Political Power and Democratic Control in Britain: The Democratic Audit of the United Kingdom

By Stuart Weir; David Beetham | Go to book overview

The Three Pillars of Liberty

The companion volume, The Three Pillars of Liberty, by Francesca Klug, Keir Starmer and Stuart Weir, provides a thorough audit of British compliance with international human rights standards. The book is the first-ever analysis of both the political and legal systems for securing political freedom in the UK as a whole and provides a detailed description of law and practice with respect to freedom of information; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and public protest; freedom of association and trade unionism; state surveillance; the right to life and liberty; and the right to vote and stand in elections.

The study measures political freedom and the protection of civil and political rights against a unique Human Rights Index, specially constructed from international human rights instruments, laws and jurisprudence. Its rigorous and systematic review finds both the political and legal systems for protecting citizens' rights wanting and identifies an alarming catalogue of violations and near-violations of international human rights standards.

The Three Pillars of Liberty has been widely praised:

'The Three Pillars of Liberty is vital reading for all people who want an authoritative evaluation of the state of civil liberties and political rights in Britain today. The analysis is lucid, balanced and scholarly'

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

'A truly great book'

Lord Scarman

'This book is of the first importance. Britain was once the leader in recognising and enforcing human and civil rights. It has now fallen behind other nations, but the culture of liberty is still lively here, and what is most needed, to engage it, is thorough information and clear, calm analysis. The Three Pillars of Liberty is exactly that. It may turn out to be one of those few documents that makes a difference…'

Ronald Dworkin, Professor of Jurisprudence, Oxford University

'The book is a model of clarity…It seamlessly ties together accessible accounts on leading cases with accounts of the experience of individuals and groups which rarely make it into standard textbooks or the Law Reports. The Three Pillars deserves to be read from cover to cover, but works admirably as a reference book…[it] is a sign that the domestic approach to civil liberties has finally come of age'

Review in 'Public Law', Winter 1997, by David Taube, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London

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