The Convention on Modern Liberty

The Magna Carta 2015 conference in Cambridge this weekend will provide the last chance to buy the book on openDemocracy's 2009 "Convention on Modern Liberty".

Stuart Weir
2 June 2015

The book of openDemocracy’s historic ‘British debate on fundamental rights and freedoms’ - six years ago but alarmingly relevant today – will be on sale at the Magna Carta 2015 conference this Saturday, 6 June, in Cambridge.

The book records the astonishing outpouring of speeches from Philip Pullman & Quentin Skinner, Suzanne Moore & Marina Warner, Lord Bingham & Brian Eno, Helena Kennedy & Francesca Klug, as poets, writers, scholars, lawyers, MPs, journalists, judges, activists, of all political persuasions joined to affirm and celebrate liberty.

This may be your last chance to buy this remarkable volume – and at only £17.50.

The conference itself is at the Cambridge Union, from 10.30am (tea and coffee from 9.45am) to 5.00pm, and ends with a reception (5.15 to 6.15). It is free and open to all. It is funded by the Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Magna Carta celebrations, but is a forward-looking event that will ‘re-boot’ the principles of Magna Carta for a modern participatory democracy.  

There will be three major debates. David Marquand, Will Hutton and Tamasin Cave will discuss defining, defending and promoting the principle of the ‘public realm’, not just protecting public services from private infiltration but arguing the case for an ethic of public service and government for the common good.  

Stuart White will present a paper, entitled, ‘Power to the People’, making the case for a new constitutional convention and settlement that puts people first in determining the shape of a modern constitution. A panel discussion will follow on the opportunities for transparent and open public involvement in government that new communications offer and combating the ‘new barons’, the global communication giants: with Anthony Barnett, John Naughton, Carly Nyst and Bill Thompson.

The conference ends with a debate on the politics of change, led by Guardian writer John Harris.You can register for the conference at but registration is not obligatory.

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