Our Political, Democratic, and Civil Rights
As democratic socialists, equal ownership of our democracy is the cornerstone of our politics. We will defend and strengthen the right of everyone to decide the direction of our society, to take power back from private interests, and to wield the power of government for the public good.
Universal Political Rights
We will protect universal political rights for everyone in the North. We will reverse the introduction of voter identification requirements, a policy which attempts to fix a non-existent problem and in reality only serves to disenfranchise those most affected by the government's decisions. Voting is the foundation of our democracy: only by ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard can we create a society where we all have lives worth living.
We will lower the voting age to sixteen, as is already the case in Scotland and Wales. If our young people can join the Armed Forces and be taxed from the age of sixteen then they must have the voting rights to go along with those responsibilities.
We will protect and expand civil rights, including the right to protest, the right to privacy, and freedom of religion. Everyone should be able to live their lives free from government interference, and express themselves and their views without fear. We will reverse the draconian measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that inhibit democratic protest.
Free and Fair Speech
Freedom of speech is the foundation of open public debate: all people should have the right to express their opinions, and to respond with candour to opinions they hear expressed. We support the legal right to free speech, with the limited exceptions of incitements to violence, bigotry, and hatred. While people should be free to speak their mind, they must also be held responsible for opinions which are driven by hatred and ultimately corrosive to our democracy.