Tag Archives: Courts

Was Tory crackdown on protest really prompted by this oil-funded think tank?

Targeted: Extinction Rebellion members – here protesting at a Murdoch print works – were briefly defined as an extremist group. Although they have now been removed from the list, Home Secretary Priti Patel has continued to refer to climate protesters as “criminals”.

A Tory crackdown on legal political protest was devised by a right-wing think tank that is funded by the US fossil fuel corporation ExxonMobil, it has been alleged.

And it is easy to see the reason: it removes the right of ordinary citizens to protest against the climate-wrecking policies followed by the oil industry.

According to Open Democracy,

Policy Exchange explicitly said the government should pass legislation to target Extinction Rebellion (XR) in a 2019 report that got the attention of Tory MPs and peers.

The report called for protest laws to be “urgently reformed in order to strengthen the ability of police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass law-breaking tactics”.

Sections of Priti Patel’s controversial policing bill, which became the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, appear directly inspired by the Policy Exchange report.

The Policy Exchange report that appears to have contained the seeds of the policing bill was later cited in the House of Commons by Tory MP Steve Baker, who urged ministers to read it, and in the Lords by Tory peer Matt Ridley. Baker is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic group that has received money from groups with oil interests in the US. Ridley is a member of the group’s academic advisory council.

Patel said openly that the legislation was intended to stop tactics used by Extinction Rebellion. The home secretary first pledged to introduce the bill just over a year after the Policy Exchange report was published.

Policy Exchange does not disclose its donors, but openDemocracy has uncovered that ExxonMobil Corporation donated $30,000 to its American fundraising arm in 2017.

There is much more information on the Open Democracy site (link below).

Circumstantial evidence?

Maybe – but then it isn’t likely that the Conservative Party, Policy Exchange and ExxonMobil are ever going to admit conspiring to silence legitimate political protest.

Source: Policy Exchange: Was oil-funded think tank behind anti-XR policing bill? | openDemocracy

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Lords cave in on undemocratic Tory laws ahead of closure of Parliament

Have you got your ID? If not, you won’t be able to vote in Parliamentary elections across the UK or local elections in England after the Tory government succeeded in restricting the number of people allowed to exercise their democratic right, affecting millions of people. Are you among those targeted by this?

A mass of undemocratic and despotic new laws are to come into being after cowardly Lords gave up their opposition to corrupt Tory government plans.

The Nationality and Borders Bill is to receive Royal Assent after peers gave up their principles.

It means Priti Patel’s plan to send asylum-seekers to live in Rwanda, rather than the UK, will be put into practice just as soon as she can get all the mechanisms in place, and never mind that it costs more than sending these people to live at the Ritz.

It will also become a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally. This is hugely contentious because Patel has closed down all legal routes for asylum-seekers to enter the UK. The daughter of refugees herself, she has literally pulled up the ladder behind her, as the saying goes.

Fortunately, it seems other organisations have more backbone than the Lords. According to the BBC,

More than 200 organisations, including Oxfam and Save the Children, said they would challenge its outcomes, calling it “anti-refugee”.

The Elections Bill has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, meaning the Tory government will be able to restrict whether you are allowed to vote or not, based on whether you have a particular form of photographic identification. Millions of people don’t.

Meanwhile, the 15-year limit on rich UK citizens living abroad being allowed to vote will be scrapped.

The undemocratic upshot of these two measures will be that it will be much easier for people living overseas to vote – and without any barriers like photo ID, while it will be much harder for domestic citizens to do the same.

The Tory government is also seizing control of the Electoral Commission, meaning oversight of the way electoral law is administered will no longer be independent and your corrupt government will be able to twist the way elections are run in order to suit itself.

Finally, a bid to deprive even more people of access to justice has been passed: the Judicial Review and Courts Bill will stop the funding of bereaved families’ legal representation at inquests involving public bodies. If This Writer understands correctly, it means that if somebody dies because of a failure by such an organisation, their families will be unable to seek justice from those responsible unless they are independently wealthy (which seems unlikely).

Parliament is being prorogued today (Thursday, April 28), having been back in session for only a matter of days after the Easter break. It will not meet again until May 10, when a new session will begin with a Queen’s Speech laying out Boris Johnson’s plans for the following year or so.

Some legislation has been carried over to the new Parliamentary session, including the long-awaited and controversial Online Safety Bill, which will seek to criminalise certain abusive and antisocial behaviours on the Internet and regulate online companies in line with those measures.

The big surprise for many people must be the silence from Opposition leader Keir Starmer. He should be trumpeting that a Labour government will reverse the corrupt and undemocratic measures in these new laws but instead it seems he supports them.

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Tories set to outlaw the kind of anti-war protests we praised so much in Russia


While you’re busy having your attention directed to Russia and Ukraine by your Tory-supporting right-wing media…

… and I’ll make this quick because it’s really easy to understand…

Remember those anti-war protests in Russia that we all praised last week?

These:

Well, while you were being distracted by the war against which these brave people were protesting, your own government has been busy outlawing the kind of protest they were carrying out.

This is important because we are being told that Russia is a repressive, authoritarian dictatorship. And it is true that protesters can expect to face lengthy prison sentences if they are arrested.

But just compare the jail terms they’ll get with what you’ll face if you protest against your own government after the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is passed into law:

The debate is in Hansard (although at the time of writing, not in full). You can read it here.

So much for the Tory UK’s freedom-loving democracy!

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#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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Video of #KillTheBill activists on #PritiPatel chat is funny – but also shows she can’t answer real questions

Here’s an insight into the way your Tory overlords behave.

Priti Patel went on a video chat with what she thought was a group of Conservative supporters. You can see it on Skwawkbox. No doubt she was expecting a few carefully-vetted questions for which she could provide some carefully-rehearsed answers.

What she got was a group of “Kill the Bill” protesters, angry at her Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that is intended to criminalise public protest in the United Kingdom. I don’t condone their behaviour because, to be honest, they went rampant on the text chat in a way that wasn’t likely to do their cause any good.

What the incident demonstrates, though, is the polarity of thought in the upper echelons of the Conservative Party.

The chat’s host apologised for the incident, stating, “I’ve no idea how these leftists got in on the call.”

“Leftists”? How do they know?

The simple fact is that Patel’s Bill will outlaw protest by people of any political denomination: left, right, up, down, centre (wherever that is) – they’ll all go to jail for raising a finger, if she has her way.

But people with a legitimate right to question her policy were put down as “leftists” by the chat host.

One may conclude that this person is as much a fascist as Patel herself.

Perhaps everybody taking part (other than the protesters) is of the same persuasion.

The question we, as ordinary citizens of the United Kingdom, have to ask is:

Do we want these creepy ghouls to have authority over us?

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Protests across the UK as the Tories move to ban… protest

Ugly: this image from Priti Patel’s speech to the Tory conference last year, outliing why she wants to steal your freedom of speech and protest, could illustrate her reactions to the protests against her Policing Bill, across the UK, on January 15. She HATES people and she will do everything she can to grind you into the dirt.

Take a look at this clip from the BBC’s Question Time, in which an audience member points out that, while the possibility of removing a prime minister may be very exciting, it is also a distraction from major issues – like the Tory plan to end democratic protest:

Note the way Fiona Bruce shut the issue down. Clearly it was against the BBC’s agenda to allow anybody to talk about this.

Besides that, though, the audience member was wrong. The attack on our right to protest is connected to the fact that Tories like Boris Johnson thought they could have parties when we weren’t allowed to do the same, and the reason is simple:

They want to be able to do anything they like and know that there will be no consequences for them – because they are shutting down our ability to protest.

See?

Part of that agenda can be revealed by pointing out the lack of BBC – or any mass news media – coverage of a huge number of demonstrations, up and down the UK yesterday (Saturday, January 15), against Priti Patel’s plan to ban protest.

Many thousands of people took to the streets to raise awareness of the threat to our fundamental right of free speech, but the BBC and others did their best to silence them.

It was good to see some Opposition politicians join them – although the support was not wholehearted:

No, she hadn’t.

None of Labour’s current top team said a single word about the greatest threat to democracy in our time. It seems they support it.

On the other hand, Jeremy Corbyn – the former Labour leader that Keir Starmer (TelAvivKeef, as he is dubbed here, for reasons explained elsewhere) had booted out of the Parliamentary Labour Party – was exactly where they should have been: with the people, explaining why the protest is necessary:

I have photographic evidence of demonstrations in London:

In Bath:

In Sheffield:

And I understand there have been many more.

You need to be aware of what is happening, though.

And you need to contact your MP to demand that it is stopped.

With their overwhelming numerical superiority in Parliament, the Tories are going to push through this crime against your rights – which will come with a prision sentence of up to 51 weeks if you are caught breaking the new law – unless they are made to believe that it will make them unpopular.

Recent history, though, shows that most people are happier just curling up into a ball and hiding on their sofas while our Parliamentary parasites run roughshod over them.

Did I just describe you?

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Priti Patel has stuffed her anti-protest Bill with even MORE dictatorial attacks on liberty

Priti Patel: beneath that smug smile lurks nothing but pure evil. And nearly 14 million people wholeheartedly voted for her to strip them of their human rights and liberties.

Who knew that Boris Johnson’s Tory government, elected on a landslide because it promised us “sunlit uplands” of freedom, would prove to be the greatest threat to liberty in the history of the United Kingdom?

Well… Vox Political did, obviously, because I wrote about it before the 2019 general election. Perhaps people were deterred from reading it by the constant lies about This Writer being an anti-Semite, or the lies that only the Tory-biased mass media could possibly be able to give you the facts.

At the time, I wrote: “Page 48 of the Conservative Party manifesto… states: “We will update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.” It means: We will remove your right to protest against our dictatorship and if you try to stop us, we will use the police and the armed forces to PUT YOU DOWN.

“If you vote Conservative on December 12, that is what you are demanding.”

And nearly 14 million people, led by the nose by people like Laura Kuenssberg, Andrew Marr and Robert Peston, merrily voted away the hard-won liberties enjoyed by the other 54 million of us as well.

Now we find that, having already introduced dictatorial anti-protest measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last March, Home Secretary Priti Patel has apparently decided, halfway through its progress through Parliament, that it is not harsh enough and has amended it to make it even worse.

And this is a Bill that proposes outlawing protest that makes any noise or disturbs, in any way, a single person (thereby obviating the point of any protest, which is to draw attention to the issue under protest)!

Here’s Nadia Whittome with the headlines:

So “stop and search” powers, currently used by police if they have “reasonable grounds for suspecting” someone is carrying certain items or something which could be used to violate certain laws, like burglary or theft – and habitually abused by them to victimise people of colour – are being expanded, rather than restricted.

The Bill proposes that they now be used “whether or not the constable has any grounds for suspecting that the person… is carrying a prohibited object” in order to avoid “serious disruption” or a “public nuisance”. So police will be able to stop and search anybody, for any reason that comes into their heads.

Anyone obstructing a stop and search during a protest risks imprisonment for nearly a year. This is how dictatorships behave.

Two new amendments appear to be intended to stop the Insulate Britain protesters who have been supergluing themselves to roads – but the wording is so loose that it may be used indiscriminately against the general public.

So Amendment 319A creates an offence of “locking on”, or carrying equipment which might facilitate it, targeting anyone who attaches themselves to “a person, to an object or to land”. It could equally be applied to protestors who link arms during a sit-down protest, or even hold hands – or to people walking past a protest, having nothing to do with it, who just happen to be carrying a fixative of any kind. Such a person could also find him- or herself in prison for 51 weeks.

Isn’t it handy for Patel that outlawing the kind of protest carried out by Suffragettes a century ago means she’ll be able to get on and deport all those black people she hates so much, without being stopped by people blocking the road outside detention centres. She knew what she was doing.

And then there’s the new ASBO for people who want to protest against Tory dictatorship:

The most far-reaching and alarming part of the legislation is called an SDPO, or Serious Disruption Prevention Order. It is one of the most egregious assaults on individual freedom we’ve seen in modern legislation.

An SDPO is basically a protest Asbo. It can be imposed on anyone convicted of a “protest-related offence”. This category alone is extremely broad. It potentially applies, under the provisions of the bill itself, to the examples above – possessing superglue near a demonstration, or holding hands during a protest.

even that is not enough. Amendment 342M.2.iii allows it to be imposed on people whose activities “were likely to result in serious disruption”. In other words, you do not even have to have been convicted of a crime. You do not even need to have caused disruption. It’s enough that you might have.

Once the order is imposed, it eradicates your rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Those under an order can be forced to report to the authorities whenever the courts demand it, as often as they demand it. They must “present themselves to a particular person at a particular place at… particular times on particular days”.

They can also be prohibited from being at a certain place, or possessing certain items, or participating in certain activities, or socialising with certain people, for up to two years. They can be blocked from using the internet to “encourage” people to “carry out activities related to a protest”. Someone who used their social media account to promote a demonstration could be found in breach of the order. The SDPOs are a full-scale assault on the individual’s human rights. And they can apply even if they’ve never been convicted of a crime.

So that’s be it for This Writer; I have written in support of many protests in the past, including those attacking Tory government crimes against liberty.

And if the people who voted this dictatorship saw reports of protesters being jailed under these proposed new powers, what do you think they’d say?

They would say the protesters – or innocent bystanders – deserved it because their protest was against the law – as though it always had been.

These people never seem to learn from their mistakes.

Imagine their surprise and shock when the Tories take their houses away from them to pay for social care (or name any other recent Tory attack on poor/working class people) and they feel the same law applied to them when they try to oppose it.

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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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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.

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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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