Tag Archives: Prevent

Tories want to ignore climate change for profit – that’s why they call Extinction Rebellion ‘extremist’

Tories call this terrorism: if enough people realise the threat of climate apocalypse caused by their policies, it might affect their profits.

On the weekend when the Doctor Who episode was about the dangers of ignoring climate change, the Conservative government is trying to ignore it.

Priti Patel defended the decision to order police to include climate activist group Extinction Rebellion on a list of extremist groups.

XR has threatened legal action after it was revealed it had been placed on a list of ideologies that should be reported to the authorities running the Prevent anti-radicalisation programme to prevent terrorism. Police now say that was an error.

Sir Peter Fahy, who was head of Prevent from 2010 to 2015, subsequently said such categorisations risked Prevent losing confidence from communities.

But Ms Patel said: “Everything has to be based and calibrated upon risk.

“They’re obviously a protest organisation. But everything has to be based in terms of risk to the public, security risks, security threats. That is based on information from the police, and various intelligence that we will receive

“That’s the proper thing to do. You develop your policy approach accordingly.”

So she thinks the “proper thing to do” is to marginalise a group that campaigns peacefully for our continued survival, lumping it in with terrorists.

Labour’s Keir Starmer took time off from kowtowing to the Board of Deputies of British Jews to say something sensible about this.

He said: “It’s completely wrong and counterproductive to describe Extinction Rebellion as an ‘extreme ideology’.

““Climate change is a real and present danger that requires an immediate policy response.”

I think Ms Patel has delivered that response.

The Tories don’t want to even acknowledge climate change because such a long-term threat gets in the way of their short-term profits.

It has been said that Boris Johnson has been warned off discussing climate change because that might jeopardise the trade deal he wants to do with Donald Trump – at a huge disadvantage to the UK.

I guess it’s nice to know who your national leader answers to.

His “scorched Earth” policy means he wants the whole planet to go beyond the point of no return and into climate apocalypse but – hey! – that’s what the UK voted for.

Source: Patel defends police over Extinction Rebellion inclusion on extremist list | Environment | The Guardian

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New rules at DWP – to stop benefit claimants getting help from elected representatives

Underclass: If you’re a benefit claimant, the DWP wants to prevent you getting help from your elected representatives.

The Tories are trying hard to turn benefit claimants into an underclass – now they are being forbidden from seeking advice from their elected representatives.

New changes imposed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) require claimants who have approached politicians for help with a benefit appeal to sign a waiver form explaining why they have done so, rather than going directly to the Job Centre.

The changes also require claimants to state exactly what they have discussed with their elected representative before information can be disclosed regarding an appeal.

To This Writer, the explanation would be simple: they want their appeal to succeed, and it has more chance with a politician helping than with DWP lickspittles who get a bonus every time a claimant is knocked off the books.

Recently it seems an approach to local newspapers can also be rewarding.

Politicians themselves are up in arms about it.

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani was quoted as saying:

The Universal Credit system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be halted. With so many loopholes and barriers put in place to stop claimants receiving the support they are entitled to, it’s no wonder people come to their MSP for support.

Neither the DWP, nor Boris Johnson’s Tory government, has the right to stop people approaching their elected representatives for help and support – that’s what we’re here to do.

This is just the latest extension of the hostile environment introduced by this right-wing Tory government designed to lock people out from receiving the financial support they are entitled to.

Quite right too.

And if this rule is being rolled out across the UK, it is every local politician’s duty to fight it.

Source: Tories Trying to Keep Universal Credit Claimants In The Dark Say SNP – Association of Pensions & Benefits Claimants CIC

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Tory MP objected to female genital mutilation being stopped and everybody chose an appropriate word to describe him

Christopher Chope: His obsession with female genitalia has earned him a nickname which, like his real names, also begins with a ‘C’.

It begins with ‘C’ but it isn’t ‘Christopher’ and it isn’t ‘Chope’ either.

Yes indeed – Christopher Chope has struck again. The man who killed a proposed law to ban “upskirting” has now blocked a Bill that would have made it easier to stop female genital mutilation (FGM) being inflicted on children.

This man has no business dictating what happens to the private parts of females members of the human race – for at least two obvious reasons.

Ironically, he opened his mouth to shout “Object” on the day his fellow Tory, Penny Mordaunt, pledged £50 million to end FGM globally by 2030:

The public response to Mr Chope has been widespread and vitriolic. Below are some of those containing language This Site can publish:

The embarrassment of the people of Christchurch at having elected Mr ‘C’ could not be clearer, as constituents lined up to condemn him and others begged for him to be ousted at the next election:

With Theresa May – and her entire government – on the brink of collapse due to her pathetic bid to negotiate a withdrawal from the EU that will benefit elite Tories and nobody else, it seems the people of Christchurch may have an opportunity to rectify the problem of their errant MP, sooner rather than later.

Let us hope they take it.

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Cameron’s terror tactics hold no fears for the fanatics

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So “British jihadists who travel abroad to fight could be prevented from returning under new powers” outlined by David Cameron, could they?

Whose stupid idea was that?

Not everybody who goes to the ‘danger’ countries is going to be a threat; they could have perfectly legitimate reasons for going. In fact, the vast majority have been proven to have no interest in violence at all.

But anyone who goes out could have their passports taken away for two years, unless they agree to be escorted back here and then undergo an extensive “de-radicalisation” programme – brainwashing, it seems.

The move puts the government on extremely dodgy ground because, legally, it can’t take away anybody’s passport while they’re abroad because that could leave them – effectively – stateless, or at least lead to them acting as if they are, and this is illegal under international agreements. Or is Cameron reneging on international – and indeed common – law?

It assumes guilt before trial. People who are suspected – take note of that: suspected – of being jihadists will be told they cannot return to their home country, despite having been found guilty of nothing, unless they submit to measures that some may describe as extreme. There appears to be no appeal mechanism.

And what are people going to do, if they’re being prevented from coming home? The proto-terrorists are more likely to spend their time seeking out the professional terrorists and learn all they can in order to become actual terrorists on their return – pro-Brit brainwashing or no. The innocents could fall into the hands of the terrorists and become radicalised.

Fundamental to all this is the fact that the new measures are attacking the symptoms of radicalisation, rather than the cause. They assume that people flying out to ‘danger’ countries are up to no good, and they facilitate action by the British state that is more likely to make that the case than achieve the opposite.

Is anything being done to stop the radicalisation of British citizens here in the UK – to prevent them from wanting to join some deranged terrorist cause, out in the desert? No.

It is as if our government – which some might describe as deranged itself – wanted to create an army of anti-British terrorists, composed of British citizens.

Cameron can’t even get Parliamentary procedure right these days. He has run foul of the Speaker, John Bercow, for announcing the new rules from Australia. The comedy prime minister’s claim that there was an urgent need is one that can’t be confirmed – who knows what secret plots are being hatched an foiled at any time? – leading to the obvious rejoinder that he could say that any time he liked, bypassing protocol whenever he feels like it.

Is he deliberately destroying British justice and the rule of law?

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Liars exposed! Why has nobody been sacked yet?

Questions to answer: Maria Miller, the minister for evasion, cannot be expected to respond. She obstructed Parliament's inquiry into her expenses claims and her eventual apology for her misdeeds lasted just 32 seconds.

Questions to answer: Maria Miller, the minister for evasion, cannot be expected to respond. She obstructed Parliament’s inquiry into her expenses claims and her eventual apology for her misdeeds lasted just 32 seconds.

This blog asked yesterday whether Downing Street communications chief Craig Oliver was a liar, an incompetent, or both after he denied that government officers threatened the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses.

It turns out he was both.

The Telegraph has now published a recording of the conversation between reporter Holly Watt and Miller’s advisor Joanna Hindley, on which its allegations are based. There can be no doubt that the reporter did indeed have Leveson held over her (corruptly); there can be little doubt that this was done at the request of Miller; and there can be no doubt at all that Mr Oliver knew about it.

So – a liar. And incompetent, because he had obviously discounted the possibility that the Telegraph reporter might have recorded the exchange.

It appears that Mr Oliver still has his job, despite having become the second person to disgrace it out of only two appointed by David Cameron. We cannot comment on Joanna Hindley.

The bullying, possibly blackmailing fraudster Maria Miller – who also persecuted thousands of disabled people while she was minister for equalities, also remains part of the government.

This speaks volumes about the lack of judgement displayed by ‘comedy’ Prime Minister David Cameron.

The longer he delays removing his rotten minister, her rotten advisor and his rotten media chief, the more rotten he and his government will become – in the opinion of the public.

And for this Prime Minister, public opinion is everything.

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The Telegraph must stand firm against Downing Street bullies

Self-satisfied: Downing street communications chief Craig Oliver. But does he have any reason to look so pleased with himself?

Self-satisfied: Downing street communications chief Craig Oliver. But does he have any reason to look so pleased with himself?

Is Downing Street director of communications Craig Oliver a liar, or incompetent? Or is he an incompetent liar?

These are the questions we should ask after he denied threatening the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published details of its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses.

The Telegraph reported that Miller’s parents were living in her taxpayer-funded south London second home, implying that she had fraudulently claimed expenses for it, in December 2012 – and immediately followed its report with another, alleging that government advisers tried to bully the paper out of running the story.

The Telegraph claimed that Miller’s special advisor, Joanna Hindley, told a reporter that the Editor of the Telegraph was involved in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary over implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson, and that the reporter should discuss the issue with “people a little higher up your organisation”.

The report continued: “Miss Hindley immediately contacted the Telegraph’s head of public affairs to raise concerns about the story. The news group decided to delay publication in order to ensure the facts were correct.

“Having carried out further checks, the newspaper concluded that the story was accurate and decided to publish the article at the first opportunity, meaning it appeared on the day same-sex marriage was debated in the Commons.” The government then suggested that the Telegraph was using the story to “overshadow” the announcement.

“Miss Hindley also accused the Telegraph of harassing Mrs Miller’s father, John Lewis,” the story continued

“In fact, reporters had a brief conversation with Mr Lewis in order to establish how long he had lived with Mrs Miller. Over the course of the conversation, Mr Lewis said he enjoyed reading the Telegraph.”

These claims are clearly damaging to Miss Hindley’s reputation as she is shown to be threatening, on Miller’s behalf, to use government powers to clamp down on reports in the Telegraph, which would be an abuse of the system.

Today’s report on the BBC News website has former Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher claiming that Mr Oliver contacted him to “lean” on the newspaper and “prevent it going about its legitimate business”.

He said: “She has done the free press a great favour,” he said.

“Maria Miller provides a cast-iron example of why politicians should have no power over the press.”

Mr Oliver denied the claim that the Telegraph was threatened. But the question remains: If this is true, why did he not take appropriate action sooner?

If he is right in his claim, then the government could have sued the Telegraph for libelling not only Miss Hindley, but also Mr Oliver andMiller herself. Why didn’t he?

The Telegraph provided its own version of events immediately after they took place, but Mr Oliver has waited 16 months to offer us his side of the story. It’s too late now.

We can only conclude that he is either lying about what happened, incompetent in not having taken the appropriate action at the appropriate time, or an incompetent liar because – given then evidence available to us – it was those acting for the government who misbehaved.

And the bullying, possibly blackmailing fraudster is still in her job. Why?

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Foiled! Lords veto Coalition bid to make being ‘annoying’ an arrestable offence

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The Conservative-led Coalition government has suffered a major setback in its plan for an oppressive law to criminalise any behaviour that may be deemed a nuisance or annoyance.

The Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill was intended to allow police the power to arrest any group in a public place who constables believe may upset someone. It was rejected by 306 votes to 178, after peers on all sides of the House condemned the proposal as one that would eliminate carol-singing and street preaching, bell-ringing and – of course – political protests.

It seems the Lords are more interested than our would-be tyrants in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Cabinet in the basic assumption of British law – that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

The politics.co.uk website, reporting the government’s defeat, said the new law would have introduced Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs) to replace Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).

It explained: “Whereas an Asbo can only be granted if a person or group is causing or threatening to cause ‘harassment, alarm or distress’ to someone else, an Ipna could be approved merely if a judge believes the behaviour in question is ‘capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person’.

“Opinion could have been swayed by a mistake from Lord Faulks, the Tory peer widely expected to shortly become a minister who was asked to give an example of the sort of behaviour which might be captured by the bill.

“He described a group of youths who repeatedly gathered at a specific location, smoking cannabis and playing loud music in a way representing ‘a day-by-day harassment of individuals’.

“That triggered consternation in the chamber as peers challenged him over the word ‘harassment’ – a higher bar than the ‘nuisance or annoyance’ threshold he was arguing in favour of.

“‘I find it difficult to accept a Conservative-led government is prepared to introduce this lower threshold in the bill,’ Tory backbencher Patrick Cormack said.

“‘We are sinking to a lower threshold and in the process many people may have their civil liberties taken away from them.'”

It is the judgement of the general public that this is precisely the intention.

Peers repeatedly quoted Lord Justice Sedley’s ruling in a 1997 high court case, when he declared: “Freedom to only speak inoffensively is not worth having.”

It is interesting to note that the government tried a well-used tactic – making a minor concession over the definition of ‘annoyance’ before the debate took place, in order to win the day. This has served the Coalition well in the past, particularly during the fight over the Health and Social Care Act, in which claims were made about GPs’ role in commissioning services, about the future role of the Health Secretary, and about the promotion of private health organisations over NHS providers.

But today the Lords were not fooled and dismissed the change in agreement with the claim of civil liberties group Liberty, which said – in words that may also be applied to the claims about the Health Act – that they were “a little bit of window dressing” and “nothing substantial has changed“.

A further concession, changing the proposal for an IPNA to be granted only if it is “just and convenient to do so” into one for it to be granted if it targets conduct which could be “reasonably expected to cause nuisance or annoyance” was torpedoed by Lord Dear, who rightly dismissed it as “vague and imprecise“.

That is a criticism that has also been levelled at that other instrument of repression, the Transparency of Lobbying Bill. Lord Blair, the former Metropolitan police commissioner, invited comparison between the two when he described the Antisocial Behaviour Bill in the same terms previously applied to the Lobbying Bill: “This is a piece of absolutely awful legislation.”

The defeat means the Bill will return to the House of Commons, where MPs will have to reconsider their approach to freedom of speech, under the scrutiny of a general public that is now much more aware of the threat to it than when the Bill was first passed by our allegedly democratic representatives.

With a general election only 16 months away, every MP must know that every decision they make could affect their chances in 2015.

We must judge them on their actions.

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