Click here to read Rupert’s latest in Our Kingdom!
After much internal democratic deliberation, my Party, the Green Party, has decided to stand against the Tories in the Haltemprice and Howden byelection.
Our candidate is Shan Oakes, a local campaigner and local TV personality. Her – our — central argument will be that Davis offers only the shadow of freedom: we offer the substance. And in particular, that it is ludicrous to posture as a defender of freedom – of habeas corpus — while being quite happy to throw people into jail for 28 days without charge. In no other European country is this level of infringement upon liberty tolerated.
In other words: we are throwing down the gauntlet to Davis on the very issue that he decided to fight on. I am grateful to Davis for giving the country the chance for this much needed debate over civil liberties: I express my gratitude at Our Kingdom. But what is happening now is that we are entering that debate properly, and outflanking Davis, arguing that his vision of [civil] liberties is in a whole slew of ways not radical (not progressive, not serious) enough.
We are the true defenders of civil liberties: if people truly believe
in / get convinced by what Davis called the byelection for, then they should vote for us, not him.
And then there are broader issues of freedom that should be at play here, too: for example, the freedom that is afforded by social ownership of key services, as opposed to neo-liberal privatisation. George Lakoff makes this argument well, about how we must not in the first place allow the argument to be portrayed as one of freedom vs. constraint: We are the true advocates of freedom, and not Davis.
Those who are prepared to sacrifice a lot of freedom for a little alleged security deserve – and will get – neither freedom nor security. The Green Party is taking this argument to David Davis’s doorstep. Expect to see our Party’s major figures – including Peter Tatchell, Party Principal Speaker Derek Wall, Total Politics patron Caroline Lucas MEP and Jean Lambert MEP — visiting the constituency. I hope to spend some time there, too.
Anyone who has spent time recently on ‘LibDem Voice’ will know full-well that many Libdem activists are furious that they are not being allowed to stand against Davis, and question the degree of his commitment to the issues that are supposedly central to what he is doing, in fighting this byelection. And some of them have already remarked there on their blog that this leaves the door open for us to take the fight to Haltemprice and Howden. Indeed so: that is exactly what we’ll now be doing…
Rupert Read, Lead candidate to become a Green MEP for Eastern Region in June 2009, and a Norwich City Councillor, is to visit Camp Bling, the long running road protest camp in Southend on Sunday 6th July (all afternoon).
Camp Bling is one of the few long standing road protest camps in the country. It was set up to protect Priory Park and the many trees within it from being built over by a road scheme that it’s founders believe is totally unecessary. The protesters believe that the park was left to Southend by a benefactor who stated that it should remain as a park.
The protestors also seek to protect the archaeological site of a Saxon King burial that was found there. The burial is believed to date back to about 650 AD, and is rated as one of the most important archaelogical finds in England in the past 100 years.
Councillor Read said
“I was proud to have been able to participate in the Newbury bypass protest some years ago. ‘Camp Bling’ is now the frontline of efforts to stop unecessary and damaging road-building, right here in East Anglia.”
Councillor Read will be given a tour of the Camp Bling site and will be shown the visitor centre to learn about the work they have done to date. He will also be shown a film in the visitor centre about “Peak Oil”: the point, probably now reached, at which world oil consumption outstrips supply.