Category Archives: House of Lords

#PoliceBill: The Lords have blocked the #Tory plan to outlaw #protest

This is a bit huge, isn’t it?

Members of one House of Parliament have shown that they are capable of listening to the public, and have voted to block a plan by the Tory government to outlaw “noisy” and/or “disruptive” organised protests.

The decision to erase this part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has come after a weekend of “noisy” and/or “disruptive” organised protests against this government policy.

And it followed a debate that was punctuated by the noise of a demonstration against the Bill outside the Lords Chamber, to which peers did not object at all.

Home Office minister Baroness Williams tried to persuade peers that police would only use the proposed new powers where “necessary” and “appropriate” – but it seems nobody believed her on that. Once the law is passed, police will be allowed to adhere to its letter, not whatever meaning is being applied to it now. That means they’ll be able to do what they like – and that’s not acceptable in a democratic society.

Baroness Williams tried to gather support by saying the noisy protest outside would not be stopped – which is odd, as part of the Bill would have banned protest from Parliament Square.

Instead, she said noisy anti-vaccination protests outside a school or nursing home were a different matter – and that police should have the powers to intervene if necessary. But such protests are unique to the Covid-19 crisis; they don’t need a permanent law.

So it seems Priti Patel’s Bill is intended to address only current, short-term issues – but will then leave the measures to address them on the statute books in order to oppress people who would otherwise be described as entirely law-abiding exercisers of their democratic rights.

Again: not acceptable in a democratic society.

The Lords also voted to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales, in spite of the government’s policy not to.

Baroness Williams reckoned any evidence that a crime was misogynistic would be entirely subjective, and police would get tied up in reporting and monitoring statistics and data which are unlikely to be reliable.

Well, This Writer is not convinced. Misogyny is quantifiable and I’m sure people who investigate crimes will know how to do that. Perhaps Priti Patel could try talking with police sometime, instead of talking at them.

The Bill cannot be passed into law until both Houses have agreed on what it should be – so it will go back to the Commons, where the Tory majority will undoubtedly reverse these changes, along with several others agreed by the Lords.

They won’t think about it; they’ll just nod the stupidity back in.

And so the long year begins.

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Tory donors pay £3 million for a seat in the House of Lords? Bargain!

Tories will sell anything: or so it seems. This particular Tory seems to have been selling seats in the House of Lords for £3 million a time.

Boris Johnson does it again.

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, the country that was to become the United Kingdom was plagued with places known as Rotten Boroughs. These were Parliamentary constituencies with very few voters, whose choice in elections could be bought by corrupt politicians.

They were outlawed many years ago but the concept is explored very thoroughly in an episode of Blackadder The Third.

Now we have ‘Rotten Boris’ Johnson who, it seems, has been selling places in the House of Lords instead – at £3 million a pop!

A complaint has been lodged with the Metropolitan Police…

… but will officers investigate?

Some would say the Met, under its current commissioner, Cressida Dick, is as corrupt as Johnson; we have allowed our institutions to degrade to a point where it is impossible to find an honest person who will hold the criminals to account.

I wait to be proved wrong. But I won’t hold my breath.

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Aftershocks of the Paterson scandal: qui bono?**

Owen Paterson: he quit his job as an MP, but will he – and his corrupt Tory party – be REWARDED for it?

If you’ve been locked away for the past couple of days, here’s the situation:

The primary result of Paterson’s fall is that there will be a by-election in North Shropshire.

No indeed. It will be an opportunity for Keir Starmer to parachute his ex-Tory trophy John Bercow in (perhaps), but Bercow would not be an acceptable choice for the Labour Left, so such a decision may lead to a further split in that party.

Labour has refused to countenance the possibility of a single Opposition candidate, chosen from among all the non-Tory parties. Presumably Starmer sees no advantage for him, especially if such a candidate – from another party – wins and then reneges on any agreements.

So the Conservatives are likely to retain North Shropshire, even if they put up a shaved monkey for the seat (and they probably will) – because the other parties are squabbling among themselves.

Meanwhile, the Tories who are actually occupying Parliamentary seats have been disgracing themselves all over the place. Here’s Nadhim Zahawi, admitting that he didn’t bother to read the report on Owen Paterson’s behaviour before voting to support him last Wednesday (November 3).

Note his scrabbling attempt to backtrack with a claim that he didn’t take in every detail. It’s nonsense, of course; he didn’t read the report. He was told to support Paterson so he did, without thinking. That’s Fascist Britain for you.

Here’s a good question:

The fact is that Zahawi would not have been able to answer, as he would know that either position would be unsafe for him.

Still, his choice seems to have been less difficult than that faced by other Tory MPs who (presumably) were leaning against supporting Paterson.

We are told that they were threatened with sanctions if they didn’t vote the way Boris Johnson wanted:

So much for justice, honesty and decency in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government. Even if you’re on his side, you have to do what you’re told, without thinking, or face sanctions. There’s another fairly recent national government that did much the same but I can’t quite recall where it was…

To prove the point, Tory Angela Richardson was fire from her job as a secretary to Michael Gove, because she stuck to her principles and refused to support Paterson. The following morning, when it had become clear that the Tories would not be able to save him and their plan to corrupt the standards system had failed, she was reinstated:

One would hope that her stand would put her in a much better position than her blindly line-toeing colleagues (including This Writer’s MP, Fay Jones. I’d like to know her reasons for supporting corruption!) in a general election. But in tribal England, that seems unlikely. Sad.

And what of Owen Paterson himself?

Perhaps we should all lobby the production team of HIGNFY, never to invite a corrupt, disgraced former MP to guest on the show?

As for the knighthood, why stop there?

So it seems he’ll be heading for the House of Lords – which is already bursting at the seams with Tories after previous efforts by David Cameron and Boris Johnson to fill the place with people who don’t deserve to be there:

Crime really does pay in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, doesn’t it?*

It seems the Tories will keep the Parliamentary seat that their corrupt MP just vacated, even though their conduct throughout the affair shows that none of them deserve to be in Parliament at all.

And Paterson himself is set up for a nice little peerage and more than £300 per day for turning up at the House of Lords.

*All right, what he did is not defined as a crime, otherwise he would be facing criminal charges. But it is certainly not acceptable behaviour, as this entire affair demonstrates.

**What an illiterate! I meant cui bono. After realising my mistake I decided to leave it in, mostly because I reckon more people might read the article, simply to correct my spelling! What a world we live in.

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Lords defeat Tory plan to remove pensions triple lock

Pensions: it seems this time the Tories have been prevented from stabbing our senior citizens in the back.

This is excellent news – and a welcome surprise after Labour Baron Prem Sikka signalled that the Lords had failed to support his amendment to save the triple lock.

It seems they then supported a cross-party amendment to keep the pensions triple lock in place.

Peers by 280 votes to 178 backed a cross-party motion to keep retirement payouts linked to earnings – a large majority of 102.

Under the amendment the so-called “triple lock” would stay in place but adjustments would be allowed to be made for the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The defeat means the government will either have to accept the amendment, or send its original plan back to the Lords again and risk prolonging the political row.

The Tories are now whining that they have only suspended the triple lock for a single year – but Baron Sikka demonstrated yesterday that this would result in a loss of more than £30 billion to pensioners by 2027:

Under the triple lock, the state pension rises every year by the general rate of increase in earnings, the rate of inflation, or 2.5 per cent – whichever is the highest.

Because earnings fell dramatically during the first part of the pandemic and then rebounded quickly, an unmodified version of the pension triple lock would see a sharp rise in the state pension of around 8 per cent. The government wants to pass legislation that would stop this from happening automatically, and says it will reinstate the policy after the pandemic.

Source: Boris Johnson suffers heavy defeat in House of Lords over pensions triple lock | The Independent

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Hardline Home Secretary’s ‘toxic’ plan to restrict protest attacks ‘basic democratic rights’

“Little despot” Priti Patel is attacking “some of the most basic democratic rights of citizens” in her plan to restrict UK citizens’ fundamental right to protest, it’s being claimed.

She is facing revolt against her planned law as the Policing Bill enters the House of Lords this week.

And more than 350 organisations, including human rights groups, charities and faith bodies, have written to Patel and justice secretary Robert Buckland to say that the measures would have a “profound impact” on freedom of expression, and are “an attack on some of the most basic democratic rights of citizens”.

Peers are likely to make amendments to the Bill before it goes back to the House of Commons, triggering a potential confrontation with MPs.

But the hardline Patel may be defeated if enough Conservative MPs join a rebellion.

Former Labour Home Secretary Lord David Blunkett said the Bill would stop people from protesting over issues like planning proposals, fracking or other topical items against which they have every right to express opposition.

And he said if the Bill is intended to stop people with political agendas from using the right to protest for their own ends, then it does not achieve that goal.

He said other ways of dealing with such behaviour already exist.

Source: Patel faces widening revolt over policing bill’s restrictions on protest | Police | The Guardian

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Far-right bully Ian Austin’s dishonest attack on centre-left journalist DEMOLISHED

Dishonest: Ian Austin.

I’m grateful to the Twitter account @leftworks for this excellent work in demolishing the dishonesty of far-right former Labour Lord Ian Austin, who has been fibbing about This Writer and anti-Semitism.

He did it in an article in the Jewish Chronicle, which should know better when it is already facing penalties from press regulator IPSO for repeatedly publishing factually inaccurate articles.

The piece on August 17 was another such screed, in which Austin wrote: “Just last week, decent Brighton councillor Peter Atkinson quit the party in protest at the readmission of Councillor Anne Pissaridou who had been suspended for sharing material picturing Jacob Rothschild and referring to the collapse of the banking system and an article claiming “pro-Israel propagandists have ‘taken out contract’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn being elected.””

It’s a reference to this Vox Political article – and if you’re familiar with it, you’ll already know how he has distorted my statement.

Leftworks explained the falsehood, on Twitter, in detail:

This is important, not only because Austin (does he really deserve to be called “Lord”?) was lying about me – I didn’t say anybody was taking out a contract to stop Corbyn; it was a highly-respected Jewish journalist whose contribution Austin was trying to erase – but because it calls into question all the other quibbles he raised in his attack piece.

I understand the allegation against me is taken from an accusation of anti-Semitism made against Cllr Pissaridou by the Labour Party, and published by the Brighton and Hove Argus. In so doing, it is perpetuating Labour’s libel against me – for which I am grateful as I have not been able to address it while I have been dealing with the vexatious case brought against me by TV parlour game-player Rachel Riley.

It may provide me with an opportunity to take Labour to court (again) over its false accusations against me. I’ll have to have a chat about it with my solicitor.

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#BristolRiot – after police retract serious injury claims, will Ian Austin please give back his peerage? [WARNING: VIDEO OF EXTREME POLICE VIOLENCE]

Bristol riot: there seem to be a huge number of images showing the police attacking members of the public – and none at all of police being on the receiving end. Just why were they on the streets with their batons, their dogs and their horses?

Isn’t it curious that, days after making a big song and dance about police suffering broken bones and a punctured lung at the Bristol riot (that they may have caused), the claims were retracted days later?

Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Andy Marsh admitted in a press conference that no officer of his had suffered a punctured lung.

And the force’s publicity department admitted that neither of the officers taken to hospital actually turned out to have broken bones.

The damage had been done, though – the public outraged at this apparent thuggery by people who had congregated in Bristol to protest against police mistreatment of women.

How will the police take back this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or – especially – this?

And, having consideration of all the above, shouldn’t Lord Ian Austin reconsider his position in public life, hand back his peerage, and go home to spend more time with his prejudices?

Just look at the state of this:

Austin, formerly a Labour MP, was ennobled by Boris Johnson to sit as a non-affiliated peer after he quit the party as led by Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that it had a “culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance”.

Strange. He seems to be both extreme and intolerant. If Labour under Corbyn really had been like that, he should have fitted right in.

Current evidence shows the police inflicting extreme violence on people – many of whom were sitting down and/or offering no resistance, while suffering very few injuries themselves (and how many were self-inflicted or accidental?).

Austin has indicated that he supports this brand of extreme violent activity against people who are defenceless.

That is unacceptable in a public representative.

Ah, but we live in an unaccountable dictatorship, don’t we? He’ll ignore all his critics and continue with his offensive ways.

Source: Police retract claims that officers suffered broken bones at Bristol protest

Now nurses are being told many would envy their job security – by a HEREDITARY PEER

This is the reason some fascist put the above – unacceptable – query to the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday (March 11), it seems:

Tory Lord Bethell said it was reasonable to saddle nurses with a below-inflation pay rise (a de facto pay cut) because they have “secure jobs” that many would “envy”.

If that’s true, then why are there 80,000 job vacancies in the NHS? Could it possibly be because they are subjected to a huge amount of stress – more than the vast majority of other jobs – and aren’t paid enough to be able to cover their bills and the weekly grocery shop?

I think it could.

Meanwhile, let’s look at Bethell himself.

He’s a hereditary peer – a member of the House of Lords who receives more than £300 per day, just to turn up. He could spend the whole day asleep and he would still receive that payment.

Because the 1999 House of Lords Act removed all but 92 hereditary peers, he did not have an automatic right to sit in the Lords but gained it in 2018 after a vacancy arose due to death, retirement, resignation or exclusion (I don’t care which).

He was chosen by a group of current Tory hereditary peers, from an official list of aristocrats, who are overwhelmingly men, and won the by-election with 26 votes from a total electorate of 47.

So much for democracy.

Bethell said:

“There are millions of people out of work out of the back of this pandemic.

“There are lots of people who have had an extremely tough time and who face a period of unemployment. Nurses are well-paid for the job. They have a secure job and they have other benefits.

“There are many people in this country who look upon professional jobs within the NHS with some envy and we shouldn’t forget the fact that some public sector jobs are, in fact, extremely well-paid.”

Perhaps he hasn’t noticed, but many of the employment problems have been caused, not by the pandemic itself so much as by his party’s cack-handed handling of it.

Of course it can’t be argued that some public sector jobs are indeed extremely well-paid – Bethell would know because he has one of them.

But nursing isn’t on that select list.

Oh, and here‘s another damning fact about Bethell: he tried to blame poor people for their own deaths from Covid-19, on the grounds that they died because of their own poor decisions.

He said there were “behavioural reasons” for these deaths, listing “the decisions that people make about social distancing, about their own health decisions” – all of which were influenced by his Tory government’s messages!

Source: Tory hereditary peer says nurses have job security that many would ‘envy’ – Mirror Online

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Johnson nominates ‘cash for access’ culprit Cruddas to become a Lord

Brian Moore, below, makes a good point:

He seems to have been referring to Boris Johnson’s decision to nominate arch-Brexiter Daniel Hannan for a peerage (as if Johnson hasn’t already sent far too many of his cronies to the House of Lords):

Far worse than that, though, is the Number Two nomination: Peter Cruddas.

During his term as Conservative Party co-treasurer – effectively the party’s chief fundraiser – Cruddas was filmed by The Sunday Times, apparently offering access to the prime minister in return for a sizable donation: “£200,000 to £250,000 is Premier League – things will open up for you – you can ask him practically any question you want.”

Cruddas sued the newspaper for libel and won – but appeal court judges later ruled that the central allegation of the story – that Cruddas had offered “cash for access” to potential donors – was supported by the evidence.

By nominating him for a peerage, Johnson is effectively rewarding Cruddas for this behaviour – which This Writer considers to be corrupt; he was offering donors a chance to influence government policy – if the price was right.

Do Conservative voters think it’s right that the Upper House of the UK’s legislature is being filled with people connected to such corruption?

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Tory heretic Baker says Church of England could lose official status for criticising Brexit

Steve Baker: what’s the line I’m looking for? “Before he demands the bishops remove the mote from their eye, he should remove the plank from his own”?

Perhaps Steve Baker should be excommunicated? His true religion appears to be Brexit, anyway.

After Church of England bishops spoke out in the House of Lords against Boris Johnson’s ridiculous ‘Australia-style’ (read: ‘no deal’) Brexit, the oily Baker slithered straight to The Times with his ridiculous suggestion.

The Times is behind a paywall, which limits the damage. I certainly won’t pay Rupert Murdoch any money just to see what he said… but then I don’t have to. Here’s what he said:

I don’t know why Tories say stupid things like this, though. It only lays them wide open to mockery and ridicule, viz.:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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