which in exchange for "the dole" imprisons men and women in a state-of-mind in which they lose their sense of individuality, initiative, achievement, and self-respect.

When Labour Union leader Arthur Scargill tries to bring down the government, and leads the miners on strike, Thatcher does not crumble. She resists the threat to her leadership and to Britain which is being held hostage by Labour demands.

Tragically for communities and families, the result is that mine pits close, and miners lose their jobs. Roger Helmer wrote, "I very much regret the plight of the miners. I myself have been made redundant more than once in my career, so I know how it feels. But the fact is that no one has a right to a job for life. Times change. Technology changes."

In the late 1980s Margaret Thatcher realises that the project to create the European Union superstate threatens Britain's democracy and sovereignty, and refuses to support further integration. As a result, in 1991 she is driven from office by a cabal of Tories in her own Cabinet.

Two little boys with arms around each other gaze across beach

Margaret Thatcher aims to reduce the size of government and lift the heavy weight of taxes. She encourages merit, thrift, reliability, competition and enterprise. She has local councils sell houses to tenants so Brits can own their houses and pass their wealth to their children.

Photo Credit: saints4757@istockphoto.com

1970s - 1990s BRITS GIVE AID AND COMFORT TO PEOPLE BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN

Philosopher Roger Scruton, Oxford don Kathy Wilkes, and Baroness Cox are three of the remarkable Brits who defy the iron grip of Communist governments and the secret police in Eastern Europe.

They establish British trusts that support Eastern European efforts to recover freedom, and they risk their own safety to help destroy the tyranny of Communism.

1980s-2005 CHRIS TAME WORKS TIRELESSLY TO RECOVER THE BRITISH LIBERTARIAN TRADITION

Christopher Tame founds the Libertarian Alliance, a civil liberties and free market think tank in the early 1970s, when he is in his early twenties, and devotes his life to making these ideas popular. He takes issue with those Conservatives who see freedom in purely economic terms. He also takes issue with those who want all kinds of liberty, but not economic freedom.

Tame believes that freedom should be defined in the traditional sense, as the rights to life, liberty and justly acquired property. Until his death from a rare bone cancer at the age of 55, he stays on mission, creating a national and international presence for the ideas of freedom and responsibility through conferences, media interviews, 700 publications, a website, and the magazine FREE LIFE. Sean Gabb continues the work of the Libertarian Alliance.

1989 BRITS FOR FREEDOM ESTABLISH BRUGES GROUP TO INVESTIGATE EU

Brits led by Lord Harris of High Cross (see 1955 for details) establish the Bruges Group, an independent all-party think-tank to investigate the creeping menace of the European Union. Their inspiration is Margaret Thatcher's speech in Bruges, when she declares, "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level". The Group's thorough research is crucial to its analysis of a common market that is metamorphosing into a tyrannical superstate. To read Bruges Group commentary.

Bus rushes past Houses of Parliament

Forgetting who they are, rushing off on a bus to nowhere, members of the House of Commons approve the Maastricht Treaty. A brave few oppose Maastricht, which led to the formal creation of the European Union and the subversion of Britain's sovereignty.

Photo: urbancow@istockphoto.com

1992-1993 THE BRAVE FEW OPPOSE MAASTRICHT TREATY WHICH ALLOWS BRITAIN TO BE SWALLOWED BY UNDEMOCRATIC EUROPEAN UNION

Led by John Major, the Conservative Government foists the Maastricht Treaty on Parliament, refusing at first to allow the House of Commons to read the Treaty on which they are to vote and claiming that the Treaty means only greater economic cooperation with Europe.

In truth the Maastricht Treaty binds Britain into even closer political union with the European Union and takes Britain's independence and the rights of Brits away from them. Adamantly opposing the move, Labour MP Tony Benn declares that "We are "handing over the British people, without their consent, to a system that has replaced parliamentary democracy."

A number of Conservative MPs are willing to vote against the Treaty and to defy their Party and the Whip. This means they will not be supported by the Party when they stand for election, but will enter a political wilderness. Those Conservatives brave enough to withstand the Whip before the confidence motion are Rupert Allason, Richard Body, Nick Budgen, Christopher Gill, Teresa Gorman, Tony Marlow, Richard Shepherd, Teddy Taylor, and John Wilkinson. In the House of Lords Baroness Cox also defies her party, and votes against Maastricht.

The MPs speak so eloquently against Britain's loss of sovereignty and freedom that in the pandemonium of the House vote, the Maastricht Treaty is defeated 324 to 316. Then, in a move that flagrantly ignores Parliamentary tradition, the Government calls for a vote of confidence that will overturn the vote. Only one Conservative MP, Rupert Allason, is willing to let the Conservative Government go down to defeat, and the Government wins approval of the Maastricht Treaty by 39 votes.

1993 UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY OPPOSES OPPRESSIVE EU

Since not one of the three major parties seems willing to oppose or even to express scepticism about the European Union, Dr. Alan Sked, a writer and historian, founds the UK Independence Party (UKIP). The aim of Sked and UKIP supporters is to persuade Brits that it is in their best interests to leave the European Union. Given that the EU threatens democracy, Constitutional rights to trial by jury, presumption of innocence, double jeopardy, and even British pensions, and given that the EU imposes oppressive regulations and huge costs, UKIP makes a strong case. However, it must fight for coverage from the mainstream media, which is either indifferent or supports the EU's project to create a socialist superstate. UKIP's mission will begin to bear fruit in the 21st century.

1995 JIMMY GOLDSMITH LEAVES MULTIBILLION BUSINESS TO ADVOCATE AGAINST EU AND FOR DEMOCRATIC DECENTRALIZATION

A self-made multibillionaire with a colourful personal life, Sir James Goldsmith scorns Britain's surrender to the European Union's unelected and unsackable bureaucrats. It is, he says, "the greatest transfer of power in peacetime, and it took place under a system of organized secrecy." He is appalled as Britain's economy is devastated by the EU's Exchange Rate Mechanism. He decides to hold the undemocratic European Union and its sclerotic European economy accountable for the misery of the unemployed and Britain's loss of freedom.

Already dying of cancer, Goldsmith uses his fortune to create Britain's Referendum Party. He mounts a campaign for a referendum that will give the British people the chance to say whether they want to scuttle the British pound, and join the euro.  The momentum he and others create is so great that the British Government promises a referendum, but knowing it would lose it, never holds it.

Consequently Britain does not adopt the euro, and escapes some of the tragic economic problems that plague Germany and France. For more on the EU.

1997 LORD PEARSON OF RANNOCH, LORD STODDART OF SWINDON, AND LORD HARRIS OF HIGH CROSS ESTABLISH INDEPENDENT RESEARCH ORGANISATION –  GLOBAL BRITAIN

Lords Harris, Pearson, and Swindon declare that “The UK is the most successful nation-state in history. Her reach - cultural, linguistic, military, diplomatic, scientific, political, economic - is global." Presciently, they see Continental Europe's demographic and economic decline accelerate; American power consolidate; and Asian powers rise to prominence. Believing that the “security, prosperity and well-being of the British people will come to depend on the UK's engagement with that wider world, and its exit from the European Union, they found a geo-political think tank – Global Britain They aim to provide facts, figures and impartial analysis in a clear and understandable form so that there can be proper debate on the crucial issue of Britain’s role in the world.

1999 SCOTLAND WINS DEVOLUTION; A FALSE SENSE OF FREEDOM?

For years the Scots have wanted to govern themselves in their own Parliament. When the persevering and energetic Scottish National Party (SNP) threatens the Labour Party's domination of the British Parliament by taking votes and MPs, Labour promises 'devolution'. A word with Orwellian echoes, devolution is evolution back to past forms. In Scotland it will mean a Scottish Parliament, but not independence for Scotland.

In the referendum on devolution, 60 percent of Scots vote, and the majority of them vote for a Scottish parliament with tax powers. At the same time, the Scots continue to be represented in the British Parliament, where they make decisions for all Brits. This has been called the political version of eating your cake twice. It is also part of the EU plan to destroy Britain by breaking her up into regions.

Scotland's deep-seated fascination with socialism continues. Whether socialism has any connection with Scotland's declining economic indicators, time will tell. The Scots' passion for governing themselves is a legitimate one, and they have stayed true to that passion for more than 800 years. Their goal to become a free and independent nation in the European Union can never be realised because the EU is not democratic and intends to dissolve nation states. It is intended, as its full name indicates, to be the European Union of Regions, not independent nations.

TO 21st Century

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