Tag Archives: Jones

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.

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.

Next Tory PM may be the last, says The Week In Tory writer

The Conservative Party is on its last legs because it is trying to accommodate too many factions, according to Russ Jones, author of popular Twitter item The Week In Tory (TWIT).

He writes:

Mine will be a spiced rum and coke.

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All the talk of Welsh Labour separating from the national party and the Tories are doing it first!

This is doubly hilarious for This Writer, considering the response I’ve had from my MP over the confidence vote in Boris Johnson:

The Welsh Conservatives are considering splitting from the English party… risking fresh embarrassment for Boris Johnson.

Senior party officials in Wales decided at a meeting this week to take steps to separate from the English Conservative Party, with one source saying that the partygate scandal was the “last straw”.

Partygate was the main reason for the “confidence” vote in Boris Johnson’s leadership of the national (UK) Conservative Party last Monday (June 6).

Ahead of the vote, I wrote to my (Conservative) MP, Fay Jones, urging her to ditch him.

Here’s part of her response:

“I have thought long and hard about the PM and his ability to lead… But the Prime Minister promised that things have changed and they have. Our response to the war in Ukraine has been outstanding and closer to home, the Government is standing by tens of millions of hard-working families during the cost of living challenge.

“I had to think long and hard about the impact of a leadership election on the country. I want Ministers focussing on the passport backlog, the stalemate at the DVLA and ways to reduce eye watering fuel bills – not their own careers. That’s why I support the Prime Minister and his ability to get things done.”

Her comments about Johnson’s achievements are nonsense, of course. Johnson’s response to Ukraine has been to put the UK in danger and Chancellor Rishi Sunak had to be pushed into helping us with the cost of living.

Perhaps that’s why her fellow Welsh Tories are sidelining this soundbite-spouting Johnson mouthpiece and dragging her with them in a different direction.

There have been rumours – for years – that Welsh Labour would also separate from its national parent party, as it much more closely resembles original Labour ideals than Keir Starmer’s pale blue Tory Party in Westminster.

Perhaps this will prompt Mark Drakeford to take the plunge at last.

Source: Welsh Tories consider splitting from Conservatives in England

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What a #stitchup! #Police watchdog whitewashes the #Met over #DowningStreetParty

Under suspicion again: Cressida Dick’s decision not to investigate an alleged Christmas party at 10 Downing Street on December 18, 2020 is being reviewed. But is the correct authority handling the case?

The Independent Office of Police Conduct has cleared the Metropolitan Police of misconduct over the alleged Christmas party at Downing Street on December 18 last year.

But the exoneration does not cover the Met’s failure to investigate an alleged breach of Covid-19 social distancing rules that were in force at the time.

No – it was cleared because the complainant, Baroness Jenny Jones, was not herself adversely affected by any such failure by the police.

Baroness Jones had stated that police working outside 10 Downing Street controlled “all access to and from Downing Street”.

“Put very simply, if there was an unlawful gathering taking place at No 10 Downing Street, then the police must have known and were highly likely to have played an active part in organising or facilitating the illegal gathering,” she said.

“I believe there is a case to answer for the police aiding and abetting a criminal offence or deliberately failing to enforce the law in favour of government politicians and their staff.”

She also argued that Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick’s decision not to investigate the reported party represented “a potential cover-up”.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Tony O’Sullivan of the Met Police responded that he had referred the complaint to the IOPC, “given that you effectively allege misconduct in public office by MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] police officers”.

But the watchdog said a “valid complaint” could only be made when “an individual, or someone acting on their behalf, has been adversely affected by the alleged conduct or its effects”.

And as there was no evidence Baroness Jones had been nearby when the event took place, “we have decided it is invalid”.

What a stitch-up!

It seems to This Writer that this superintendent only made the referral to the IOPC in the terms he did in order to secure a whitewash on specious grounds.

The issue isn’t whether Jenny Jones was personally affected by the alleged party, but whether it took place in defiance of then-enforced Covid-19 rules and police knew about it.

The grounds on which the IOPC looked into this are not valid at all because nobody is going to say they have been “adversely affected” by the conduct of police in failing to enforce those rules. They were having a party and the cops were (allegedly) turning a blind eye.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that Acting Det Ch Supt O’Sullivan has referred the second part of Baroness Jones’s complaint – that Commissioner Dick had not investigated the allegation of a party at 10 Downing Street – for investigation.

But this will be carried out by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC) which sets the direction and budget for the Met.

Is that the appropriate organisation to investigate such an allegation?

I don’t know.

But I fear another whitewash.

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Get your cholera jab booked; MPs won’t stop pumping raw sewage into our waters

Boris Johnson’s Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

Here’s an MP who doesn’t know when to keep quiet – This Writer’s MP, as it happens (although I didn’t vote for her):

Fay Jones didn’t vote to defeat the Lords’ amendment to the Environment Bill and allow water companies to continue dumping raw sewage into the UK’s waterways. I don’t know the reason.

She could have distanced herself from a decision that means raw sewage will be pumped into waterways across the UK – not just on the coast…

… but instead she has tried to justify the decision with a false argument – about money.

Firstly, taxpayers would not fund the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system – the cost would be paid by the government, which may then decide to tax us in order to prevent that expenditure from pushing up inflation; that is how taxation works in the UK. The current tax system puts too much of the burden onto the poor, but that’s what happens when you vote for a Tory government.

Secondly, the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system should be borne by the privatised water companies, if it is necessary. Their shareholders bought these companies from the then-UK government (Conservative) on the understanding that they would fund improvements from their own budgets – not demand handouts from the government while paying huge profits to themselves.

Thirdly, where did Ms Jones dig up this £600 billion figure? Our river quality correspondent has asked her…

… but it seems Ms Jones is more interested in blocking people who make such inquiries:

Oh, and Ms Jones’s claim that the government is already reducing discharge from storm overflows seems to be contradicted by much of the evidence we’re seeing:

At the end of the day, I’m finding Mitch Benn’s theory quite compelling:

There is a cholera vaccine available in the UK.

Be careful not to overstretch the NHS when you demand it!

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Disabled comedian Rosie Jones shames Tories with damning verdict on disability law and benefits

I didn’t see this when it was aired on the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday – and I’m sorry because it was one of the few times that sad rag of a show would have been worth watching.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, comedian Rosie Jones, who happens to have cerebral palsy, was asked to comment on what it has meant for herself and other people who have disabilities.

She didn’t hold back. Her comments about the benefits Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and its successor Personal Independence Payment (PIP) were scathing.

And all through, Health Secretary Matt Hancock sat like a nodding dog. At the end, he was even smiling at the torment his government forces people to suffer:

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Welsh Tory MP voted to starve English children while Welsh Labour feeds those in her constituency

I raise this to point out the hypocrisy of Conservative MPs.

Last December, people in This Writer’s constituency – Brecon and Radnorshire, in Wales – voted Conservative Fay Jones into Parliament as their MP.

The Welsh government – run by the Labour Party – has already legislated to ensure that children who have been flung into poverty by UK-wide Tory policies and/or by the Covid-19 crisis will enjoy free school meals to ensure they do not grow hungry.

Last week, Jones was among the 322 MPs who voted to ensure that English children – afflicted in the same way by Tory policies – starve.

What utter hypocrisy.

The worst part of it is that people here will probably vote for her again, in the mistaken impression that she had something to do with the decision to provide free meals for children here in Wales.

I note that Ms Jones has been in Parliament for less than a year but has already incurred expenses claims totalling £25,717.57 – equivalent to the average wage in the UK – on top of her MP salary of around £82,000. She seems far more a waste of money than English children – the feeding of whom I would consider to be more an investment.

It is notable that she has also received a supporting donation from the bottled water company Radnor Hills, totalling £10,000.

Considering that fellow Tory MP Selaine Saxby has said she hopes firms providing food to starving English children should not seek government support, it seems appropriate that this firm (that would receive any such support from the Labour-run Welsh government, rather than Westminster) should be deprived of public support in return for backing Jones.

Don’t you agree?

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Bread and circuses: why should we be uplifted if £100 million of our cash is spent on a new royal yacht?

Typical Tories: faced with a choice between helping people who need it and spaffing a fortune on a boat for a super-rich toff’s jollies, they will always make the wrong decision.

This is the third time a Tory has tried to foist a new Royal Yacht on us; the twist this time is a proposal to split funding three ways between businesses, the public and the National Lottery (so the public pays twice).

This time the idea is being suggested by Lord Jones of Birmingham, formerly Digby Jones, who ran the Confederation of British Industry for six years between 2000 and 2006. He also served as a minister in Gordon Brown’s Labour government, which tends to ruin any left-wing credentials New Labour might have claimed.

The cost – this time – is £100 million. That’s the same as it was in 2016 and £40 million more than in 2012, when Michael Gove was the one putting it forward.

In 2012, This Site treated the idea as comedy. We were in the grip of the Tories’ pointless austerity drive that caused a huge amount of harm – we may never know how many UK citizens died as a result of the cuts inflicted on them by David Cameron and his cutthroat cronies, because they simply didn’t bother to keep a record of the fatalities.

I wrote: “Would he [Michael Gove] spend his own money on such lavishments? Perhaps he’s trying to tell us that his Department for Education and Science is bucking the national trend by making money hand over fist. This would be strange behaviour for an organisation that is supposed to spend money in the most cost-effective way possible.”

In 2016, I concentrated on other uses for the cash: “We learn that Conservative MPs want to give the Queen another yacht – at a cost of £100 million that could be better-used elsewhere, perhaps on benefit payments for a further £16,666 sick people for a year.

“Ah, but the last Royal Yacht secured trade deals worth billions between 1991 and 1995, they argue.

“Sure – but times have changed hugely since then. With no guarantees, this is the equivalent of burning £50 notes in the faces of the poor.

“Perhaps Conservative MPs should be searched for matches and cigarette lighters before being allowed into the Treasury.”

The point about trade deals is interesting at a time when the Tory government is desperately trying to re-establish the UK as a trading nation after severing ties with the European Union.

But who benefits from such deals?

Rich businesspeople, perhaps – but would they pay their taxes or send the cash to tax havens?

If the latter, then why should the public pay for something that will not help us in the slightest?

And why should we ever be expected to be happy about it?

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