The future of the left since 1884

Fair and free: Labour, liberty and human rights

This pamphlet explores the left's approach to liberty and human rights.


  • Fair and free
  • By Kate Murray
  • Published 2 October 2017

Labour has struggled to form a coherent approach to liberty and human rights. Many on the left reject the authoritarian aspects they perceive to have characterised New Labour’s ‘tough on crime’ agenda including attempts to introduce identity cards. Others argue that the left has failed to create a discourse around liberty and human rights that meets citizens’ very real concerns. How do we reach out beyond the view that civil liberties are purely a concern for the liberal elite? Can we respond to the new challenges to our rights posed by the digital age and the explosion of social media? How do we reframe the liberty debate to capture the rights that many citizens hold most dear? Is it possible to make the UK a beacon for human rights in the post-Brexit world? This collection examines the left’s tradition of upholding key rights and freedoms and explores a number of ways in which a fresh vision of liberty could transform lives, institutions and relationships with the rest of the world.

With an introduction by Shami Chakrabarti and contributions by Jason Brock, Andrew Fagan, Frank Field MP, Andrew Forsey, Louise Haigh MP, Laura Janes, Virginia Mantouvalou, Lisa Nandy MP, Andrew Noakes and Robert Sharp.


Copies are also available priced £9.95 from the Fabian Society bookshop – call 020 7227 4900, email or send a cheque payable to “The Fabian Society” to 61 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EU.

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Labour, liberty and human rights

02 October 2017

In a seemingly ever more unequal and polarised world, human rights discourse should be a way of responding to enormous threats and challenges guided by past experience and universal values. In a sometimes coarse and toxic political debate, essays rather...

How to purchase

Copies are available, priced £9.95, from the Fabian Society. Call 020 7227 4900, email or send a cheque payable to The Fabian Society to 61 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EU.


Kate Murray

Kate Murray is the editor of the Fabian Review.


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