Tag Archives: decree

Labour links up with the Tories to betray democracy and make UK a police state

Sad: once again, Labour has proved this to be true.

The Labour Party has again proved how harmful it is – and not just by supporting the Tory bid to kill democracy.

But let’s start with thatanyway. On June 13, 2023, the Conservative government ended democratic government in the UK by reversing a change in its Public Order Act that had been approved by Parliament, using secondary legislation – a ‘ministerial decree’ – that is not ratified by a vote.

It means the changes imposed on new laws during their passage through Parliament may now be pointless, because the government may simply – and unilaterally – reverse them all after they gain Royal Assent.

We might as well not bother having a Parliament any more.

The Green Party’s Baroness Jenny Jones tried to safeguard democracy by tabling a ‘fatal motion’ that would have put a stop to the ‘ministerial decree’. This was the only way to force a vote on it.

But she needed support from Labour peers to win that vote – and Labour said it would not help because that would go against some old Parliamentary convention. It’s the flimsiest excuse ever.

Instead, Labour offered up a lame ‘motion of regret’, paying lip service to the idea of opposition by saying the party does not approve but actually doing nothing at all to stop the Tories from trampling all over democracy.

The disappointment – no, the disgust – is huge, especially from one Labour Lord:

He was an exception. Most Labour peers did as Lord Coaker describes in the following video clip which triggered a particularly strong response from the CWU’s Peter Stefanovic:

Peter had campaigned to make people aware of the ‘fatal motion’, and to get us to urge the Labour peers to support it, since Baroness Jones tabled it. You can feel his bitterness and anger welling up in the following tweet and as one of the signatories, This Writer shares it:

But there’s more.

This isn’t even Labour’s only betrayal of the day.

It seems that, in another attempt to claim “fiscal responsibility” from the Tories, Labour has decided to take away support for childcare from millions of parents, making it impractical for them to go out to work for a living. It’s a blow against millions of families and crippling to the UK’s struggling economy, and Keir Starmer’s party has the nerve to claim it’s a sign of responsibility.

Thank goodness Jeremy Corbyn is settling into his new role of pointing out that Keir Starmer and his people are hateful:

Of course it’s yet another u-turn for Starmer:

How many’s that, now?

Still… Out with an old promise; in with a new one. Right?

Here’s the new promise of the day – and a spot opinion on it.

In fact, I think Labour might actually stick with this one because a Labour government wouldn’t have to pay for it.

In spite of all of the above, there is one way – just one – in which Labour can still claim to be of use to the UK population at large…

… that is by flagging up the failures of the Tory government with facts and figures.

But don’t expect a Labour government under Keir Starmer to ever do anything to improve the situation because all he has to offer are missed opportunities and broken promises.


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BBC finally reports on Public Order Act ‘fatal motion’ – misleadingly

Baroness Jenny Jones: she wants to stop the Tory government from killing democracy but needs the help of Labour Lords. They seem determined not to, for fear that they’ll appear to be in the pocket of Just Stop Oil. How ridiculous.

This was a surprise when it appeared on my screen.

The BBC has finally acknowledged that a – democratic – attempt is being made to stop the Tories from undemocratically changing their own anti-protest law to make it even harsher.

A story appeared on the “politics” page of the broadcaster’s news website yesterday – June 12 – just one day before Baroness Jenny Jones’s ‘fatal motion’ was due to be debated in the House of Lords.

This is a failure of the public service broadcaster in its duty to inform.

I state this because there has been an appeal for the public to ask Labour Lords to support the motion, ever since Baroness Jones tabled it, several weeks ago, with a petition that its organisers begged for media organisations to publicise.

Some of us did, and the petition has gathered more than 50,000 signatures. But those of us who operate within the social media have a readership that is limited by algorithms run by platforms like Facebook (that want to make us pay for a wider circulation), meaning the number of people who would have wanted to sign the petition if they saw it has also been limited.

Think how many people may have signed that petition if the BBC had mentioned it!

Considered that way, one might believe the BBC’s failure to mention it to be political interference on the part of the broadcaster. And the ‘fatal motion’ was important news when it was announced; why did the BBC (and other mass media organisations; let’s spread the blame) fail to report it?

For clarity, the Tory plan is to use a “ministerial decree” – secondary legislation that does not require a democratic vote – to change the Public Order Act and insert a change that was removed by Parliament when the Act was debated there prior to being passed into law.

This would create a dangerous precedent for governments to bypass democracy, reversing changes to legislation that have been made by Parliament without allowing MPs and peers to vote on the reversals.

In this instance, the change would alter the definition of “serious disruption” of people’s day-to-day activities by protest action to mean “anything other than minor” – meaning police would be empowered to arrest anybody taking part in large-scale protest demonstrations (for example), but also meaning that small-scale activities would lead to arrests if people said they were inconvenienced even slightly.

Labour has put forward a “motion of regret” which will do nothing to prevent the ministerial decree from passing into law. This is pointless.

That’s why the petition calls on the Labour Lords to support Baroness Jones’s fatal motion that would stop the ministerial decree altogether.

Sadly, Labour’s position appears to be not to support the motion for fear that it would allow the Tories to say the party is in the pocket of protest movement Just Stop Oil, one of whose members has been revealed to be a donor to the Labour Party.

And the BBC article presents the change as being merely a clarification of the Public Order Act, rather than the dangerous and undemocratic change that it actually is.

If the Tories get away with this, it will be exactly what is meant by the old saying that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.


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Reminder: ‘fatal motion’ to stop undemocratic restriction of right to protest is TOMORROW. Please sign the petition

The Lords will consider a ‘fatal motion’ on a Tory plan to undemocratically restrict your right to protest – TOMORROW (Tuesday, June 13).

There is a petition for Labour Lords to back this motion, rather than a “motion of regret” that will let the Tory change happen – and I urge you to sign it if you haven’t already.

Here’s the background information:

The Tories aren’t happy with all the power they’ve given the police to stamp on your right to protest.

They reckon the interpretation of ‘serious disruption’ of other people’s day-to-day activities, as described in the Public Order Act, should be changed to mean ‘anything more than minor’.

But instead of seeking a democratic vote on this potentially wide-ranging and serious change, Rishi Sunak’s gang of bandits want to impose it by ‘Ministerial decree’ – basically, by the Home Secretary saying she’s changing it unilaterally – like a dictator.

It’s the first time ever that a government has used what’s known as secondary legislation to overturn the democratic will of Parliament.

Green Party Baroness Jenny Jones isn’t having it. She has tabled a ‘fatal motion’ against it.

The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has drawn ‘special attention’ to the change. The committee’s report stated: “As well as not justifying the substance of the provisions, the Home Office has not provided any reasons for bringing the measures back in the form of secondary legislation, which is subject to less scrutiny, so soon after they were rejected in primary legislation... We believe this raises possible constitutional issues that the House may wish to consider.”

there is no point in having Parliament if a Minister can just ignore the outcome of debates and votes by imposing draconian laws on the public.

If this motion fails, we might as well give up and accept that the UK has finally become a right-wing dictatorship.

The news in brief: Vox Political’s morning round-up for June 1, 2023

Paul Whitehouse, Lee Mack and Steve Coogan at Lake Windermere: here are three protesters who would be criminalised by Suella Braverman for causing “more than minor” disruption to other people’s day-to-day activities.

Right to protest: UK politicians urged to ‘do the right thing’

Peter Stefanovic’s emotional video clip demands that members of all Opposition parties in the House of Lords support Jenny Jones’s ‘fatal motion’ and kill Suella Braverman’s bid to stifle everybody’s right to protest with an undemocratic ‘Ministerial decree’. Let’s give him a moment to explain it:

Government hasn’t spoken to strikers since January

The general secretary of rail union ASLEF says the government hasn’t spoken to its representatives in almost five months because the Tories aren’t interested in ending strike action on the railways:

43 MPs throw support behind justice for WASPI women

From the i:

So far 43 MPs have written to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), calling for a speedy conclusion to its review of how much damage was caused by the way the pension age changes were communicated to women born in the 50s, and for fair compensation.

Among the 43 MPs are Ranil Jayawardena of the Conservatives, former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron, former Labour Party chair Ian Lavery and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party.

The PHSO could recommend compensation anywhere from £100 to £10,000 or more per person.

Women born in the 50s claim they were not given enough notice that their state pension age would rise from 60 to 65, in line with men. It then moved to 66 for both sexes.

Many women retired early or made life-changing decisions based on getting their pension at 60. The ramifications of the policy change and lack of notice has left them in emotional and financial distress, they say.

Their plight is under review by the PHSO, which has already found the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) guilty of maladministration for failing to sufficiently inform the women about the state pension age changes.

Though the PHSO maintains its investigation is fair and impartial, it decided to take another look at its findings after recognising part of the report was legally flawed. This move has raised hopes of a higher compensation award, although it is not guaranteed.

As Waspi awaits the results of the review, which could come before summer, it is urging supporters to contact their MP to put pressure on the PHSO to “complete the investigation with a sense of urgency” and make “fair” recommendations for compensation.

Latest Universal Credit change will leave parents worse-off

From The Canary:

BBC News reported that the DWP will be rolling out a change to the amount it pays in childcare costs to parents/guardians. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced it in his Spring Budget. Until now, the department has paid £646 a month, per kid, towards childcare costs under Universal Credit. Now, as BBC News wrote:

The government will allow parents on the benefit to claim back £951 for childcare costs for one and £1,630 for two or more children – a 47% increase.

Universal Credit’s increase in childcare costs payments is still nonsense.

The cost of childcare is huge:

  • For full-time childcare, the average cost is £285 a week.
  • For part-time, it’s £148 a week.

The DWP’s £951 maximum for one child is per Universal Credit assessment period. That’s usually a calendar month – running from the same date one month to the next. So, on that basis the department would pay, at the most, £219 a week.

This is £66, or 23%, short of the average costs. Meanwhile, in 2022 parents were already paying out up to two-thirds of their wages on childcare.

DWP secretary of state Mel Stride has trumpeted about the news. Stride said: “These changes will help thousands of parents progress their career without compromising the quality of the care that their children receive. By helping more parents to re-enter and progress in work, we will be able to cut inactivity and help grow the economy.”

Stride’s claim of the DWP ‘helping parents re-enter’ work is based on parents effectively being worse off in work.

Labour policy pledges need a 3p income tax rise

From the i:

Labour’s policy pledges so far would cost the equivalent of a 3p rise in income tax, i analysis reveals.

Sir Keir Starmer has promised not to borrow for day-to-day spending, and to bring down the size of the overall public debt pile as a percentage of GDP.

Analysis by i suggests that Labour’s policies will require an additional £20bn of funding every year – the equivalent of raising the basic rate of income tax by more than 3p – beyond that already promised through small tax increases such as imposing VAT on private school fees and ending non-domiciled tax status.

Labour’s biggest recurring spending commitment is to extend free childcare to all children aged 11 and under, promised by shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson earlier this year. The IPPR think-tank estimates the cost at almost £18bn, although taking into account the Government’s own childcare plans announced at the last Budget the net cost would be more like £13.6bn. The party said that an expansion of childcare to all children is not its current policy despite Ms Phillipson’s promise.

The pledge to increase the foreign aid spending target to 0.7 per cent of GDP, after Rishi Sunak cut it to 0.5 per cent, would cost around £5.5bn; party sources say this will only be implemented when it is affordable to do so. Labour has promised to set up a £1bn “contingency fund” for the energy industry, and would also have to spend around £1.7bn on GPs’ salaries if it went through with plans by shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting to nationalise the network of family doctors in England – something which the party now says it will not do.

Other current spending commitments which would total less than £1bn each include increasing the number of mental health workers, recruiting more police officers and setting up breakfast clubs in every primary school.

There’s a lot in the i‘s list that Labour now says it won’t do. Doesn’t this suggest that Keir Starmer is really planning just a continuation of the current neoliberal Conservatism that is pushing the UK further towards ruin every day?

Also, considering the Tories gave £800 billion to very rich people for no very good reason, This Writer can’t see why Labour couldn’t produce £20 billion from the same place, and then tax the rich to keep the books in balance and prevent any inflation.


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Jenny Jones ‘fatal motion’ against Tory bid to kill democracy and overrule Parliament

Baroness Jenny Jones: she knows her rights – and she knows you’ll have less of them if her ‘fatal motion’ fails.

The Tories aren’t happy with all the power they’ve given the police to stamp on your right to protest.

They reckon the interpretation of ‘serious disruption’ of other people’s day-to-day activities, as described in the Public Order Act, should be changed to mean ‘anything more than minor’.

But instead of seeking a democratic vote on this potentially wide-ranging and serious change, Rishi Sunak’s gang of bandits want to impose it by ‘Ministerial decree’ – basically, by the Home Secretary saying she’s changing it unilaterally – like a dictator.

It’s the first time ever that a government has used what’s known as secondary legislation to overturn the democratic will of Parliament.

Green Party Baroness Jenny Jones isn’t having it. She has tabled a ‘fatal motion’ against it.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic to explain the gravity of the situation in more detail:

See also Damo’s YouTube clip on the same subject:

Let’s highlight a couple of points:

The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has drawn ‘special attention’ to the change. The committee’s report stated: “As well as not justifying the substance of the provisions, the Home Office has not provided any reasons for bringing the measures back in the form of secondary legislation, which is subject to less scrutiny, so soon after they were rejected in primary legislation... We believe this raises possible constitutional issues that the House may wish to consider.”

Damo also mentioned the response from Keir Starmer’s Labour, which was whipped to abstain on the original legislation. It has tabled a ‘motion of regret’ – that won’t actually have any effect at all on what Suella Braverman wants to do.

Trade union – and indeed any other – backers should reconsider funding that party from this moment forward.

Baroness Jones has this to say:

The last time the Lords passed a ‘fatal motion’ was 2015 – and it provoked a small constitutional crisis.

But – while you’re contacting your MP and the peer of your choice to demand support for this one, remember there is no point in having Parliament if a Minister can just ignore the outcome of debates and votes by imposing draconian laws on the public.

If this motion fails, we might as well give up and accept that the UK has finally become a right-wing dictatorship.

Brexiteers have handed direct rule of the UK to Tory ministers and advisers – NOT Parliament

They’re laughing at you really: Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson are using Little Englanders’ hatred of Europe to force on the UK a dictatorship worse than anything we’ve ever had from Brussels.

So much for democracy.

Remember all that “Take back control” tripe Brexiteers like Dominic Cummings were force-feeding us, during the EU referendum campaign?

It seems they weren’t advocating a return to democratic rule by Parliament. Instead the UK is to be ruled with decrees by people like – guess who? – Dominic Cummings.

The facts are in a forensic analysis of every bit of legislation passed and going through Parliament to change the law after Brexit becomes a reality on January 1 next year, by the House of Lords Constitution committee.

New Acts of Parliament covering covering agriculture, money laundering, immigration, trade, taxation, reciprocal health agreements and even the granting of road haulage licences will give power over these matters directly to Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and advisers like Cummings.

The Bills create statutory instruments – otherwise known as “Henry VIII powers” – allowing ministers to change the law by decree, meaning they make the changes without bothering with a Parliamentary vote. In some cases, they won’t even have to inform other MPs.

The Agriculture Bill alone creates 40 of these “Henry VIII powers” – including power to define new criminal offences with unlimited fines.

One new power on export and import duties will allow ministers to change the law by public notice – meaning they will simply pin up a sign somewhere, saying that the law has been changed.

And there won’t be a thing your elected MP can do about it.

In his article about this, David Hencke makes an excellent deduction:

If Waitrose followed what it said it will do and clearly label chlorinated chicken a government minister could just change the law by decree, making it illegal to do so. And if Waitrose disobeyed they could face unlimited fines.

Think about that.

To facilitate a trade deal with the United States, your Tory government – voted in because people were desperate for Brexit – could force supermarkets to sell you, and force you to eat, diseased meat.

Remember when we were told Brexit would end EU bureaucracy that saddled the UK with thousands of unwanted rules and regulations?

Now read this [boldings mine]:

The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill [gives ministers] well over 150 separate powers to make tax law for individuals and businesses. These laws made by Ministers will run to thousands of pages. The Treasury’s delegated powers memorandum, which sets out in detail all these law-making powers, alone runs to 174 pages.”

Even legislation delegated to the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is not safe from Tory interference as ministers are also taking powers to override those laws, as well as to interfere in what EU-adopted case law can be used to decide new cases in tribunals and lower courts.

All of these dictatorial powers will be handed over to Johnson, Gove and Cummings by Parliament because the UK electorate handed Johnson’s Conservatives a massive 80-seat majority in the House of Commons.

And the reason voters gave them that massive majority was Brexit.

Little did these Little Englanders know that they were taking power away from an elected organisation and handing it to a tiny cabal of Tory dictators instead.

“Taking back control”?

They’ve thrown it all away.

Source: Welcome to your new rulers: UK Commissioners Gove, Johnson and Cummings | Westminster Confidential