Five questions you should be asking canvassers

Posted by Martha Spurrier on 05 May 2017

Local elections are done and dusted – but general election campaigning is just getting started.

Across the nation, we’ll be bombarded with slogans, leaflets and canvassers at every turn for the next four weeks – so it helps to know your stuff.

The concerns we raise on the doorstep are fed back to party headquarters – and can have a real influence over manifestos and campaigning priorities.

If you want to protect human rights for the next five years – whoever’s running our country – here are five things to ask every canvasser who comes to your door.

1. Will you protect our Human Rights Act?

The Human Rights Act is our law. It lets us hold our authorities to account if they don’t protect and respect our rights – and it’s made the UK a better, fairer place.

It’s helped victims of crime, disabled people and minority groups including BAME and LBGT communities.

It’s protected our soldiers, journalists and women who have survived domestic violence. It helped the Hillsborough families and so many others get to the truth.

Read more on our Human Rights Act – and sign Mark Neary’s petition calling on party leaders to protect it.

2. Will you make sure we stay signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights?

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) outlaws torture and slavery. It upholds free speech and religion, protecting life, liberty and the other basic rights which we all rely on to live free and dignified lives. The Human Rights Act puts it into UK law – letting us defend those rights in our own courts.

It rose from the aftermath of the Second World War to make sure its horrors were never seen again. It was drafted by British lawyers, and is one of our country’s proudest achievements.

The UK’s membership helps drive up standards – not just here, but in countries like Russia and Turkey. It remains a beacon of hope for those still fighting for basic freedoms all over the world.

Read more on the ECHR.

3. What will you do to combat division and discrimination?

Successive governments have demonised migrants, enforcing divisive and discriminatory policies which spread hate and build borders in our classrooms, hospitals and even our homes.

Our immigration rules should be enforced at the border by trained professionals – not our teachers, landlords and doctors. And any future government must end the shameful practice of limitless immigration detention on our shores.

With hate crime on the rise, now is the time for policies and rhetoric to build bridges, not sow division.

4.  Will you fight to protect human rights as we leave the EU?

It’s important for all of us that politicians fight to keep hard-won human rights protections as we leave the EU.

The next government must promise to protect our workers’ rights and equality protections – and not to use EU nationals’ rights as bargaining chips.

And any move to change our rights must undergo full democratic scrutiny.

Read more on Brexit and our rights.

5. Will you commit to a targeted state surveillance system which protects our rights?

The Investigatory Powers Act is now law, letting the Government record and monitor everything you do online – all without any suspicion of wrongdoing. It creates vast goldmines of all of our most sensitive data – leaving it up for grabs for foreign spies and criminals.

It’s time our politicians did the right, responsible thing – and gave us a surveillance system that targets genuine suspects – instead of swamping spies with too much data, putting our personal information at massive risk and disregarding our rights.

Read about Liberty’s challenge to the Snoopers’ Charter.

Download Liberty’s cut out and keep ‘questions for canvassers’ doorhanger.

Martha Spurrier Liberty

Martha Spurrier