The Pirate Party in Manchester. Looking forward to the Ancoats and Clayton By-election, December 2013

Civil Liberties

Manifesto Civil Liberties page thumbnail✔ No ‘Snoopers Charter’
✔ The Right to Protest
✔ Freedom of Speech
✔ Right to a Private Life
✔ Reclaim the Commons

It often feels like we live in a “say no first, ask questions later” society. Whether it’s councils banning a 9 year old from blogging about school dinners or the government threatening to suspend social media, I have always stood up for freedom of speech. The courts must not be used to block freedom of expression and knowledge, a reform of libel laws is overdue to ensure this. The right to speak out is fundamental in democracy.

We must protect the right to protest, assemble and strike. We do have the right to protect our private and family life, wanting privacy is not a suspicious activity. The government is reviving Labour’s plan to track all our email, web and phone contacts in a blanket ‘snoopers’ charter’, this is a wasteful intrusion. The £2 billion cost should be invested in to digital infrastructure instead.

Everyone has a right to private and confidential communication. To ensure that, we need to introduce stronger data protection laws and require companies that hold personal information to be clearer with consumers about their rights and to apply a reasonable level of security to data.

Most importantly it is time to claim back the ‘commons’, even on privately owned land that is used publicly. We have the right to gather and enjoy our shared spaces and we should be free from arbitrary restrictions and intrusions if we wish to do so. I want to see a rolling back of the more authoritarian excesses of the last few governments, including a review of terrorism legislation and laws designed to limit a specific type of behaviour, but that now have an impact on every day life and have come to threaten us all.

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