I'm not going to the Convention on Modern Liberty
I liked the idea of the Convention on Modern Liberty, and I'm instinctively sympathetic to its arguments - I'm against ID cards, I think campaigners should be allowed to photograph policemen and shouldn't be arrested as terrorists for doing so, last weekend I helped organise a conference training more than 100 young people about human rights, and so on. So I had a look at their website to see who the speakers were at their event on the 28th February.
Alarm bells started to ring when it became clear that some of the speakers make Henry Porter seem modest, self-deprecating and measured.
There's not just a token Tory, but a whole host of them, nasty and stupid alike, from David Davis giving a keynote speech, various shadow ministers, Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home, through to the buffoon 'Red Tory' Philip Blond.
There's Gerard Batten, a United Kingdom Independence Party MEP.
There's the increasingly ridiculous Nick Cohen.
One of the event's co-sponsors is the Countryside Alliance.
And there are people like Paul Kingsnorth. He of the 'I can't imagine how a Tory government could be worse than the present government', the 'this Labour government is more right wing than Thatcher' and the, erm, 'I agree with Phil Woolas about immigration and overpopulation'.
I know about building broad coalitions and all, but this is something else again. A glance at the programme suggests that there is an excellent game to be played of 'Modern Liberty Top Trumps', where you have to decide which of the 22 sessions is likely to be the most toe-curlingly awful - my vote goes to 'Liberty and the National Question' (though there are some other incredibly strong contenders).
Of course, there are also some very good speakers who will have sensible and intelligent things to say. But there must be and are easier ways to find out what they've got to say than giving up a Saturday to go to a conference which features so many horrors all in one place. I can't believe that this is really a good way to campaign for civil liberties.