Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Cromwell signs up for civil liberties

In 1825 the most famous of all home secretaries issued a call for information to help catch a group of wanted criminals.
Robert Peel – founder of the police - offered a £100 reward for each conviction secured.
The full force of the state had been unleashed on a group of seafarers from Sunderland who dared to demonstrate for better pay and conditions.
A copy’s of Peel’s proclamation – designed to be posted on Weirside – is part of a thought-provoking new exhibition at the British Library.
Taking Liberties tells of a 900 year struggle for human rights in Britain.
The actual Magna Carta starts the show.
And we see other ancient documents like the Laws of the Forest.
Democracy campaigner Oliver Cromwell’s signature is clear to see on the death warrant of Charles I – along with 58 others as they spread the blame.
There’s a drawing of an Irish Home Rule protest from 1893 with a banner reading “Let Tories Quake”, and video from the 1990s depicting devolution in Scotland and Wales.
Visitors are given a wrist-band with a bar code which enables them to use interactive displays and vote on constitutional questions like the future of democracy.
"Citzen 148250 logged in" says the chilling Orwellian acknowledgment.
The message of this exhibition is that people have died for our rights – so we should use them.
The last wall carries a Thomas Paine quote from 1771: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
Taking Liberties: The struggle for Britain’s Freedoms and Rights is at The British Library, Euston Road, London, from October 31 2008 to March 1 2009. Opening hours 9.30am to 6pm, admission is free.

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

That is a great exhibit.

Will the art crowd attend? Even Damien Hirst fans?

I will link to your blog, when Blogrolling is repaired. They were hacked twice, so they are taking time to find glitches.