An excellent analysis of the state of play of all the important principles that we should hold dear, or which we've forgotten we should hold dear. It is about England, but relevant to all countries, and gives you some understanding of the latest developments in the UK. A must read for anyone interested in current affairs from an author who really knows what he's talking about, and has fought all the way for all of these principles, on the coal face in parliament and in the legal system.
Five Ideas to Fight For is Anthony Lester's case for continuing the fight for five essential ideas which together constitute the foundation of any society that claims to care about it's citizens. Lester has long been engaged in the fight and has been instrumental in many of the changes in British law.
While the ideas and history is told primarily from a UK perspective the arguments and progress (or lack thereof) pertain to all of society and actually closely parallel progress in some other countries. The takeaways from this book are the foundational nature of these ideas to freedom, how they have come under fire in recent years and why they are important for every generation to vigilantly protect, defend and fight for. These concepts are not restricted by international boundaries though the battles will certainly be different in every nation.
The writing is quite good, almost too good in that it can easily be read and understood at a rapid reading pace, yet these ideas should be pondered while reading as well as revisited after reading. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in what falls under the largely abstract concept of freedom, and it also would be of particular interest to those interested in recent UK political and legal history and how things have gotten to the point they have.
Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.
I bought this book immediately after watching Lord Anthony Lester's 30-minute interview on BBC's HardTalk programme. He told Stephen Sackur the interviewer that he wrote this book "in order to encourage the young to fight for what we have fought for. That means understanding the past, it also means understanding what we have achieved, and understanding what we still need to fight."
Anthony Lester did not disappoint. He systematically explains his case in plain language as to why these values are innate to us all. He also shares his half-a-century long experience at the Bar, politics and involvement with various campaigns giving insight into how he worked with NGOs and politicians to bring about the desired legislative reforms.
Anthony Lester highlights the urgency where rights and democracy are under attack in Britain and abroad "not only by terrorists but by the state and its agents and populist politicians."
As a human rights lawyer and activist, I strongly recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand the importance of human rights, equality, freedom of speech, privacy, and rule of law.
It is an essential text for all who aspire to work for change as it provides not just the philosophical framework for those ideas, but also how this veteran lawyer went about fighting for it.