Archive of: rights
So they passed the Digital Economy Bill during “Wash Up” – by the way, has there ever been a more ridiculous yet apt name for a political process? – riding roughshod over democracy and ignoring the flaws in the bill that were repeatedly pointed out to them (I won’t repeat them here, but instead point you towards Steve Lawson’s excellent round up).
So where do we go from here?
We keep on fighting. This is being called the first “social media election“, so let’s turn our gaze to the election process and our future elected representatives.
Register to vote
This is the most important. If you’re not registered you can’t vote.
Research your constituency
Who is your current MP, How strong is their position? Are you in a marginal seat, who are the candidates, where do they stand? Were they implicated during the expenses scandal?
Sign up with Democracy Club
Democracy club is a non-party-political group of volunteers that want to hold candidates to account and motivate the public to get involved with the political process. You’ll be emailed small tasks like describing local issues or photographing campaign leaflets. You’ll be helping to build a resource of accountability.
Organisations such as the Open Rights Group and MySociety campaign on our behalf and build the tools we use to track what’s happening in the labyrinthian world of politics. Give them some money so they can continue their good work.
Write to your MP
Ask them how they feel about one of the most important bills in the last decade being forced through Parliament in just a couple of days with little-to-no scrutiny. Ask them whether they turned up to the debate, if not, why not? Be polite.
After recent events it would be easy to give up on the political process, but this is exactly the time to get more involved. Let’s show them the power of the network.
Update: There’s lots of good conversation and formulating of plans under the #Debill tag on Twitter.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote to my MP Andrew Smith regarding the recent increase in incidents where photographers have been intimidated and threatened by police or security guards whilst taking photographs in public areas.
Today I received the following letter from Jacqui Smith MP (the current Home Secretary) via Andrew Smith:
There is no legal restriction on photography in public places, and there is no presumption of privacy for individuals in a public place.
It is for the Chief Constable to ensure that Officers and PCSOs are acting appropriately with regards to photography in public places, and any queries regarding this should be addressed to the Chief Constable.
However, decisions may be made locally to restrict photography, for example to protect children. Any questions on such local decisions should also be addressed to the force concerned.
I’ll be continuing the dialog with Andrew Smith MP to see if there is anything further that can be done by the Home Secretary to remind her forces about this aspect of the law, as well sending my Chief Constable a copy of the letter.
You can find your own Chief Constable on the main UK Police Service site.
(I’ll now return you to the usual inane and irreverant japery that’s to be found round here.)