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Online Harms Bill could be Johnson government’s only USEFUL new law

Social media trolls could be neutered by incoming Online Harms legislation by the Tory government. It could be the most useful thing Boris Johnson ever does.

I’m not just publishing the above headline because, if the Online Harms Bill had been an active law in 2019, Rachel Riley’s followers – and allegedly Riley herself – would have been prevented from abusing a teenage girl with mental health issues who supported Jeremy Corbyn.

There are some very good ideas in here, including a demand that political content must be policed impartially, which is startling.

Consider:

All social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online will have a duty of care towards their users so that what is unacceptable offline will also be unacceptable online.

They will need to consider the risks their sites may pose to the youngest and most vulnerable people and act to protect children from inappropriate content and harmful activity.

They will need to take robust action to tackle illegal abuse, including swift and effective action against hate crimes, harassment and threats directed at individuals and keep their promises to users about their standards.

The largest and most popular social media sites will need to act on content that is lawful but still harmful such as abuse that falls below the threshold of a criminal offence, encouragement of self-harm and mis/disinformation.

The final legislation… will contain provisions that require companies to report child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) content identified on their services.

That takes care of the kind of abuse received by the teenage girl in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me (from Riley’s supporters), and also of the gaslighting (allegedly) carried out against her by Riley herself.

All in-scope companies will need to consider and put in place safeguards for freedom of expression when fulfilling their duties.

People using their services will need to have access to effective routes of appeal for content removed without good reason and companies must reinstate that content if it has been removed unfairly. Users will also be able to appeal to Ofcom.

Category 1 services [the largest and most popular social media sites] will need to conduct and publish up-to-date assessments of their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate they have taken steps to mitigate any adverse effects.

These measures remove the risk that online companies adopt restrictive measures or over-remove content in their efforts to meet their new online safety duties. An example of this could be AI moderation technologies falsely flagging innocuous content as harmful, such as satire.

Content on news publishers’ websites is not in scope. This includes both their own articles and user comments on these articles.

Articles by recognised news publishers shared on in-scope services will be exempted and Category 1 companies will now have a statutory duty to safeguard UK users’ access to journalistic content shared on their platforms.

This means they will have to consider the importance of journalism when undertaking content moderation, have a fast-track appeals process for journalists’ removed content, and will be held to account by Ofcom for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content. Citizen journalists’ content will have the same protections as professional journalists’ content.

This is handy for people like This Writer, who have had our accounts on Twitter (for example) suspended because of vexatious complaints by (in my case) people who described themselves as supporters of Riley.

Ministers have added new and specific duties to the Bill for Category 1 services to protect content defined as ‘democratically important’. This will include content promoting or opposing government policy or a political party ahead of a vote in Parliament, election or referendum, or campaigning on a live political issue.

Companies will also be forbidden from discriminating against particular political viewpoints and will need to apply protections equally to a range of political opinions, no matter their affiliation. Policies to protect such content will need to be set out in clear and accessible terms and conditions and firms will need to stick to them or face enforcement action from Ofcom.

When moderating content, companies will need to take into account the political context around why the content is being shared and give it a high level of protection if it is democratically important.

For example, a major social media company may choose to prohibit all deadly or graphic violence. A campaign group could release violent footage to raise awareness about violence against a specific group. Given its importance to democratic debate, the company might choose to keep that content up, subject to warnings, but it would need to be upfront about the policy and ensure it is applied consistently.

This is the part that amazes me, coming as it does from a right-wing – fascist – government.

As with everything in politics, the proof of its usefulness is in practice, so I can’t give it my unqualified support.

On paper, it means the court case currently taking up a certain unwanted amount of my time won’t happen again, because the abuse caused to the teenager at its centre would break the law.

Whether the activities provoking that abuse would also be against the new law is an element that may have to be tested, though.

I think we can all look forward to some interesting debates on this in the Commons, where I hope MPs will examine how the new legislation would relate to some of the more infamous online incidents in recent history…

Including those involving me.

Source: Landmark laws to protect children and stop abuse online published – GOV.UK

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Greensill: Johnson launches government-run review of lobbying. It’ll be another whitewash

David Cameron: he acted very slick in office but it seems he simply refused to do anything right.

Labour has (rightly) attacked Boris Johnson for launching only a government review of lobbying rather than a full independent inquiry in the light of the Greensill scandal.

Revelations about David Cameron’s involvement with the failed finance firm – for which he lobbied Tory ministers after quitting as their prime minister – are coming thick and fast.

The latest is that the government’s former head of procurement, Bill Crothers, was allowed to take a job with Greensill Capital two months before quitting his civil service role.

Having made this decision, the Cabinet Office (run at the time by Matt Hancock) then decided that, because he was already working for the firm before leaving, Mr Crothers would not have to apply to Whitehall’s “revolving door” regulator, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA).

The former civil servant says he did not promote Greensill for any public sector business for more than two years after leaving – but what did he do during those two months in 2015?

Labour’s Rachel Reeves did the morning media rounds today (April 14), saying that an internal review would not be good enough. Considering the Crothers revelations, she had a point:

Adil Ray on Good Morning Britain tried to torpedo her by pointing out that Tony Blair took a job with JP Morgan – one of the world’s biggest banks – after quitting as the UK’s prime minister in 2007.

She responded: “If anyone has any evidence that former Prime Ministers have been using their status to access special treatment for firms they are working for they should be investigated.

“But there are no accusations.”

Mr Ray might have scored a more palpable hit if he had pointed out that Labour has its own experience of whitewashing a corruption inquiry: the Forde inquiry was originally intended to examine whether party officers had worked to prevent the party from winning the 2017 election with Jeremy Corbyn as its leader – but this was subsequently removed from its remit and the inquiry’s report has been suppressed by the Labour leadership for many months.

There will be a vote on the form any inquiry will take later today (I’m writing this at around 11.30am) – but it won’t succeed because of that 80-seat Conservative majority that means Boris Johnson can impose any corruption he fancies; his backbenchers will vote it through mindlessly, herding through the lobby like the sheep they are.

And no doubt many members of the public will believe the findings of that inquiry, drinking the whitewash like the sheep they are, even though they know it is poison to their own well-being; government corruption harms the nation.

But it is good to see Labour attacking Tory corruption at long last.

Johnson has had a free pass from Keir Starmer’s right-wingers for far too long. It is many months past time the UK’s main opposition party actually did some opposing and held him to account.

But I fear that it is only happening because Starmer thinks it will look good in the run-up to the local elections – and that it will prove to be the usual half-hearted attempt from his party: too little, too late.

Source: Greensill: Labour’s call to widen lobbying probe rejected by No 10 – BBC News

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Coverage of Kill the Bill protests shows continued bias against the public

Police at one of the Easter Saturday ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations: who do you think is being more violent here?

Dozens of demonstrations against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill took place across the UK on Saturday (April 3).

I held off reporting on them because I wanted to see how the national media covered the protests first.

Remember my article on how the media try to turn the public against ordinary people by slanting their stories, from a few weeks ago? Here’s a reminder:

First the press [respond] … by reporting it in ‘passive voice’. Reports stated ‘clashes occurred…’ or ‘clashes between protesters and police’. Words carefully chosen to not indicate who had started the clashes (the police) and who had been on the receiving end of the majority of the violence (those attending…)

They will report on any police injuries ‘six police received medical attention due to the protest’ they might say… It is very rare that figures are collected for how many protesters were injured, and the assumption may be that this means that number is zero, and the police were thus on the receiving end of more violence than they dished out.

Many news outlets chose to term everyone present as ‘protesters’.

Politicians… chime in condemning the ‘violence’ caused by ‘protesters’.

Now let’s have a look at some reports from the police and the mainstream media.

Who do you see being violent in the video clip?

How many members of the public were injured?

Agents provocateurs? Police plants? We’ve seen evidence of those in recent demonstrations.

Members of the public saw matters from a different angle – such as the following, showing a policeman very clearly kneeling on the neck of a member of the public. Shades of George Floyd?

The Met Police has issued a statement:

The best that could be suggested is that the Met’s spokespeople may have been accidentally looking at a different incident in which somebody was indeed kneeling on a person’s back. Of course, this would imply that they make a habit of attacking members of the public in this way. Not a good look!

And their images of protests around the UK were similarly divergent from the impression being pushed by the police and the press:

The ‘Kill the Bill’ protests (which are about terminating the Police Bill, not the ‘Old Bill’ which is a colloquial name for the police themselves) have been supported by opposition MPs like Jeremy Corbyn…

Mr Corbyn said the bill would prevent protest without police approval.

Speaking in Parliament Square in central London, Mr Corbyn invoked figures such as the suffragettes and Nelson Mandela as he urged the crowd to oppose the bill.

“Stand up for the right to protest, stand up for the right to have your voice heard,” he said.

“I want a society where it is safe to walk the streets, where you can speak out, you can demonstrate and you don’t have to seek the permission from the police or the home secretary to do so,” he said.

… and Zarah Sultana:

Unsurprisingly the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Keir Starmer, has been nowhere to be found.

Source: Kill the Bill protests: Defend right to protest, Corbyn tells marchers – BBC News

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Hypocrisy of UK MPs sanctioned for criticising China human rights abuses

Hypocrite: Iain Duncan Smith oversaw the deaths of thousands of unemployed, sick and disabled people who were victimised by his ‘reforms’ to the UK’s benefit system. How dare he criticise another country for doing the same to its people?

Shame on the Tory MPs who are whining because China has sanctioned them for highlighting that country’s abuses of the Uighurs!

Yes, you read that right. Shame on them, because they are hypocrites.

They seem to think it is perfectly reasonable to claim moral superiority over the government of another country for abusing its citizens’ human rights, while turning a blind eye to the fact that they are doing exactly the same to the people of the UK.

Tory MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Nusrat Ghani, Tim Loughton, Neil O’Brien and Tom Tugendhat all merrily voted in support of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that will strip many of us of our human rights – and remove from all of us the right to protest in any meaningful way against further Tory atrocities against us.

Duncan Smith is well-known as an advocate of harm against his fellow UK citizens, having presided over the deaths of many thousands of benefit claimants – that occurred for no documented reason – under the cruel regime he imposed at the Department for Work and Pensions. But now he’s saying

Those of us who live free lives under the rule of law must speak for those who have no voice.

He was quite happy to deprive benefit claimants of their voices – and to look the other way when his policies deprived them of their lives. In their thousands, remember – not just one or two mistakes.

Attacking human rights abuses anywhere else in the world must be, for these people, an act of abominable hypocrisy.

Note also the typical reaction of the bully: these are people who sneered at us for protesting against the Police Bill and then went right ahead and voted to strip us of our rights – but when the shoe is on the other foot and they’re being singled out by China, suddenly they’re whining about how unfair it is.

Boris Johnson is, of course, the worst of the lot.

Despite being omitted from the list of UK MPs selected for sanction by China, he had the cheek to say

Freedom to speak out in opposition to abuse is fundamental and I stand firmly with them.

Fine words from the prime minister whose sickeningly draconian Police Bill strips his own people of that very freedom.

I do not wish to defend China. It’s treatment of the Uighurs is vile and should be opposed by all those of good faith. But these Tories are not opposing China in good faith. They’re trying to steal undeserved good publicity by attacking a country whose human rights abuses are – currently – worse than their own.

But it doesn’t work that way – or at least it shouldn’t.

Any attack on anybody’s rights as a human being is an attack against all of us – everywhere.

Johnson and his other little Tories might think they can take what moral high ground there is to be gained because their abuses aren’t quite as bad. But we know where that thinking leads.

The abuses become worse.

The number of people being oppressed grows.

The UK’s Tory government already fits every description of a fascist state that is worth reading. If you’re not feeling Johnson’s jackboot on your face yet, it’s just a matter of time.

So don’t waste any sympathy on these liars. They don’t deserve it.

Source: Uighurs: China bans UK MPs after abuse sanctions – BBC News

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Did POLICE turn Bristol ‘Kill the Bill’ protest into a riot?

Attack: this image from the Bristol Post was captioned “Bridewell police station under siege” but the only violence I see is by a policeman attacking a woman with a truncheon and a stick. What do you see?

It takes only one comment like this to reverse the narrative completely – and here it is, in two tweets:

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees may find himself on the receiving end of some very sharp reactions after he supported the police without waiting for the other side of the story!

He said: “Smashing buildings in our city centre, vandalising vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the Bill going through. On the contrary, the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the Bill.

“This is a shameful day in an incredible year for Bristol.

“We have had numerous protests. Our police, city representatives and I have been able to point out with pride that we have faced these moments of conflict without the physical conflict that others have experienced. Those who decided to turn today’s protest into a physical confrontation and smash our city have robbed us of this.”

What will he have to say if it turns out to be true that the police are “those who decided to turn [the] protest into a physical confrontation and smash [the] city”?

Considering the way the police in London treated a peaceful vigil on Clapham Common; or the way a drunken policeman assaulted a woman on her way home from work and walked free from court after admitting it; or the fact that a policeman is accused of kidnapping and murdering another woman who was on her way home from work…

Considering all the allegations of racist behaviour notched up against the police – not just last year during the Black Lives Matter protests but going back through the decades…

Considering this…

[The Battle of Orgreave, during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5, was reported as happening because picketers attacked the police when in fact it was the police who attacked the picketers; reporters edited their footage to create a false story.]

Considering all of the above, it seems far more likely that the police were responsible for the violence in Bristol last night, rather than a few hundred people who were, at the time, sitting down.

If those people defended themselves, this is no reason to condemn them or their protest for descending into violence. Everybody has the right to defend themselves against unprovoked violent attack, no matter whether the attacker is in a uniform or not.

If Bristol’s police were ordered to turn this event into a riot so their political leaders could use it as justification for the draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that will permit them to inflict brutal oppression on innocent people, then the plan appears to have backfired.

The peaceful protest was mostly over by the time they came out from the Bridewell. From a high point of around 3,000 people, their own figures say only around 500 were left when the violence began.

The others, having made their point, had gone home. No matter who started the violence, they have been smeared by the police claims.

And observers elsewhere have demonstrated that they are unimpressed by the protestations of the police and politicians – pointing out the future of protest under the Police Bill:

At the end of the day, there is a big question to be answered – and it’s one that would not even be considered if the police had not made themselves the puppets of Conservative governments many times in the past:

It is impossible to condemn the people for the Bristol ‘Kill the Bill’ riot when we know it is entirely possible that it was engineered by Priti Patel and the police.

Source: Bristol Kill the Bill protest ‘shameful’, says Marvin Rees – BBC News

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Support for the right to protest spans every sector of society. Unite and fight the #PoliceBill

Police state: this image from the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common on Saturday makes the message perfectly clear – your only freedom under a Tory government is freedom to do what you are told, and nothing else.

Everybody, whether comedian or economist, is standing up in support of UK citizens’ right to protest, after the Tory government voted to effectively ban it.

The arguments are clear, whether they come from economist Richard Murphy…

… or from satirical reporter Jonathan Pie:

The Jonathan Pie video has it right: If you can’t be heard, you can’t change things; if you can’t disrupt things, they stay the same.

Or worse – as the Tories intend – they change in ways that harm you and help them.

Well, if the new law means I can be arrested for offending someone, then I’m likely to be arrested.

So are you because believe me, somebody, somewhere, finds you offensive.

The only people who will be immune will be members of the right-wing press, authority figures like Cressida Dick, and of course members of the Tory government and their supporters like Keir Starmer.

See what I did there? Now somebody will be offended that I said Starmer supports Johnson’s government. I can’t help myself. But I’m not trying to offend; I’m only telling my truth.

Just because it differs from someone else’s, that’s no reason to have me arrested.

Not in a civilised society, anyway.

But if you’re in the United Kingdom, you don’t live in a civilised society. You live in a police state.

And you will feel the sharp edge of it if you don’t stand up to stop it now.

So get organised. Get together with other people in your local communities and stand up for your right to stand up for your rights.

Or would you rather just sit at home and wait for the rozzers to come knocking on your door?

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#PoliceBill attack on travellers is another step on Johnson’s journey to Hitlerian Nazism

Travellers: this is a council-run traveller site, so it looks orderly enough. But a proposed law means that even here the police could confiscate travellers’ homes, if officers don’t like the look of them.

Roma (or Romani); travellers; gypsies; diddycai; tinkers if you like. There are plenty of words for these almost universally maligned people.

They have a bad reputation because some of them are trespassers who will camp on any land, whether it is privately-owned or common, some of them are dirty and will leave their campsites filthy with litter, and some of them are prone to criminal behaviour.

In 1930s Germany, Hitler ramped up already-existing anti-gypsy laws to establish the pre-supposition that they were a “nuisance”, that they were criminal by their nature (so it follows that the authorities were allowed to assume they were criminals without them actually having to commit a crime), and that they should be moved on from encampments that were considered to cause a disturbance to the rest of the German population (in Hitler’s Germany, they were moved on into concentration camps where they were murdered in a holocaust that was every bit as brutal as the attempted genocide of the Jews).

Boris Johnson has been stealing policies from Hitler, it seems. Just take a look at his plans for travellers, as written into the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that has just won its first major vote in the House of Commons. Here’s Ian Dunt to explain it to you:

There. Police only need to assume that, because a traveller is there, they are likely to engage in criminal activity, and they can then treat that traveller as if they had been seen to commit such an act (even though they haven’t).

It’s like “pre-crime”, as described in the movie Minority Report, which turns the law on its head, allowing people to be arrested on the basis of predictions that they will commit crime. In the film, these predictions were not necessarily accurate. In this law, there isn’t even a requirement to be.

To recap: on sight of a traveller, the police may confiscate everything they own. And what will happen to them then? An arrest for vagrancy?

It sets innocent people up to be criminalised because of who they are, which is a well-recognised form of prejudice. Suppose Johnson targeted Jews. It would be an attack on these people because of who they are, not what they do. That is what we have here.

It isn’t quite racism, and it can’t be anti-Semitism, but the lesson of Hitler tells us it is just as bad.

Oh, and by the way, illegal traveller encampments could have been made a thing of the past if only local authorities had obeyed a 1968 law (the commenter below was adrift by a few years) that ordered them to provide standing sites for travellers to camp:

The Caravan Sites Act of 1968 led to the creation of 400 sites, but was ignored by many local authorities. I recall Powys County Council dragging its heels over demands for such sites within the last 10 years.

By breaking the law, council leaders (many of whom, I have no doubt, are Conservatives) made it possible for the current Conservative government to create the current legislation that demands that they be treated as criminals for no reason at all.

The Bill is sponsored by Priti Patel, who is already running concentration camps for refugees from foreign countries.

Where do you think she’ll open her first concentration camp for travellers? And what will they do next?

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.

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Boris Johnson’s dictionary: ‘Very sensible, adj. obviously nothing to do with me’

“Very sensible” according to Boris Johnson: according to his new Police Bill, defacing the statue of Churchill will get you 10 years in jail. Rape will only put you there for five (if the Tories bother to prosecute you).

Boris Johnson has apparently come up with a new boneheaded plan to fool us into thinking his other boneheaded plans are actually good ideas.

He has taken to labelling his stupidest mistakes “very sensible”.

So, for example, responding to the EU’s announcement that it is about to take legal action against the UK after Johnson unilaterally changed the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit deal, delaying the introduction of new sea border checks on food, parcels and pets, among other changes,

the prime minister said the actions taken by the UK were “temporary and technical measures that we think are very sensible”.

No, they were very stupid. But Johnson is caught between a rock and a hard place. If he implements changes that mean NI is treated differently from the rest of the UK, then organisations in the Province will tear up the Good Friday Agreement.

It seems he’s decided that upsetting the EU is the least stupid thing to do – but it’s still not “very sensible”.

Another thing he thinks is “very sensible” is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently in Parliament, demonstrating that the Conservatives think damaging a statue is twice as bad as rape; the latter attracts only a five-year prison sentence while the former will put you in jail for 10 years.

Johnson said

the legislation was a “very sensible package of measures” .

One policy he didn’t say was “very sensible” was his plan to create miles of new bus lanes on our roads, and many more bus services in a half-hearted bid to get commuters out of their cars and onto public transport – a major u-turn for Conservatives.

In fact, cutting down on the number of cars with only one person in them, stinking up the country and polluting the world, is “very sensible” – it’s just that Johnson is the last person who should be promoting it because he very clearly isn’t.

Johnson seems to be crazy about buses – although his fixation has caused him more harm than good…

Do you even remember the Boris buses? It’s good to remember some of the white elephants from his time as London Mayor, isn’t it?

Johnson also loves a photo opportunity in a bus… although some might say this is to push the images of that big red ‘Leave’ bus, with the lies about spending all the EU subsidy money on the NHS instead, down the search engine rankings.

His latest bus-related project was heralded with another photo-op of him in a driving seat. No – I’ll save you from those pictures. Instead, let’s consider some of the responses after I passed comment on it:

 

And yet 13 million people voted to let him steer the ship of state. Not “very sensible” at all!

Source: Brexit: EU to begin legal action over alleged NI Protocol breach – BBC News

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Don’t be fooled: the Tories are stealing your right to protest

Clapham Common: police weren’t actually stamping on Patsy Stevenson’s face, but they might as well have been.

Pretty words from Tory minister Victoria Atkins yesterday could not hide the ugly truth that the Conservative Government is stealing your right to protest in a way best described as fascist.

Atkins, on Andrew Marr’s TV show yesterday (March 14), expressed concern over the way policemen attacked women at a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a policeman.

But she went on to defend the new Police Bill that will allow constables to carry out further attacks on any public protest, demonstration, or rally – no matter how big or small – if even one person complains about noise.

Judge the Tories on what they do, not what they say.

Commentators are starting to realise that this is an attack on our right to protest against oppression – not just by means of male violence, or policing, but by the government itself. Comparisons are being made with Orgreave in the 1980s.

The suggestion that nothing would have happened without police intervention could also be made about the battle of Orgreave during the 1984 miners’ strike, where 6,000 police, including mounted officers, brutally attacked pickets – at one point taking part in a mounted charge on people who were sunbathing.

Current police priorities were demonstrated very clearly when more than 1,000 people took part in a protest in Parliament Square yesterday, against the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil.

Uniformed officers took a much less hostile attitude and stayed away from the crowd – but were criticised for forming a protective ring around a statue of Winston Churchill.

The message was clear:

(TFW = That Feeling When…)

You can tell that the government supports heavy-handed policing. Met Commissioner Cressida Dick faced calls to resign over the attacks in Clapham Common on Saturday – but won’t.

Sadly, Labour leader Keir Starmer has stood with the government and against the people on this matter:

Dick’s own attitude to Clapham Common seems to change depending on which aspect she’s discussing.

The organisation Reclaim These Streets had tried to organise a vigil but failed because Dick’s Met Police refused to co-operate. It happened anyway because people still went on an unofficial basis to make their feelings known.

One of the attendees was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – who was praised for her participation.

But consider Dick’s comments, not long afterwards:

It’s a glaring double-standard. Police would never have pinned the wife of the Prince to the ground, kneeling on her back. Why did they then consider it perfectly reasonable to do it to other women?

Why did Cressida Dick consider it perfectly reasonable for police to do that? And how can anyone justify her remaining in her job with that attitude?

Another protest is set to take place today (March 15) in Parliament Square, while MPs discuss the plan to clamp down on protests just like it.

If you can go, do. Boris Johnson’s government is dragging the UK into fascism and it needs to be countered.

Oh, you think it couldn’t happen here?

Well, George Orwell once described a fascist state as being like a boot stamping on a citizen’s face.

On Saturday night the police were very nearly doing just that. How much closer do they have to make it before you realise what is happening to you?

Source: Minister defends Priti Patel’s bid to hand Police more power to crack down on protests – Mirror Online

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Priti Patel wants to stop protests against male violence on women. Will YOU help stop her?


The government’s reaction to protests like that on Clapham Common last night (March 13), when male police officers arrested many women who had gathered to protest at the kidnap and murder of a woman, apparently by a male police officer, is simple: it will stop us from protesting.

Do you think that is reasonable?

Priti Patel is pushing through new legislation to ensure that police can step in to prevent any protests, rallies, or other public demonstrations tomorrow (March 15).

Her new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will expand on powers to restrict demonstrations in the Public Order Act 1986 that allowed them to be restricted if there was a risk of “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.

The new Bill increases the scope to allow restrictions on the basis of noise: Patel means to literally silence protest in the UK.

If it is enacted as it stands, then police will be able to stop protests that “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation” – for instance by distracting employees in a nearby office.

This also applies if the event disturbs passers-by – if the noise of the protest could have “a relevant impact on persons in the vicinity of the procession”.

The threshold is minimal: if just one person could be caused “serious unease, alarm or distress”, the rozzers would be allowed to move in and get busy with their truncheons.

This is fascism – and it makes a mockery of the false hand-wringing the Bill’s author, Priti Patel, was exhibiting on Twitter yesterday:

We should have known this was coming, though. She made her position clear when she told LBC’s Nick Ferrari “I don’t support protest”:

The horrendous scenes on Clapham Common last night were a direct consquence of Patel’s ideology. Remember, she controls the Metropolitan Police:

It seems the new Bill will contradict the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines our right to protest in law:

This Writer therefore called for all right-thinking people to make a stand against Patel’s fascism:

I am glad to report that there will indeed be such an event:

So there it is. If you want to protest against Priti Patel’s (and by extension, Boris Johnson’s) plan to silence protest against male violence on women* then be at Parliament Square in London from 5pm tomorrow – Monday, March 15.

*Yes, she wants to stop all forms of protest but this is what she is stopping right now, and people need to be aware of what it means. If you want to complain about my choice of words, your priorities are as wrong as if you wanted to complain about my characterisation of “male” violence in a previous article.

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.

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