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Defend Dartmoor!

On January 21st some 3,000 people turned out on Dartmoor to protest the decision to remove the right to wild camping on the moor.

As a liberal, I saw this as a truly significant moment when the people were standing up to defend their rights against the rich hedge fund manager who had used his wealth to attempt to deny those rights.

It came to light a few days after the decision that well loved local events like the Ten Tors would be able to continue (with the camping overnight on the moor) due to an agreement between the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) and most of the landowners. However this is a limited area, could be removed at any time, and involved paying the landowners for the 'privilege' of retaining what had been a right.

Why should we have to pay for what has been an ancient right. I am delighted that the Dartmoor National Park Authority has now decided to appeal the court decision that takes those rights away.

The Government has gone further. They are now talking of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights - started by Winston Churchill and others in May 1948. And they have already started legislation that would make protests unlawful if they were considered 'Too Loud' - whatever that means.

With our rights are under attack it becomes all too likely that fundamental rights get erased before we notice, and then it quickly becomes too late.

So that is why we must Defend Dartmoor. We have to stand up for our rights, to wild camp, to have our rivers free of pollution, to protest and to make our voices heard.

If you argree please sign our petition here.

And there is one other right that is under attack by the Government. They are trying to remove the right to vote from anyone who turns up at the polling station without a photo ID. This is straight out of the US right wing's playbook to disenfranchise the young and the less well off who may not have a driving licence or passport.

Make sure that you can vote, if you don't have a passport or driving licence you can get a free document online- so long as you apply before the next election: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate

Martin Wrigley