Today, the BBC published a survey on worldwide public attitudes to the internet. The results are a loud and clear wake up call to political parties that thought they were safely in the middle of the road.
75% of UK adults agree, or strongly agree with the statement "Access to the internet should be a fundamental right of all people." To put this into some perspective, that's a wording that we, the Pirate Party UK, thought was too extreme to put in our manifesto. All the major political parties in the UK are collaborating on a Digital Economy Bill that will give copyright holders an unprecedented new power of collective punishment, a power to cut off people's internet connection. They will be able to do this to you even if you can prove that that you are innocent of any copyright infringement, and prove that somebody else is responsible.
It's time for the other parties to wake up and realise that they are a long, long way out of step with public opinion.
Only the Pirate Party is fighting for the public's right to connect to the internet. Only the Pirate Party is anywhere near as keen on internet freedom as the average person in the street.
Elsewhere in the survey more shocks are in store for politicians. We would like to think that UK citizens enjoy more freedom of political self-expression than in other, less enlightened countries, but when presented with the statement "The internet is a safe place to express my opinions" just 16% of UK adults strongly agreed. We rank ourselves lower for freedom to express opinions than do residents of Russia, Thailand, or Pakistan, and more than twice as badly as citizens of Mexico, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt. The public believes we live in a country with worse than third-world standards of free expression. Only the Pirate Party even recognises that this is a problem.
Most shocking of all is the response to the statement "The internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere." The BBC say 33% of UK adults agree with a policy even more radical that the Pirate Party position.
The message to other political parties is clear: You are the extremists, not us.
Only the Pirate Party is in tune with public opinions about internet freedom.