I am deeply committed to human rights in the information age. Hard-won rights such as to privacy, to a fair trial and to a secret ballot are all being challenged by thoughtless legislation and technical systems that sweep up huge amounts of personal data. I have spent a significant amount of time working with NGOs over the last decade to publicise and campaign on issues such as Internet surveillance, ID cards, copyright enforcement technology and electronic voting, all of which will have a very significant effect on the shape of 21st century Britain.
I believe in a society where everyone has the ability to take decisions on the matters most important to them. Massive devolution of power, a fairer voting system and a strong written constitution are vital steps towards this situation. I am sceptical of both an over-mighty state and the unequal bargaining power of big business.
Governments should act strategically not tactically. For example, to win the "war on terror", the UK would do best to promote multi-ethnic dialogue and support the rule of international law rather than ever-tighten the rights of minority (and majority) groups and engage in dangerous tabloid rhetoric about the "problems" of human rights conventions. The narcotics trade would do much less damage to UK citizens and states such as Afghanistan and Colombia if prohibition were replaced with education and medical treatment.
I feel very strongly that the painful lessons learnt about human dignity and autonomy during the bloody wars of the 20th century are being forgotten in a race to the bottom between the UK and US. I remain optimistic that NGOs, parliamentarians and those of good conscience can have a powerful influence in reversing this trend.
Or in one sentence: I am suspicous of power in all of its forms. Does this make me an anarcho-capitalist?!