M/s Ann Widdecombe,MP,
House of commons,
Palace of Westminster,
Dear M/s Widdecombe,
I have sent you a small present which I brought back from Luebeck, Germany, last year. This is a set of three photographs, which I took myself, of a small, modest little memorial on the side of Luebeck Town Hall. It reminds us of the four Luebeck Martyrs, one Protestant minister and tree Roman Catholic priests, who used their power of free speech to speak out against the injustices of the Nazi regime and the madness of the terrible war which the Nazi’s had brought down upon everybody. The four priests were all guillotined together in 1943.
If anyone ever doubts the value and importance of protecting peaceful freedom of speech to criticise any political, religious, or social doctrine, dogma or activities, they should look at this memorial and the story it tells. I found it extremely moving. I said to a German man, who was also reading it: “Schreckliche Zeiten (Terrible times)”. He replied to me: “ Ja – und ich hoffe, nie wiederkommen warden. ( Yes – and I hope they never come back again)”.
It has always seemed to me, that for dictatorships in- the- making to rise up and “successfully” develop, the first thing they have to do is to clamp down upon free speech. The repression program then progresses by paying money to people – by inventing special jobs and positions, and offering attractive rewards to those who help to suppress freedom. The world’s most notorious dictatorships would never have developed, without imposing severe penalties upon free speech. So when I hear of any attempts, from within any British government, to curb peaceful free speech, I become very alarmed because I can see it no other way than the top of a very slippery slope. People, all too often, don’t realise what they are in danger of losing, until they have actually lost it. By that time, the balance of power has tilted against the right of free speech, and it is extremely difficult to get it back.
Thank you for reading my letters,