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‘Spycops’ law will be used to spy on Labour, its MPs and trade unions. Why did 167 Labour MPs support it?

Another blunder: Keir Starmer’s insistence on allowing a law that would allow the government to undermine his party has created a rift between him and an ever-increasing number of his MPs.

It is already being labelled as a major rebellion against Keir Starmer’s leadership: 34 Labour MPs defying the party whip to vote against the controversial so-called ‘Spycops’ Bill that would allow government agents to commit crimes.

The real question about it, though, is: why so few?

Labour has been targeted by the so-called Establishment in the UK – probably from its beginnings as a political party. This includes espionage by the nation’s intelligence agencies.

We all know about famous incidents such as the Zinoviev Letter, which contributed to the fall of Ramsay MacDonald’s first Labour government. It was a forged communique allegedly between the government and the Communist government of Russia, written by people whose identities remain uncertain…

… but it was published by the Conservative Daily Mail, and it is widely believed that this was on the urging of the SIS – the intelligence service of the day.

Another famous issue is the MI5 file on Harold Wilson, which was opened when he first entered Parliament in 1945 and recorded his contacts with communists, KGB officers and other Russians.

It was opened because of concerns about his relationships with Eastern European businessmen. Can you imagine MI5 opening a file on Boris Johnson, over his relationships with oligarches from Russia?

Ultimately, none of the information in the file can have amounted to anything because MI5 never tried to use it to undermine him – despite his own paranoia about this in his later years.

Clearly there is a precedent for the security services – which are predominantly staffed by right-wingers – using every resource within their power to find ways of undermining the Labour Party.

And by abstaining on a Bill that allows government agents to commit crimes in order to achieve their aims, 167 Labour MPs including the party’s leader, Keir Starmer, have just handed them another such resource.

It’s undemocratic and dangerous – the kind of legislation created by a dictatorship in order to ensure, by fair means or foul, that no rival organisation can ever topple it.

But some good may come of it accidentally – the possible removal of Starmer as party leader.

Around 20 of his MPs rebelled against his demand to abstain on the Bill’s second reading. Yesterday (October 15), 34 defied his whip – including eight who resigned from front bench roles to do so:

 

Much of this can be attributed to Starmer’s own attitude, which suggests that he actually supports the Bill’s demand that government agents be allowed to commit any crime without fear of prosecution for it later – any crime at all, including the murder of the Tories’ political opponents:

Discontent with his lack of opposition to the worst Tory government in history is growing, and already there are rumours of a leadership challenge in 2021:

Political developments are strange; they don’t happen the way anybody expects – unless that person is very far-sighted indeed.

The Zinoviev Letter led to the fall of a Labour government – but only in a roundabout way. Labour’s vote increased in the general election; it was the collapse of the Liberal vote that allowed the Conservatives their victory.

It would be ironic if now, nearly a century after that attempt to end a socialist government, a piece of legislation that legalises espionage against the party that formed that government actually led to its re-founding as a socialist organisation once again.

That is the only comforting thought I can raise from what is, in all other respects, a disaster for democracy.

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Starmer’s whip cracks and his MPs start walking away from legalisation of crimes like rape by government agents

Bungler: perhaps Keir Starmer thought his decision to support a law that allows government agents to murder, torture and rape people with no fear of prosecution was a show of power. All it will do is turn more people away from the hollow shell he has made of the Labour Party.

Keir Starmer has gone too far and Labour MPs know it.

That’s how This Writer reads the groundbreaking resignation from the party’s frontbench team of rising star Dan Carden.

The now-former shadow chief secretary to the Treasury has only just distinguished himself in Parliament with this speech attacking Tory corruption and cronyism, taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to award themselves and their businesses huge wodges of public money in return for – well, nothing:

Now, after being told that Starmer is whipping Labour to abstain on the heinous Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, he has announced that he will vote with his conscience – and resigned his post as a shadow minister.

He is quite right to do so. Starmer has lied repeatedly about this – or he has been wildly mistaken about what he could achieve.

First he told Labour MPs to abstain on the second reading of the Bill – allowing it to progress through Parliament when a concerted effort by all Labour MPs could have stopped it on the spot.

He told his MPs that there would be a chance to change the Bill, tightening up controls on the kind of crimes that could be committed and the circumstances in which they would be allowed. That has not happened.

And he told his MPs that they would be able to vote against the Bill if attempts to amend it failed. We see now that he is not going to allow this after all.

So Mr Carden did the honourable thing:

Take note of the words in his letter. He states that Starmer has “settled” on his position on “legislation that sets dangerous new precedents on the rule of law and civil liberties in this country”.

He’s saying that, in effect, Starmer is supporting a law that will harm our freedom.

The letter also states that in supporting the harm that will be done to us, Starmer’s position is at odds with the vast majority of his party: “I share the deep concerns about this legislation from across the Labour Movement, human rights organisations, and so many who have suffered the abuse of state power, from blacklisted workers to the Hillsborough families and survivors.”

Mention of the Hillsborough tragedy is particularly telling: in supporting this Bill, then, Starmer is setting himself against the Hillsborough families and survivors – and everybody who supports them and their struggle for justice.

That is not a good look for a lawyer!

The Third Reading vote on the CHIS Bill is this evening (October 15).

Labour-voting members of the public will judge their MPs by whether they support Starmer, or if they choose to support justice instead.

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Fury as Starmer asks Labour to abstain on Bill allowing government agents to commit crimes like murder, torture and rape

Keir Starmer: he’s not left-wing but he’s definitely sinister.

Why is a former human rights lawyer like Keir Starmer asking Labour MPs to let the Tories pass a law that will allow their agents to commit crimes that trample all over our human rights?

The crimes that will be allowed are bad enough – the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill is also known as the ‘Licence to Kill’ Bill. Also allowed would be torture and sex crimes including rape.

But it will also be impossible to mitigate the worst aspects of the Bill with the Human Rights Act, because the Tories stated 11 months ago that, as the state would not be the “instigator” of the crimes, it could not be held responsible for them.

Starmer, a former human rights lawyer, has reportedly convinced some Labour MPs that this is not the case. He must know that this isn’t true.

So why does he want to give government agents – including people from the Environment Agency and the Financial Conduct Authority – a licence for torture, rape and murder?

As This Site documented last week, Starmer already whipped Labour to abstain on the second reading of the Bill.

We were told this was in order to create a chance to modify the legislation, tightening restrictions on using the powers it creates.

This no longer seems to be the case: he is now suggesting that Labour should abstain once again – and let the Bill pass without opposition – if no amendments are made.

As you may imagine, there has been more than a little opposition to this:

But on the same day this information was released, Starmer called a press conference in which he changed his policy on Covid-19 and demanded a “circuit-break” lockdown, across England, for two or three weeks – creating a huge amount of fuss among the media and the public.

Do you think he was trying to hide something?

Source: Keir Starmer facing major rebellion after saying Labour should abstain on ‘Licence to Kill’ bill even if unamended | Evolve Politics

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If Starmer hadn’t whipped Labour to abstain on #spycops bill, this support for murder, torture & sex crimes would have been defeated

Keir Starmer: he probably thought he was being smart but all he really did was get it wrong again.

Well, isn’t this interesting?

The tweet isn’t quite correct; only 20 MPs voted against the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill that would authorise people from the Financial Conduct Authority (for example) to commit crimes up to and including murder, rape and torture in the course of an investigation – and they were all from the Labour Party.

But only 182 Tories voted for it.

If Keir Starmer had not whipped Labour MPs to abstain – and take note that exactly 182 of them did – then this endorsement of crime by a criminal government would have been stopped in its tracks.

Defenders of the Bill have claimed it isn’t as bad as some of us are saying – that spies working for the various government agencies would need approval to commit crimes before carrying out the acts for which the planned law would grant them immunity.

But the safeguards against abuse are said to be “very vague and very broad” and, as I mentioned in a previous article, there is the issue of “mission creep”: agents will end up committing ever-more-extreme crimes because they are told to do so on the spur of a moment, creating precedents to stretch what is permissible until it covers anything at all.

Take note: Starmer used to be a human rights lawyer.

But he just gave an insult to human rights a free pass to the next stage of becoming law.

And his supporters are trying to flood the social media with claims that he is a good thing. #StarmerOutstanding, they say.

He is outstanding. He is an outstanding threat to the well-being of you, me and everybody we know.

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The UK’s criminal government is authorising undercover cops to commit sex crimes – and Starmer is supporting it

Keir Starmer: in abstaining on the Bill to give government agents carte blanche to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape, he is supporting the commission of those crimes. The perpetrators will be protected from prosecution by the law.

In one sense, it was only to be expected: a criminal government authorises its enforcers to commit criminal acts.

So the Johnson government – an international criminal due to the Internal Market Bill that is currently going through the House of Lords like a dose of salts – is authorising its spies to commit crimes as part of their duties.

These crimes include murder, torture, and sexual offences:

According to the BBC,

the legislation would explicitly authorise MI5, the police, the National Crime Agency and other agencies that use informants or undercover agents to commit a specific crime as part of an operation.

Security officials will not say which crimes are authorised, on grounds that this may give away the identities of undercover agents to terrorists and other serious criminals.

So the sky is the limit and the legislation offers the UK’s secret police a licence to do anything they like, to anybody.

Yes, the legislation does require MI5 officers and others to show the crime is “necessary and proportionate”, but what happens when they encounter what’s known as “mission creep”?

The definition of “necessary and proportionate” will stretch over time to encompass anything, laying it open to corruption – and agents may find themselves committing ever-more-extreme crimes because they are told to do so on the spur of a moment.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said the legislation would “help keep our country safe”, but he did not elaborate on whose country he meant, or who it would be kept safe from.

Both Labour and Conservative MPs have expressed opposition to the Bill as it currently stands, saying the safeguards were “very vague and very broad” and must be strengthened.

But Labour’s leadership said it would not oppose the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill at its second reading on October 5.

This has led to further claims that current Labour leader Keir Starmer is nothing more than a closet Conservative, forcing party members to accept acts that are directly opposed to their principles as he supports the Johnson government time and time again – and his MPs support him.

Only 20 Labour MPs defied his order to abstain on the Bill’s second reading, including former leader Jeremy Corbyn and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, and others including Ian Lavery, who tweeted this:

Note the hashtag #spycops – others include #LabStainers and #NoOpposition, with #StarmerOut being the most popular (although it is also infested with supporters of ‘Sir Keith’ who are trying to stifle the views of the majority).

Here are a few examples of the #StarmerOut tweets, to show the strength of feeling about this:

Supporters of Starmer say he is acting strategically in order to demonstrate that Johnson and his ministers have nobody to blame for their mistakes but themselves. This is a trap for Labour.

Having abstained from voting on this Bill, Starmer and his followers in the Labour Party have said they accept the necessity of agents of the Financial Conduct Authority committing rape (to put forward an extreme example).

Are their supporters seriously trying to tell us this won’t come back and bite them?

There is only one reasonable response to legislation that authorises government agents to commit crimes – especially extreme crimes such as those contemplated here, and that is opposition.

But opposition is not in Keir Starmer’s vocabulary.

Let’s have a leadership challenge. He has to go.

And if he isn’t ousted this time, let’s have another challenge, and another, until he is. He has turned Labour into a travesty.

Source: MPs back bill to authorise MI5 and police crimes – BBC News

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Is it true that senior Tories tried to bully alleged rape victim into dropping her case?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: it seems he couldn’t be bothered to act on the allegations himself but told the victim to contact the police.

Allegations have arisen on Twitter that senior Tories tried to persuade the alleged victim to drop her case against a Conservative MP, with promises of good jobs if she signs a non-disclosure agreement/accepts a small settlement.

I’m not aware of the source of this claim and would appreciate confirmation – but there is evidence to support the broad meaning of part of it.

The BBC has reported that Tory chief whip Mark Spencer was contacted by the alleged victim in April.

He now insists that she did not make any allegation of serious sexual assault (the current claim is that four incidents took place between July 2018 and January 2020).

Sources also say Spencer had not known the “magnitude” of the allegations.

The BBC continues:

A report in the Daily Telegraph suggested the woman became frustrated after they spoke that nothing was done.

It is also understood the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, was told by an MP in recent weeks about the claims – with sources saying he had said the woman should contact the police.

So neither Rees-Mogg nor Spencer took appropriate action themselves, at the appropriate time.

Their excuses for failing to do so seem flimsy – to This Writer, at least.

Hopefully we’ll find out the facts if the case comes to court – but that’s a big if.

The number of rape cases coming to court has plummeted since the Tories have been in power.

Perhaps, as Home Secretary and the minister therefore responsible, this is where Priti Patel’s failures lie?

It seems Tories don’t consider it to be a serious crime.

Source: Rape claims against Conservative MP taken ‘very seriously’ – BBC News

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In UK politics, is an accusation of anti-Semitism really more serious than one of rape?

The gossips have been flaying the skins off the jungle drums since we learned a Conservative MP has been arrested for rape.

Much of the chatter has centred on the suspect’s anonymity, which seems to have provoked a lot of confected outrage.

This Writer isn’t outraged by it.

I’ve been to an awful lot of court cases and I’m satisfied that when matters get that far, it is right for the defendant to be named. It is the victim’s identity that must be protected.

Matters haven’t got that far.

And accusations of rape are extremely serious, with major reputational harm attached.

So, until such time as Her Majesty launches a criminal prosecution against the MP involved, I don’t mind him remaining nameless.

Once she does, his identity should be allowed no protection at all – most particularly because he is a member of Parliament. We should expect a higher standard of behaviour from our representatives.

The other talking-point is more worrying.

People have been complaining because the suspected MP has not been suspended by the Conservative Party, in the same way that Labour members and representatives were suspended the instant they were accused.

Doesn’t this say more about Labour than the Tories, though?

Whether the chatterers like it or not, a UK citizen – no matter what the accusation against them – is innocent until proven guilty.

The Tories – for the time being, at least – are right to protect their MP from the (possibly-unwarranted) attacks that suspension would attract.

Conversely, what about Labour’s decision not only to suspend members who have been accused of anti-Semitism, but for the party actually to go out of its way to inform the media (as it did in my own case)?

That’s right – it is Labour that is at fault.

Or am I mistaken?

I suppose it depends whether you think being accused of anti-Semitism – harbouring personal opinions of hatred against Jewish people simply because they are Jewish – is to be accused of a worse crime than rape – a direct attack that violates the victim’s body and often (personally, I would say always) traumatises them for the rest of their life.

Let me know your opinions – and be sure to include your reasons for holding them.

Source: Tory MP not suspended over rape allegation arrest while investigation ongoing – BBC News

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Child benefit scandal: a million more children in poverty, 900 women forced to disclose rape

The Scottish National Party seems to have taken over what used to be Labour’s job as guardian of vulnerable benefit claimants.

(And it’s a good thing; Keir Starmer seems to think he is better-occupied persecuting innocent party members with trumped-up anti-Semitism accusations.)

So we have the SNP to thank for revealing the latest scandalous details of the Tory government’s decision to deprive parents of child benefit if they have more than two children – and to force mothers to relive details of rape as the price of having that benefit restored for additional children.

Here’s the headline:

New figures published by the UK government have revealed that 911,190 children have lost access to vital financial support since April 2017, while 900 women have been forced to disclose that their child was conceived of rape in order to access vital funds.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss first discovered the two-child cap and the so-called “rape clause” in George Osborne’s 2015 Budget and has been a vocal opponent of the policy since its inception.

The MP has challenged the Prime Minister to scrap the abhorrent policy, describing the figures as “a horrific legacy for any government”.

She said: “The UK Tory government’s own data reveals the devastating impact of their two-child limit on families across the UK. Approaching one million children are now suffering financial hardship, the majority of them in families where their parents are working.

“This is a horrific legacy for any government. It’s time for Boris Johnson to wake up to this reality, signal a change of direction on welfare and scrap this pernicious Tory policy.

“Most shocking of all, 900 women have been forced to go through the process of claiming for an exception due to a non-consensual conception. Every single one of these women has been put in a position where they’ve had to fill in a form to prove their child was conceived as a result of rape or coercion, just to make ends meet.

“The UK Government has no place to hide in the face of these damning statistics. Covid-19 has exposed the gaps in the social security safety net – I urge the new Prime Minister to do the right thing and scrap the two-child limit for everyone”.

But this is Boris Johnson she’s talking about. Do you honestly think he could care less?

Source: NEARLY 1 MILLION CHILDREN INTO POVERTY, 900 WOMEN FORCED TO DISCLOSE RAPE – Welfare Weekly

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If Tories don’t support abusers, why does Universal Credit push people to stay in abusive relationships?

Abuse: the Tories have ensured that people can’t escape if it means claiming Universal Credit. That way lie only debt, depression and mental breakdown.

Twisted Tory rules mean that people are financially encouraged to stay in abusive relationships rather than claim Universal Credit.

The Conservative government has deliberately weighted the conditions under which the so-called benefit is paid to make it more difficult for people to survive by claiming it than by living with an abuser – even if this means endangering their own lives.

People with disabilities are particularly at risk. But then, those of us who are familiar with the Tory record on disability have come to expect that.

Unite the Union has provided the story of Emma (not her real name), who lived a life of psychological abuse, control and marital rape until she was helped to divorce her husband and strike out on her own.

She did not think there would be any hardship as her husband, it seems, was a genuine skiver who refused to work, meaning she had been the main earner – despite being able to work only 24 hours per week, due to a serious autoimmune disease.

But the Tories made sure she would suffer.

Previously, as a working person, she had been receiving tax credits, and would have been better-off had she continued to do so.

But the Tories used her change of circumstances to force her onto Universal Credit, leaving her £350 per month worse-off.

There are several reasons for this:

The disabled worker allowance she used to receive under tax credits was stopped. This is because the allowance can only be accessed through a work capability assessment, which grants benefits to people unable to work, rather than for disabled people who can work.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has stated that this has resulted in a Catch 22 where “a worker must be assessed as not fit for work to receive targeted in-work support”.

Have you ever heard of anything as flat-out daft?

I bet if anyone tried to point it out, they’d have to fight an expensive court case before the Tories did anything about it, too.

Worse still, Emma ran into a problem that has now been challenged in court, with a ruling made against it:

Her wages are paid on the last Wednesday of every month rather than on the same date. This resulted in her claim being cancelled and her payments being stopped for three months. She was also ineligible to claim her entitlement back for the month in which the claim was ended.

This is a widely experienced problem for Universal Credit claimants whose regular wages are paid on different days each month and stems from an ill-considered policy stipulation that the benefit amount is calculated to a strictly defined time period.

Now Emma is among 85,000 people who should be able to claim compensation, after the Court of Appeal have ruled that it was “irrational” for the Department for Work and Pensions – and the Secretary of State in particular – to ignore the fact that computer systems would assume that claimant had received double the money expected and cancel their payments.

The Conservative government spent two years fighting this court case – indicating that, despite being well aware of the issue, Tories were determined to continue depriving some of the poorest workers in the UK of vital benefits – including victims of outrageous domestic abuse like Emma.

I asked in my previous article about the court case whether the Tories were sadists or perverts, commenting that “perverts” seemed closest to the mark as one of the judges had described the situation as “perverse”.

Considering Emma’s case, it seems they were sadists as well.

The court ruling came too late for her, by the way – forced into an ever-mounting debt crisis with not even an offer of support from the Department for Work and Pensions, the weight of a life suffering abuse came crashing over her and she suffered a nervous breakdown.

She is now diagnosed as suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

After 22 years as a healthcare professional in which she had always paid her bills, taxes and pension contributions, she now says she is “mortgaged up to the hilt… living off a credit card and have taken out two personal loans”.

So Universal Credit has put Emma exactly where the Tories want her – deeply in debt and forced to work like a beast of burden in the forlorn hope of clearing that debt again.

Consider the fact that 85,000 people are likely to have been put in the same situation by the ‘pay date’ scandal alone – never mind those who lost the disabled worker allowance, and it seems clear that the Tories are trying to create a “zombie economy” – with working people forced to wear themselves out trying to pay off an impossibly-high debt while their creditors sit back and count their profits.

It seems a limited amount of help is available for people who have suffered domestic abuse – but anyone seeking it must provide “written evidence” (of what kind?) within one month of discussing it with a work coach.

Emma is clear about the end result:

“Had I known that I would lose my tax credits and be transferred to Universal Credit before I separated from my ex-husband, I most definitely would have remained in the marriage and that is a worrying thought.

“Universal Credit, I believe, traps people in unhealthy relationships and causes more difficulties to individuals who are already in a vulnerable and distressing situation.”

So much for Iain Duncan Smith’s brainchild.

The only way for vulnerable people like Emma to avoid its debt trap is to go back into domestic degradation and abuse.

And the only conclusion we can draw is that Conservative politicians have designed the system to achieve this.

So it would be fair to say the Conservative government – and every MP who is a member of it – in league with the worst kind of physical, psychological and sexual abusers.

If they try to deny it, let them explain why they designed Universal Credit that way – and why they fight court cases to keep it that way.

Source: Domestic abuse survivor speaks out about Universal Credit nightmare

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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‘Overwhelming majority’ of rapists going free because of collapse in prosecutions

The “overwhelming majority” of rapists are walking free because of a collapse in prosecutions in England and Wales, campaigners have warned.

Only 1.5 per cent of almost 55,300 rapes recorded by police in 2019 saw a suspect charged, down from 7 per cent four years before.

An alliance of women’s groups attempted to launch a legal challenge accusing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of changing its practices,  but were refused permission by the High Court in March.

On Tuesday, they published testimonies from complainants, statistical analysis, a CPS whistleblower’s allegations and other evidence from the case.

Some of these testimonies need to be read to be believed. Try this:

A woman who alleged that a man had raped her at gunpoint was told in a CPS letter that the weapon “was not a serious threat” during the alleged attack, and that the man may have thought she consented.

Who wrote that? They should go into the dock alongside the alleged rapist, as an accessory to the crime.

In a separate case, a gay woman who said she was raped by a man was accused of “engaging with the defendant” before the attack. Charges against a suspect, who was caught on CCTV, were dropped.

So there’s video evidence against this person but they weren’t charged because someone said the victim “engaged” with them. What does that even mean?

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) has accused the CPS of dropping a “merits-based approach” credited with increasing the number of rape prosecutions, but officials said they had not.

The High Court refused permission for a judicial review of the plummeting prosecutions, saw EVAW has appealed, and has raised more than £80,000 via crowdfunding to back the action.

That seems like an appeal worth supporting.

Here’s the web address.

Source: ‘Overwhelming majority’ of rapists going free because of collapse in prosecutions, campaigners warn | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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