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Taking Liberties was very welcome.

FULL marks to Newcastle Library for its recent exhibition, Taking Liberties in the North East, which highlighted the nation and region's 900-year struggle for civil liberties and democracy. I felt privileged to see its display of major historical documents (including the 1832 Great Reform Act and a copy of Habeas Corpus) as well as items related to anti-slavery, Chartism, women's suffrage and other worthy campaigns.

It is easy to take our freedoms in the United Kingdom for granted, but Taking Liberties was a poignant reminder that many have been won only after years of struggle involving opposition from the rich and powerful.

With the shameful erosion of a number of civil liberties under New Labour governments and a wide range of ongoing issues of relevance both at home and abroad (eg our unrepresentative democracy, unelected head of state and House of Lords, voting rights for prisoners and 16-year-olds, attacks on the Human Rights Act, detention without charge at Guantanamo Bay and pro-democracy rallies in Egypt), this exhibition was well-timed and very welcome.

R M ATKINSON, Edinburgh
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2011
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