Category Archives: Law

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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Tory corruption: they’ll change the law, just to keep receiving this man’s donations

Britain’s greediest man? Boris Johnson is changing electoral law so an ex-pat Tory millionaire can continue funnelling cash to the Conservatives beyond the current 15-year restriction on him being able to.

Greedy Boris Johnson is planning to scrap a law that stops ex-pats from voting and donating to political parties – purely so the Tories can continue receiving millions from one donor who lives abroad.

According to the Mirror,

John Gore, has given almost £4.2 million to the Conservative Party, making him the Tories’ number one donor despite having spent “more than a decade away” from the UK.

Currently donors can only fund parties from abroad for 15 years – but this will be abolished under the Elections Bill.

This is the same Bill that will deprive 3.5 million people – mostly the poor – from being able to vote because they won’t have the photo ID that Johnson will demand in future elections.

So we see that this corrupt Bill will not only steal your vote, but will give it to wealthy Tory donors who don’t even live here any more.

Source: Tory law change would let donors bankroll party from tax havens for life – Mirror Online

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14 years in jug for embarrassing the government? Patel is crossing from fascism to Nazism

This is a Nazi-style bid to turn our newspapers into propaganda sheets.

(And let’s be honest – most of them are more than halfway there already.)

The big surprise about the story is that it has been broken by the Daily Heil!

According to that rag, Priti Patel – for it is her again – has been consulting on a plan to change the Official Secrets Act in order to remove protections for reporters who are handed leaked documents that may embarrass the Tory government.

The Act’s provisions are intended to protect the UK against agents of foreign governments. Attacking UK-based journalists is clearly a perversion of such legislation but Patel won’t be worried about that.

The Mail‘s story states:

Under a consultation run by Priti Patel’s Home Office, which closes later this week, reporters who handle leaked documents would not have a defence if charged under new laws designed to clamp down on foreign agents.

There’s been a consultation? And it closes in a matter of days? This must be one of those fake consultations that the Tories do all the time – they claim to have been consulting while deliberately not telling anybody about it.

Human rights organisations and the Law Commission, which drew up the proposals, say there should be a ‘public interest defence’ included to prevent the prosecution of journalists who receive leaked documents.

But in a paper released for the consultation, the Home Office said such a move would ‘undermine our efforts to prevent damaging unauthorised disclosures, which would not be in the public interest’.

Who says what’s in the public interest and what isn’t? Usually it’s the courts, in cases of serious disagreement – but the power of the courts is being curbed in new Tory legislation so Patel is effectively giving the Tories ultimate power over the press.

This Writer won’t be affected, though. I may comment on what it means when the contents of leaked documents are published but I don’t receive those documents so I can’t publish them.

Tough luck, Patel! You might turn your supporters in the mainstream media against you but you won’t get critics like Vox Political.

Source: Journalists could face 14 years in prison for embarrassing the Government under proposed law change | Daily Mail Online

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Law to put private companies at the centre of the NHS passes second reading. Where are the news reports?

Backhander: the new Health and Care Bill will apparently allow private companies to take your tax money – intended to support the NHS – and then use “commercial confidentiality” laws to hide how they spend it.

What a blackout.

The Health and Care Bill – a planned law by the Conservative government that aims to put private, profit-making businesses at the centre of the English NHS – passed by a huge majority just after 7pm today (July 14).

At the time of writing – more than two and a half hours later – I found only one news report about it, in Scottish website The National.

Where’s your report, BBC? Where’s yours, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News? How about you, The GuardianThe Mirror? Anyone else at all?

During the debate, health minister Edward Argar admitted that the Bill would lead to increased private influence in the NHS – but tried to sugar-coat it.

“We are determined to embrace innovative potential wherever we find it,” he said.

Let’s consider what he calls “innovative potential”:

The Bill will break the NHS in England into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

The much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

The Bill will not treat a single extra patient, nor will it recruit even one more nurse.

That is exactly what I told my Conservative MP, Fay Jones, when I wrote asking her to speak against the Bill, and to vote against it. Of course, she did neither. She’s a Tory drone.

Fortunately, some others had the courage to stand up for their constituents who would be affected (including those in Scotland and Wales, of course).

Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP health spokesperson, said the Bill could mean private companies will be able to take public cash and not have to publish accounts of how it is used.

“It is hard to see this as anything other than a blatant conflict of interest,” she said. “Private companies hide behind commercial confidentiality and don’t publish accounts of how they spend public money.”

Labour’s Zarah Sultana said the Bill “will put on steroids the cronyism we’ve seen in this pandemic, where Tory mates and donors having handed billions of pounds in dodgy Covid Government contracts, and it will implement a healthcare model that incentivises cuts and closures, rationing funding to health boards. This dangerous Bill is another step to privatisation.”

But they were rare voices of reason among the bleating of almost 360 Tory sheep.

A Labour amendment to deny the Bill its second reading was voted down by 359 votes to 218, and the Bill passed to the committee stage of the legislative process by 356 votes to 219.

It seems Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid want to pass this Bill into law before the end of the current Parliamentary session on July 22. With this kind of complicity from their party faithful on the Green Benches, they seem certain to succeed.

And with an apparent news blackout on coverage of this crisis for publicly-provided health care, it seems the NHS will pass into the hands of the asset strippers before most of us even know it could.

Source: Health and Care Bill: NHS ‘takeover’ legislation passes second reading | The National

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Humiliation for Tories as they give up on ‘English Votes for English Laws’

EVEL: John Redwood – seen here speaking from his home planet of Vulcan (apparently), said the end of English Votes for English Laws was a “sad occasion”, even while his fellow right-wingers like Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted that the procedure had “undermined” Parliament.

The Conservative government tried to quietly scrap its unsuccessful attempt to placate Little Englanders – but couldn’t stop the hoots of derision from across the House of Commons.

They have scrapped their English Votes for English Laws system – otherwise known as EVEL – because it didn’t work.

And quite right, too – especially on the eve of a debate on yet another top-down restructuring of the NHS in England, that will affect patients in the other UK countries as well.

As a citizen of Wales, This Writer would still have to travel into England for treatment at English hospitals in certain citcumstances, and it would be utterly inappropriate for my MP – Tory though Fay Jones may be! – to have her vote on such a matter disregarded.

As it was, the Tories had to grin and bear it as ridicule was piled on humiliation by critics from other parties – most notably the Scottish Nationalists.

The SNP’s Pete Wishart called scrapping the procedure an “utter, utter humiliation” for the government and said it was a victory for his party.

Thangham Debbonaire, shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said the procedure “undermines democracy” and helped feed “the SNP’s indignation”.

And even Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory Leader of the House, admitted that the procedure had “added complexity and delay to the legislative process”.

He said EVEL had “undermined” Parliament and all MPs should be represented equally, rejected accusations the move was to appease nationalists and said the government was “trying to restore the beauty and the uniformity of our constitution so that it will work properly”.

You can see how bad EVEL was by the quality of its supporters: swivel-eyed John Redwood said “England deserved better”, that it was a “sad occasion”, and that EVEL was the “only modest devolution ever offered to England”.

Fine words from the Tory minister for the planet Vulcan

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Will Priti Patel’s new immigration Bill put her in conflict with the Queen?

The Queen: she has given the RNLI a Royal Charter to rescue anybody at all whose life is in danger on the sea near the UK. If Priti Patel wants to criminalise this activity, it seems likely that she will come to grief.

It’s a thought that would make a normal UK minister pause – but Priti Patel is not normal, and I mean that in the most unkind way possible, so This Writer is keen to see how events unfold.

Patel’s draft Nationality and Borders Bill, clause 38, potentially criminalises rescuers of asylum seekers if they are deemed to be “facilitating” their arrival in the UK.

Clause 38 amends the 1971 Immigration Act offence of assisting an asylum seeker, increasing the maximum sentence to life imprisonment, from 14 years, and removing the words “for gain”, which previously limited prosecutions to paid people smugglers.

This is potentially very bad news for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has vowed to continue rescuing anybody its crews find to be in danger at sea off the UK’s coast – no matter what their legal status may be.

This is in line with International Maritime Law and with the United Nations’ Safety Of Life At Sea (Solas) convention.

Crews could face imprisonment for life, according to the legislation.

The Home Office has said the Bill is intended to target “ruthless people smugglers” and organisations like the RNLI – and individuals – would be allowed to continue humanitarian rescue work.

But if that is the case, why amend the law to criminalise all rescues rather than merely those carried out “for gain”?

So, as George Peretz QC states, “Mere assertion doesn’t cut it.”

Here’s where it gets really interesting, though: The RNLI is mandated to carry out its rescues by a Royal Charter issued by its patron – The Queen.

That’s why it has the word “Royal” in its title.

The charter means the RNLI is permitted to rescue anybody whose life is in danger on the sea off the UK’s coast – by order of the Queen.

Does legislation by the Commons have authority to override that?

I don’t know. I think Patel needs to re-write her bad law to avoid finding out.

I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes if she tried to force the issue.

Source: RNLI vows to continue sea rescues despite prison fears for picking up migrants | Financial Times

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Tory Hunt’s argument to block refugees is WRONG. Will the Tories really use it to change the law?

Border Force: if it has to enforce a new law blocking legitimate ways for refugees to come into the UK, won’t it be creating a market for people-traffickers?

Take a look at the following clip, from the July 6 edition of BBC2’s Politics Live.

The antagonists are left-wing social media presenter Ash Sarkar and Tory MP Tom Hunt, and they’re discussing plans by the Johnson Tory government to block ways in which refugees can come to the UK.

She puts forward common sense points about the reasons people would want to come to the UK after leaving a home country where they may be in danger – and points out that cutting off legitimate ways of entry will send more folk to the people-traffickers.

He repeats the oft-debunked – untrue – claim that refugees must settle in the first safe country they enter – and blusters. A lot.

As I stated on Twitter: “You can sympathise with every adult woman trying to reason with a little boy having a tantrum, can’t you?”

The concern is that it is Hunt who is in a position to make a new UK law on refugees.

On this evidence, it will be prejudiced – if not downright racist.

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Tories and Labour in war of… infographics… over dictatorial anti-protest Bill

What the Police Bill means: political protesters will be arrested and women will be harmed under Boris Johnson’s Tory government.

Did we all blink and miss the mainstream news coverage of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s new Bill to kill political protest in the UK – and harass minorities – passing its final stages in the House of Commons?

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sailed through its Third Reading on July 5, meaning it will now go to the House of Lords for consideration before being passed into law.

When it is passed into law, it will seriously harm our freedoms in the following ways (as detailed previously on This Site):

The Conservatives are ending your right to protest.

The new law allows police to arrest anybody for putting on a political demonstration that is noticed by anybody else.

There’s no point in protesting if you’re not allowed to make enough noise for other people to notice it, of course.

The move has been interpreted – correctly – as an attempt to head off protests against the Conservatives’ planned political changes that will alter the UK from being a democracy (albeit a not-very-progressive one) into a full-blown dictatorship.

The Tories are giving the police huge new powers of oppression

The example I used was the new power to arrest travellers – not for committing a crime, but on suspicion that they might do so in the future. This comes with a power to confiscate their homes.

Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is full of similar increases of oppression, against people in all parts of the UK’s society, we’re told.

The Conservatives are continuing to turn a blind eye to crimes against women – especially if they are committed by the police

Hate crime is the trademark of Conservative governments in the UK since 2010. They have stirred up hatred against migrant workers; they’ve stirred it up against people with long-term illnesses and disabilities. Their new Police Bill will stir up more hate against minorities, while failing to protect more than half the population from crime.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sets the penalty for attacking a statue at 10 years imprisonment. That is twice as long a term as the starting-point sentence for rape.

The strategy for getting the Bill passed is simple, childish, and therefore oft-repeated; the offensive measures are mixed in with measures that would create a genuine improvement*.

It is a strategy that the Tories plan to repeat with their forthcoming Bill to increase NHS privatisation.

The premise is simple: anybody opposing the Bill because it attacks our freedoms is accused of opposing the useful measures instead.

Want to see it in action?

The Tories launched a series of infographics into the social media on July 5, after Labour voted against the Police anti-protest Bill. Here’s how they describe Labour’s behaviour:

They also used this:

Labour hit back with this:

I wonder how many people even noticed.

Your legal rights were voted away behind a smokescreen of reasonable policies and it wasn’t reported at all by the mainstream press.

And this is all the Labour Party produced to attack what happened.

Don’t get me wrong; the failure to increase minimum sentences for rapists is important (although possible less important than the failure to secure any sentences at all for most of them?) but the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains much more material that is just as evil.

But nobody could be bothered to explain it to the public beyond a couple of infographics that didn’t even touch all the main issues.

*Of course a reasonable and responsible approach would be to separate out the measures that would win Parliament-wide approval and discuss the offensive material separately. But that would require our elected members to behave like adults – and that is well beyond Boris Johnson’s capabilities.

Source: Labour votes against “draconian” anti-protest bill but it passes by majority of 100 – LabourList

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Labour bid to gag website raises serious concerns about the party’s leaders

Badge of shame: if you filled a river with badges representing every Labour member expelled under false accusations of anti-Semitism, along with those representing every member who has quit in disgust at Keir Starmer’s dictatorial regime, how many miles would they stretch along it?

An attempt by the Labour Party to gag an investigative website suggests the party is undemocratic and unfit to govern.

It seems Labour’s infamous Governance and Legal unit was upset after The Electronic Intifada reported a decision by two party officials to block a debate on a motion calling for sanctions against Israel, due to the ongoing persecution of Palestinians by that nation’s government and military.

The claim was that it “would undermine the party’s ability to provide a safe and welcoming space” for Jewish members.

This attempt to protect Israel shows that the Labour Party machine is deeply anti-Semitic: it relies on a false equivalence between the decisions of the Israeli government and every Jew on Earth, regardless of their political views.

According to the definition of anti-Semitism that Labour has agreed to support, that is anti-Semitism: all Jews are not to be considered responsible for the behaviour of one group.

Worse still, Labour’s Governance and Legal unit tried to protect the party officials who tried to stop the debate – Hove & Portslade CLP chair Kim Bolton and Labour South East organiser Scott Horner – saying it was neither necessary nor in the public interest for them to be named.

It also claimed that the article had relied on private email exchanges and therefore breached data protection law.

But in fact the article had relied on minutes of a CLP meeting which The Electronic Intifada has now published in its own defence.

It is necessary to know who is spreading this poison in the Labour Party. There is no evidence to support fearmongering about anti-Semitism in the party as a result of a sanction against Israel and the claim that there are now concerns for the officials’ safety is extreme; it seems more likely that this was an attempt to protect them from any backlash within the party’s mechanisms against their inappropriate and undemocratic behaviour.

And this is the final – and most important point – to be made here: the Labour Party is now undemocratic. It does not allow the voice of the members to be heard and does not represent that voice. Instead, it supports the wishes of organisations outside the party.

This means Labour does not represent its own members.

And if it cannot represent its own members, then it should not be allowed to represent the UK as the party of government.

This episode shows that a Labour government – as led by Keir Starmer and following his orders – would not enact policies that are supported by a majority of the UK’s public.

It would act on its own agenda, dictated by groups that do not belong to the party, whose members probably don’t even vote for it.

And that is why nobody should support the Labour Party under Starmer’s leadership. Instead we need to be making lists of members and officials who need to be brought to book, once this vile and shameful era of the party’s history is brought to an end.

Source: Labour Party tries to intimidate The Electronic Intifada | The Electronic Intifada

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Could Boris Johnson be prosecuted under HIS OWN police Bill?

Don’t get your hopes up: remember that government ministers in the UK are automatically above the law and will never be prosecuted for breaking it. There is no rule explicitly saying this but just try to get the police to put one of them in jail.

Wouldn’t it be typically weird of Boris Johnson if he passed an Act of Parliament by which he himself could be imprisoned?

Take a look at this:

So according to Johnson’s own Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, anyone – at all – who commits an act that causes serious harm to the public or a section of the public, recklessly as to whether it will have such a consequence, could be sent to jail for up to 10 years?

Wouldn’t the catalogue of mistakes that has caused at least 150,000 deaths due to Covid-19 qualify as such an act?

Oh, but wait.

Johnson and all his Cabinet ministers are above the law and need never fear prosecution by the police services they own.

(Sorry. I forgot that for a moment.)

What? You thought nobody in the UK is above the law? Think again.

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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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

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is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook