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Freedom - what does it mean to you?

(75 Posts)
Greta Fri 25-Sep-20 11:19:00

The Prime Minister commented that we are a freedom-loving country and therefore cannot be compared with other countries. He was, I think, trying to explain why we haven't managed to match the German C19 track and trace success. I'm not sure if most Brits feel they love freedom more than other nations do.

I do believe it played a part in the Brexit referendum; the idea that we want to be free” from the shackles of the EU”. But it must mean more than this, surely.

I sometimes wonder if the average Brit knows just how restricted their freedom is. Growing up in Sweden I was used to having the freedom to roam. This means the right to swim in our lakes and rivers, access, walk, cycle, ride, ski, and camp on any land, -with the exception of private gardens, the immediate vicinity of a dwelling house and land under cultivation. The only thing we have to pay is respect for nature and the animals living there.

Many years ago, before I fully understood the British way of life, my husband and I were out for a country walk. We came to a wire fence and spotted a sign ”Trespassers will be prosecuted”. I didn't understand what it meant. My husband explained and commented: ”you are no longer in Sweden!”

merlotgran Fri 25-Sep-20 11:28:23

If people stick to footpaths, bridle and cycleways etc., there shouldn't be any need to trespass on private land.

Upkeep of the countryside is expensive. Sadly some people will abuse the right to roam by littering, starting fires, leaving gates open trampling on crops etc. The sight of abandoned tents, discarded portable toilets and food waste when lockdown was eased was sickening.

They are the sort of selfish idiots who would be the first to sue the landowner should they injure themselves.

Jane10 Fri 25-Sep-20 11:33:30

I agree Merlotgran. I would see freedom of expression as important. We can express opinions and are not constrained as other populations seem to be. I'm thinking of Hong-Kong and North Korea as examples here.

Urmstongran Fri 25-Sep-20 11:36:56

Freedom of speech is still allowed. Of course we are all more mindful of PC speak (especially on here).

The UK is still a great place to live. That’s why so many want to come over. We are very lucky I think.
🇬🇧😊

eazybee Fri 25-Sep-20 12:11:24

I have never lived in another country so it is difficult to compare our freedom with others. I do understand that the countryside is a working environment, and that people cannot roam freely over private property because of the damage and
danger that may ensue.
Sadly, I do feel freedom of speech is beginning to be be eroded.

biba70 Fri 25-Sep-20 12:17:14

Such a stupid comment by PM- and such stereotyping, of Gemans and Brits. Daft.

Freedom of speech, yes- but with respect too, not à la Charlie Hebdo, offend just for the sake of offending.

Oldwoman70 Fri 25-Sep-20 12:18:52

I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that with freedom comes responsibility. Perhaps if people acted responsibly there would be no need for restrictions.

MawB2 Fri 25-Sep-20 12:21:15

I have mixed views on this. Brought up in Scotland where I understand there is no law of trespass as such I enjoyed the freedom to walk or ride across moors and hills. Personal property was only accessed with permission of course - you wouldn’t walk past someone’s sitting room windows.
And then I read of the litter and debris left behind by “wild” campers, of livestock endangered by idiots who leave gates open or lambs and pregnant ewes killed by uncontrolled dogs.
The countryside is not a theme park. Farming is an industry as well as a way of life and deserves our respect.
If there is a reason why the general public should not access a field we should be aware of that.
But the Yorkshire moors, Ashdown Forest, the South Downs, New Forest, Alderley Edge- they are all open to us all.

BlueSky Fri 25-Sep-20 12:22:36

Urmstongran
“The UK is still a great place to live. That’s why so many want to come over. We are very lucky I think.”
🇬🇧😊
Agree Urm!

Franbern Fri 25-Sep-20 12:32:40

I think there are two different types of freedom. For me the most important is the Freedom FROM - Freedom from the fear of unemployment, homelessness, sickness, disability. For many recent decades did feel the UK gave these pretty well.
The other Freedom (and these to me are good, but nowhere as important as the first - is FREEDOM OF.....Freedom of right to speak, to have elected and controlled government, etc.

I am very concerned that at present in UK, we are in the process of losing ALL of the above freedoms. Seriously concerned for my g.children.

Alegrias Fri 25-Sep-20 13:00:42

biba70

Such a stupid comment by PM- and such stereotyping, of Gemans and Brits. Daft.

Freedom of speech, yes- but with respect too, not à la Charlie Hebdo, offend just for the sake of offending.

Ooh, that's an interesting one biba70. Freedom to offend should be included. None of us has the right not to be offended, and what offends me may not offend you.

We have the responsibility not to incite hate, but avoiding giving offence can lead to the "PC" society that so many complain about.

I'm 100% with you on the PM's comment, by the way!

EllanVannin Fri 25-Sep-20 13:54:38

Due to the virus I'm not feeling very free. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't want it and am taking every precaution not to get it, but-----for the past 6 months that feeling of being suppressed isn't a nice feeling, " do this, do that and don't do this " has never gone down well with me at the best of times as I have had a tendency to argue where orders are given, so I've found it quite trying at times.

I certainly wouldn't be suited to any country where freedom didn't exist, unless of course I was born in one where I wouldn't know any different.

Alegrias Fri 25-Sep-20 13:56:14

I think they know different EV, they just can't do much about it.

Callistemon Fri 25-Sep-20 14:00:45

with the exception of private gardens, the immediate vicinity of a dwelling house and land under cultivation.

But why should someone's private land which is uncultivated be free for anyone to roam across and possibly wreck?
In that case why not someone's garden?

Some areas of a farm may remain uncultivated for good reason.

There are rights of way which make much of the countryside accessible to all.

biba70 Fri 25-Sep-20 14:05:28

Alegrias - yes, but ... As said, with freedom comes responsibility. Why go out of your way to offend- if you know it is going to hurt others? Especially when some groups of people are very happy to insult and offend other groups of specific people, but not similar groups in their own entourage?

So I may have the freedom to use words for instance- which are very offensive to others- but I will use my freedom NOT to use them, because I do not want to offend. That is real freedom.

lemongrove Fri 25-Sep-20 14:06:43

What a rebel you are EV😄
Freedom is precious and we take it for granted.No need to whisper our thoughts behind closed doors.Freedom from too many state restrictions imposed upon us (which we normally have of course, but due to the pandemic, things have changed.) Freedom to roam the countryside has actually improved a lot over the years due to ramblers protesting.
Freedom is having General Elections and referendums where we, Joe Soap, make our votes count.

Wheniwasyourage Fri 25-Sep-20 15:21:04

Callistemon the right to roam in Scotland does involve responsibility, so you are expected to follow the Country Code, closing gates and so on. Why not? So much wild land in Scotland does belong to somebody, but that doesn't mean that it should be unavailable to the rest of us, but of course you don't walk across someone's garden - that would be ridiculous. We don't have rights of way - just look at the key on an Ordnance Survey map and you will find that is says the the markings for rights of way don't apply here. Common sense is required!

As for the idiots who leave rubbish all over the place, I hardly think that a law of trespass would deter them. It doesn't seem to in England and Wales after all. angry

Greta Fri 25-Sep-20 16:01:35

Well said Wheniwasyourage. It's probably difficult to understand the Scandinavian way of life if you haven't experienced it. People live very close to nature. They are taught from a very early age to respect nature and to care for it. This is how they have developed a very strong feeling that their surroundings belong to them. What belongs to us we care for.

I find it disgraceful the way people throw litter around in this country. It is, of course, an offence to do so, but who cares?

May7 Fri 25-Sep-20 16:11:00

So I may have the freedom to use words for instance- which are very offensive to others- but I will use my freedom NOT to use them, because I do not want to offend. That is real freedom
My thoughts too biba70

biba70 Fri 25-Sep-20 16:11:22

Lemon ''Freedom is having General Elections and referendums where we, Joe Soap, make our votes count.''

in the UK, your vote will only count if you live in the 'right' area- due to First Past the Post system. I know for sure, that my vote has never ever counted in General Elections (it has at local level) - not very Democratic, nor very inspiring. I have always voted, on principle- but knowing, every time- I might as well not bother- just because of where I lived. Same for friends down the road, but t'other way round.

Alegrias Fri 25-Sep-20 16:35:09

biba70 and May7 I’m not talking about gratuitous offense or using derogatory language, nothing like that. A person may hold views which are very important to them, but another might find offensive; I suppose religion is in this category. I think I have opinions which others would find very offensive, but I’m entitled to have them as they are fair, they are not against the law and they are not inciting violence. I should have the right to express these views even if they offend other people because of what they believe.

Brahumbug Fri 25-Sep-20 16:40:42

Freedom of speech, yes- but with respect too, not à la Charlie Hebdo, offend just for the sake of offending.
More power to Charlie Hebdo, why shouldn't all religions be mocked? We have abolished blasphemy and it must not be reintroduced.

Alegrias Fri 25-Sep-20 16:41:25

I re-read that and it sounded like I was a religious zealot shock I'm not, honestly! Quite the opposite....

Stephenmarra Fri 25-Sep-20 16:50:33

Where to start ?
First, the freedom to elect a government that is accountable and answerable to the people.
Also.
The freedom of legal protest movements to have meetings without being monitored by law enforcement using anti terrorist laws to do so.
Totally agree with merlotgrans post.
I live 15 min's from the fells and 40 from Lake District proper. They have played a big part in my life and the freedom to walk, climb and swim at will comes with responsibilities.
Whilst the trash and filth that was left for the locals to clean up after our lovely first time visitors saddened me it's the impact on the wildlife that worried me.
In the spring there had been a lot of irresponsible dog owners letting their dogs off the lead with sheep about so sheep worrying has been a big problem this year also dogs chasing the sheep has lead to lambs being separated from ewes and starvation followed. Pregnant ewes losing their lambs with the stress of the chase.
Dog walkers have the freedom to walk their dogs on the fells but a bit of thought please.

NotTooOld Fri 25-Sep-20 17:01:54

To me freedom is being able to do what I want and see whom I want, when I want. In fact, everything we don't have now due to Covid19. So depressing. (Sorry - I really am trying to keep cheerful sad.