The home secretary Charles Clarke wants to bring in new laws that would make it illegal to justify or glorify terrorism.
Film director Ken Loach spoke to Socialist Worker about his new film about the Irish revolt against British occupation, which could fall foul of the new laws.
Ken Loach said, “The new film I am working on is set during the war of independence in Ireland, beginning with the Easter rising of 1916 against the British occupation that continues to ring bells today.
“The flying columns, led by Tom Barry, were the first resistance fighters against British rule — they led a very successful guerrilla campaign that would be the model for future resistance fighters.
“Their fight was wholly justifiable. They were fighting an occupation that was rejected by the people — the people wanted an independent unified Ireland.
“The warfare was bloody and horrific and innocent people died—but it was justifiable.
“They didn’t target civilians in the way that some resistance fighters target civilians today, so in that sense it is not directly comparable.
“This new law being discussed, which would make justifying terrorism illegal, is wholly unnecessary — it is already illegal to incite murder or hatred.
“What would this law be used for?
“The Easter rising and the period after is a critical piece of Irish history — nothing makes sense without understanding this fight for independence.
“The colonial occupation of Iraq is the thing that is most comparable today.
“This shows the capacity of the British to divide an occupied country, and that the state has a long history of imperialism.
“The difficulties facing the resistance then and now are common to all anti-imperialists.”