How much do you value your rights and freedoms?

Alexandra Runswick
23 June 2008

Alexandra Runswick (London, Unlock Democracy): In resigning his seat and forcing a by-election, that's the question David Davis has been asking us over the past week. Regardless of whether this was the best way to do it, it is a pertinent question and one which needs to be answered.

Unlock Democracy, and Charter 88 before it, have spent 20 years campaigning for democracy, rights and freedoms. We have been appalled, not just by Gordon Brown's plans to extend the amount of time individuals can be detained by the state without charge to 42 days, but at the way he intends to do it. This policy was not mentioned in Labour's manifesto. In the face of a backbench rebellion, the government only got this legislation through the House of Commons by the slimmest of margins. Now they could bypass the House of Lords completely through use of the Parliament Act.

No country that prides itself on being a democracy should be able to abolish fundamental human rights without cross-party consensus. No responsible government should seek to do so in the first place.

So we agree with David Davis that the time has come to draw a line in the sand. Fundamental to that is to make the case for a Bill of Rights and, ultimately, a written constitution to limit the powers of the state.

The by-election in Haltemprice and Howden is a battle we cannot afford to not get involved in. As a non-aligned organisation, Unlock Democracy will not endorse Davis or indeed any candidate, but we do intend to take the fight for rights and freedoms to the streets of Hull and the East Ridings.

We need your help to do this.

Over the past few days we have been working out a campaign strategy. We intend to:

  • Distribute a newspaper to every household in the constituency;
  • Hold a public meeting;
  • A street stall in every town.

To pull this off in the timescale we have, we need £5,000. If everyone receiving this blog today made just a small contribution, we could raise this money with ease.For this reason I am asking you to make a contribution of £20 today. Of course, if you can afford £100 or £1,000, we aren't going to stop you! If you value your rights and freedoms and want to take a stand, please do make a donation.

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