Updated: Wednesday, 1st April 2020 @ 9:59am

'They can't brush this under carpet': Pirate Party leader demands end to Big Brother spying at Manchester rally

'They can't brush this under carpet': Pirate Party leader demands end to Big Brother spying at Manchester rally

Exclusive by Jess Owen

Joining the 50,000 protesters making up the 'largest rally in Manchester’s history' last weekend, the Pirate Party UK stood in line to demand greater transparency in politics – and to question the Conservatives over their treatment of civil liberties.

MM had the opportunity to catch up with leader of Pirate Party, Loz Kaye, following Sunday’s protest.

Started six years ago, the Pirate Party is a democratic political party calling for greater transparency in British politics, a plight catalysed by Snowden’s leaks on PRISM, Tempora and GCHQ in June this year.  The exposure of mass surveillance and the UK’S role in it is just one of the forces behind Pirate Party’s presence at the Tory Party Conference.

Mr Kaye, now three years into his role as leader, said: “We are still a country with net curtains.

“This march was about highlighting mass surveillance and how with the Snooper’s Charter rejected, we have had a debate on false premises. It was a democratic choice that we didn’t really have."

CALLING FOR CHANGE: Loz (centre) joins the 50,000-strong protest in Manchester 

The Snooper’s Charter, formerly known as the Draft Communication Data Bill was a £1.8billion draft of legislation proposed by Home Secretary Theresa May requiring internet and phone companies to keep records of our emails, texts, and calls.

The Pirate Party’s ethos is to give a voice to people tired of politics in its present state, for those who don’t identify with mainstream political parties or right and left wing.

Mr Kaye described his take on the present political scene: “It is about giving a new voice that fits the 21st century,” he said. “There is something missing in a lot of groups that focus on political freedom - getting involved directly.

“A lot of people ask why politics is so narrow – a lot don’t feel they have a home.”

Breaking the silence of main parties is therefore an aim of the party who feel that discussions around the surveillance breaches have been ignored.

“Politicians are desperate to deflect,” he said. “In fact it is uncomfortable for the Liberal Democrats who claim to fight for Civil Liberties however now we know this is the not the case. Our mission is to hold politicians to account.”

Mr Kaye explained that the aim of the rally was to provoke a proper enquiry into Britain’s role in American surveillance and ask what GCHQ are doing.

But more so, the party call for greater protection for our data and proper protection for whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, who is now seeking asylum in Russia.

Speaking of Snowden’s fate, Mr Kaye said: “I would have loved to have seen a European country step up, or even better if Britain had. I am not a massive fan of his asylum in Russia or his possible final destination in Venezuela.”

When asked whether Snowden should have stayed in the US and faced the consequences of leaking classified material, Mr Kaye said: “Look at Chelsea Manning – you can see the reality.”

The rally on Sunday saw record numbers of protesters in Manchester, many protesting NHS cuts and austerity cuts in general.

Mr Kaye added: “The rally was about joining with others to show we are not in our own little boxes but part of a bigger movement.

“This is about showing how out of touch the government really are and about making sure the government can’t get away with brushing issues under carpet. The more questions asked the better.”

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