Tag Archives: civil rights

The other crisis: Civil and human rights under attack

Canvassing in South London, I am often asked by residents what Liberal Democrats stand for today. After all, they say, Brexit is no longer a battlefield (although for many it still is), and most of today’s pressing issues are claimed by other opposition parties. Who are we and what do we want to do that is not just anti-Tory? What is our offer, our ‘USP’ to voters that no other political party will prioritise? And why is our message relevant, perhaps more relevant than ever, in today’s world?

Maybe the answer can be found in the history of liberalism: from the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights – defending (religious) freedom against state transgression – to more contemporary ideas – claiming freedom to be and do whatever doesn’t harm others. So here is what I say on the doorstep:

We stand up for your rights.

The right to speak up if things go wrong. The right to breathe clean air. The right to claim asylum if you flee persecution or conflict. The right to be consulted about things that affect you. The right to access information and education. The right to have a decent home regardless of your income. The right to be judged on merit alone. The right to be who you want to be, live how you want to live and love whom you want to love, and the duty to respect others’ rights to do the same.

Have you tried saying this on the doorstep? It is pretty much guaranteed to raise questions about the current state of these rights.

This is exactly the debate we need and Liberal Democrats need to lead.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Opinion: I will not hide…

rainbow flag on white background  : harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012)Boy, has this been a tough week. This week I suffered some homophobia. This is tough to write.

It came in the form of an e-mail from someone who should know better, but sadly doesn’t.

Someone who believes their faith gives them the right to put pen to paper (or fingers to keypad) and accuse me of being immoral.

I’ve been lucky since I came out as a gay man, in 2011, in that I’ve faced very little homophobia (at least that …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Antisocial behaviour bill set to restrict public protest

February 15th 2003 - Iraq war demo in LondonThe Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which completes its committee stage today (Monday), is set to join a growing list of parliamentary acts that are used in ways that were not intended by lawmakers. Many of the champions of the freedom to live and roam freely (and, alas, smoke) are raising concerns about the Antisocial Behaviour Bill, including Liberty (pdf), the Manifesto Club (pdf), and the Ramblers. For me the real danger in this bill lies in its …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments

CC all your email to Jacqui Smith Day

The Government have plans to start a massive database recording every phone call you make, every email you send, and every text you remove the vowels from.  They have named this bizarre plan the Interception Modernisation Programme, which hardly sounds reassuring, and is still more concerning as the acronym IMP.

But just as the plan to exempt MPs from the FOI bill spurred an impressive new generation of campaigning via Twitter, the big mad database plan has prompted some novel forms of protest.

“CC your email to Jacqui Smith Day” is a group and a fan page on Facebook that …

Posted in Big mad database and Online politics | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Enough is enough

Anyone from any political persuasion can list things this Government has done that annoy them.

Personally, I was annoyed enough to join millions of others on the march against the war in Iraq – now it’s time to hold them to account.

I’m not so sure how I will react if and when I get the orders from the Government to present myself at the interrogation centre in nearby Derby and hand over more personal information than is currently demanded from sex offenders.  I’m not certain I’m ready to join Simon Hughes in jail for refusing an ID card.

I’ve never …

Posted in News and Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments
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