Issues around the policing of public order and political expression are as topical today as in the past. This book explores the origins of the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) that emerged in 1934 in protest at the policing of political extremes. It discusses the police attempts to discredit the NCCL and the use of Special Branch intelligence to perpetuate a view of the organisation as a front for the Communist Party. The book analyses the vital role played by the press and the prominent, well-connected backing for the organisation and provides a detailed discussion on the formation of the NCCL. The use of plain clothes police officers was a particularly sensitive matter and the introduction of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and subsequently Special Branch was controversial. The book examines the nature of the support for a civil liberties pressure group, the political orientation of the organisation, its place in non-party ideology and its role in a political culture. Liberal Internationalism, pacifist groups and women's organisations are also considered. The book then discusses the NCCL's networks, methods and associations through which it was able to bring complaints about legislation and police behaviour to public attention and into the parliamentary arena. Public, press, police and ministerial responses to the NCCL's activities form a focal point. Finally, it reviews the ongoing role and changing political relationships of the NCCL following Ronald Kidd's death in 1942, alongside the response of the police and Home Office to the emerging new regime.
The war on terror has shaped and defined the first decade of the twenty-first century, yet analyses of Britain's involvement remain limited and fragmentary. This book provides a comprehensive, detailed and critical analysis of these developments. It argues that New Labour's support for a militaristic campaign was driven by a desire to elevate Britain's influence on the world stage, and to assist the United States in a new imperialist project of global reordering. This included participation in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, support for extra-legal measures and a diminution of civil liberties through punitive anti-terror legislation. Ostensibly set within a political framework of promoting humanitarian values, the government's conduct in the war on terror also proved to be largely counter-productive, eroding trust between the citizenry and the state, putting the armed forces under increasing strain, reducing Britain's global position and ultimately exacerbating the threat from radical Islamic terrorism. While new imperialism is typically treated as either an ‘economic’, ‘political’, ‘militaristic’ or ‘humanitarian’ endeavour, this study seeks to enhance current scholarly accounts by setting the events and dynamics of the war on terror within a more holistic and multi-dimensional account of new imperialist forces.
71 countries registering a reduction in political rights and civilliberties ( Freedom House, 2018 ).
All of which puts the viability of global liberal institutions increasingly in doubt. This idea
of a protected place where, regardless of one’s identity (ethnicity, nationality,
religion, gender, sexuality, but also whether or not one is a dissident), one’s basic
rights are secure is constitutively liberal. As fewer and fewer governments, and more and more
people, view the existence of such a sanctuary within society as fanciful, illegitimate and
recognition and regime change
By the end of the 1930s a strong civilliberties movement had been
established and a mechanism was in place that was able to rally the
support of MPs to bring questions to Parliament whenever repressive
legislation or the excessive use of police powers provoked protest.
Outside the parliamentary sphere, press and public perceptions of
the NCCL show that, by the latter part of the decade, the organisation had achieved wide recognition as an important pressure group
allied with national and international interests in
"This book examines the intersection between national and international counter-terrorism policies and civil society in numerous national and regional contexts. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) against the United States led to new waves of scholarship on the proliferation of terrorism and efforts to combat international terrorist groups, organizations, and networks. Civil society organizsations have been accused of serving as ideological grounds for the recruitment of potential terrorists and a channel for terrorist financing. Consequently, states around the world established new ranges of counter-terrorism measures that target the operations of cCivil society organizsations exclusively. Security practices by states have become a common trend and have assisted in the establishment of a “‘best practices”’ among non-liberal democratic or authoritarian states, and are deeply entrenched in their security infrastructures. In developing or newly democratized states (those still deemed democratically weak or fragile), these exceptional securities measures are used as a cover for repressing opposition groups considered by these states as threats to their national security and political power apparatuses. This book serves as a critical discussion accounting for the experiences of civil society in the enforcement of global security measures by governments in the America’s, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central Asia, Europe (Western, Central, and Eastern), and the Middle East.
were referred to as ‘fascism being tried out on the dog’ and a
‘state of dictatorship’ having parallels to the Nazi regime. The
investigation was conducted along the lines of the inquiry held
Clark, The national council for civilliberties.indd 80
T he NCCL in action
in London into the Reichstag fire affair. The Commission’s panel
consisted of prison reform campaigner, Margery Fry and Liberal
MPs William McKeag and Edward Mallalieu; and it was chaired
by Aylmer Digby KC. Barrister Neil Lawson was secretary to the
Commission, as he had been
head with a baton and left bleeding on the
pavement, perfectly orderly sections of the crowd were threatened
by police with truncheons and a man was kicked repeatedly in the
Clark, The national council for civilliberties.indd 179
T he NCCL and the policing of interwar politics
back by a police officer as he was frog-marched along the street.
The demands for a public inquiry into the policing of the BUF event
were summarily rejected.
As the second decade of the twenty-first century begins this
enduring debate has lost none of its vitality
questioning methods and political bias in the policing
of labour and public protest. The chain of events begun by Kidd’s
press intervention led to the formation in 1934 of the National
Council for CivilLiberties (NCCL), a pressure group centred on
civilliberties and the powers of the police, with Kidd as its General
This book will consider the key part played by the NCCL in
shaping a distinct and organised critique of police behaviour in
interwar Britain. Its innovative and direct methods involved placing
observers at public demonstrations and meetings to
, a serious political threat or source of disorder. Policing
strategies remained focused on the control of the political left. This
was a situation that allowed the NCCL to become a focal point for
the expression of legitimate concerns for civilliberties and police
practices that appeared to favour the right. At the same time,
Scotland Yard viewed the emergence of a civilliberties pressure
group as part of the problem of the political left. The NCCL gained
recognition in its opposition to the Incitement to Disaffection Bill
and police discrimination campaign, and