Tag Archives: revoke

Government announces refusal to accept ‘Revoke Article 50’ petition, no matter how many people sign it

So much for democracy under a Conservative government.

So much for its ePetitions website, which was introduced as a huge step towards giving the people a stronger voice in government (if you can remember that long ago).

So what does the government response to the ‘Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU’ petition actually mean? Nothing at all.

The statement was released on the day the petition topped 5.8 million signatures. Although the rate at which people are signing has slowed considerably, it still seems likely that more will have signed it than voted for Brexit in the EU referendum, by the time the revised departure date of April 12 comes around.

Opponents of the petition’s aim have tried to undermine it by claiming it has been overrun by bots, foreign people signing it under the pretence of being British, and multiple signings by the same people. There is no evidence to support these claims.

As for the government’s statement – well, let us examine it.

This Government will not revoke Article 50. We will honour the result of the 2016 referendum and work with Parliament to deliver a deal that ensures we leave the European Union.

Translation: “Expect a general election soon. We are unable to deliver a deal that both Parliament and we can accept.”

It remains the Government’s firm policy not to revoke Article 50. We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.

But we know that Brexit will harm the economy – that it has already done so, thereby harming those who voted Leave and Remain alike.

Revoking Article 50, and thereby remaining in the European Union, would undermine both our democracy and the trust that millions of voters have placed in Government.

Voters put their trust in governments to lead their nations to prosperity – not ruin. We have seen that Brexit is hugely harmful to the UK economy, yet the Conservative government is determined to pitch us over that metaphorical cliff.

Therefore this statement confirms that the government does not deserve your trust.

The Government acknowledges the considerable number of people who have signed this petition. However, close to three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected. This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented. 17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.

Gosh. And if more than 17.4 million people sign the petition, that will provide the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at the UK government.

One wonders whether this statement, made at a time when the petition is one-third of the way to passing 17.4 million, has been timed to discourage people from signing.

The statement also fails to acknowledge that the question posed by the referendum was flawed, in that no attempt was made to describe the form in which the UK’s departure from the European Union would take. This failure has led to nearly three years of paralysis, with the government failing to strike a withdrawal agreement with the EU, and failing to address the “burning injustices” (as Theresa May famously described them) at home.

It fails to acknowledge that many of the three-quarters of the electorate who took part in the referendum, even though its terms were vague beyond incompetence, may have done so in the knowledge that abstaining might result in a huge national mistake.

And you should note well that the government chooses it set the referendum above the petition, even though it has denied us the opportunity to have another referendum to gauge public feeling now. In such circumstances, it seems the petition is the only avenue via which people may make their opinions felt, but the government is saying it will not take any notice of those opinions. That is not democracy.

British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

How disingenuous. The government has no way of knowing that any members of the electorate voted on the basis of the parties’ policies on Brexit. Opinion within all UK political parties is divided, as the last few months of deadlock have proved beyond any doubt.

And the electorate votes for candidates – not parties.

This Government stands by this commitment.

Even though it does not know whether the majority of the people voted to support it.

Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy. As the Prime Minister has said, failing to deliver Brexit would cause “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”, and it is imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them.

The whole farce of Brexit has already caused “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”. What else may we conclude from the fact that only seven per cent of the population consider the Conservative government to have handled this matter well?

If it really is “imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them”, then the current Conservative government has no mandate to continue.

More than 80 per cent of the population do not believe the Conservative government is capable of delivering “the best outcome for them”. Many of us do not believe the Conservative government ever tried to do so.

Based on a response like that quoted above, it seems clear that the UK electorate should demand a general election before this fiasco goes on any longer.

If the Tories are determined to fail us, it is time to seek a government that won’t.

‘Leave’ supporters heap abuse and DEATH THREATS on creator of ‘Revoke Article 50’ petition

It’s strange. Only today (March 24) I was in a dialogue with someone who was determined that all the abuse in the Brexit debate comes from remainers.

How wrong can a person be – especially on the day after Margaret Georgiadou, the woman who wrote the “Revoke Article 50” petition, revealed she has received death threats from his fellow ‘leave’ supporters.

According to iNews, she has received three death threats from people who called her on the telephone, and a torrent of abuse on Facebook that has pushed her into closing down her account with that platform.

Here are her tweets confirming it:

It seems these miserable individuals have forgotten that one person has already died because she supported remaining in the European Union – Jo Cox.

Hopefully the police will track them down and teach them the error of their ways. Threatening to kill somebody is a crime, you know.

The petition itself has now been signed by more than 5.25 million people.

Leavers like my own sparring partner are saying that it won’t have any validity, no matter how many signatures it attracts – because it isn’t another referendum. It doesn’t have to be.

All it has to do is demonstrate that enough people in the UK now disagree with the decision to leave the European Union. In this instance, “enough” is any number greater than the 17.3 million or so who voted to leave in 2016.

According to iNews (again), Brexit expert Alex de Ruyter reckons 20 million would be nearer the mark – to show a significant shift in public opinion.

Well, it’s a quarter of the way there!

In fairness, though, it’s slowing down.

But there’s a fair bit of time before any of the deadlines – the new deadlines – set for Brexit.

If you haven’t signed it yet, what are you waiting for? Don’t forget to tell al your friends.

‘Revoke Brexit’ ePetition set to beat ‘Leave’ votes at EU referendum by March 29 – IF you sign

On her way: If enough people sign this petition, it cold be the end for Theresa May.

An online petition calling on the UK government to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU is on course to be more popular than the vote to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum after it attracted more than two million signatures in 24 hours.

The petition started to gain signatures in a big way after Theresa May’s statement on Wednesday evening, in which she claimed that the people of the UK wanted her to “get on” with Brexit, stated that she was “on your side”, and tried to blame MPs for the delays that mean the UK will not leave the EU on March 29, under the miserable terms of a pathetic deal that she negotiated.

Downing Street has already stated that she believes “failing to deliver on the referendum result would be a failure of our democracy and something she couldn’t countenance”.

That means a petition with more than 17.4 million – valid – signatures will create a democratic drama for her, as failing to act on it would also be a failure of our democracy. If Theresa May decides she can countenance that, then perhaps she should retire.

The petition’s web page is currently set to update every half hour, after several resource-intensive features were disabled to stop it from crashing. The last time This Writer checked, the number of signatures was increasing by more than 100,000 on each update.

At the time of writing, it stands at more than 3,270,000.

It occurs to This Writer that the best way to get a “people’s vote” on Mrs May’s Brexit – one that she is determined to deny the electorate – is via this petition.

It is possible that people who agree with its aim may be unaware of it – or may simply feel that it won’t do any good; apathy in politics can be a brutal enemy.

If you want the will of the people to be known, I would strongly advise you to sign the petition yourself (if you haven’t already), to inform all your friends that it exists if they don’t know already, and to persuade those who do know about it but don’t think it will do any good.

Once again, you can find it here.


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Government ePetitions website crashes as thousands PER MINUTE call for Brexit to be revoked

Backfire: Theresa May’s Brexit statement proved hugely divisive (as she intended) – but with general opinion siding against her (which she probably didn’t). Open mouth, insert foot…

That’s handy, isn’t it? The government ePetitions website crashed at a time when 1,500 people per minute were trying to sign a petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked and Brexit halted.

The petition, launched about a month ago, started gaining signatures in huge numbers after Theresa May’s statement yesterday evening (March 20).

It seems signatories objected to the prime minister’s claim that members of the public want her to “get on with” Brexit, and that she is “on your side”.

It had received almost 600,000 signatures when it went down around 9am today (March 21). The site was restored by 9.40am but crashed again shortly afterwards.

Some might say the faults were fortuitous for a government that has done little over the last two years except spend huge amounts of time, effort and money trying to get us all to accept a departure from the European Union that will benefit only a tiny minority, rather than the nation as a whole.

However, at the time of writing (3pm, March 21) it is up again and showing more than one million signatures.

That’s nearly half a million signatures in six hours. Do a quick bit of maths and you’ll see that a question arises:

What if this petition tops 17.4 million signatures – totalling more people than voted for Brexit in the first place?

Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons, addressed this in the debate on her statement regarding the business of the House next week, saying: “Should the petition reach more than 17.4 million signatures, there would be a very clear case for taking action.”

So it seems the general public could have a final say on Brexit after all?

For clarity, if you would like to sign the petition, please visit the government website here.

POLL: Was Javid justified in revoking Shamima Begum’s citizenship?

Shamima Begum: Citizenship revoked.

Let’s answer the question straight away; I’ll come clean with my opinions below but I would appreciate it if you would respond to the poll with your own, uncoloured by anything I state.

For clarity: Home Secretary Sajid Javid has revoked Shamima Begum’s UK citizenship. It seems he has done this in line with the Nationality Act 1981 and government guidance from 2017, stating that Mr Javid has the power to order the deprivation if it would be “conducive to the public good”, as long as they are not left without any citizenship. It is believed to be possible that Ms Begum has dual citizenship as her family is of Bangladeshi origin.

Here’s the poll. Notice there are only two possible answers; I’m asking for a clear result:

This has proved an extremely divisive, emotive subject.

I have been accused of racism, extreme right-wing political views, of seeking the death of an unborn child, of supporting the grooming of children and more – all on the basis of absolutely no factual information at all.

Demands that Ms Begum must have been a victim of grooming collapse when one realises they are based on a comment by former chief of counter-terrorism policing, Sir Mark Rowley, who “suggested that she might be treated as a victim of grooming”. There’s a lot of “maybe” in that sentence!

Regarding the claims of racism, I have just been through both my previous articles  – one is here and the other can be found here – and can find no reference to race at all.

Nor can I find reference to extreme right-wing views. Concern for the protection of innocent people wasn’t extremism, last time I checked.

As far as I can tell, the claim that I wanted an unborn child to die was based entirely on the belief that if Ms Begum’s baby was born in the refugee camp that is her current home, it would die. Events have overtaken people who put forward that opinion, as it has been born there and is alive and well.

This fact renders another part of the argument irrelevant: Ms Begum had requested that she be returned to the UK for NHS medical treatment to help her give birth to the child and this is no longer an issue. She would have been ineligible for that treatment in any case, as NHS care for UK citizens is based on residence and she has not been in the UK for around four years.

That leaves us with the question of whether, as a UK citizens, Ms Begum should be returned to face justice and/or rehabilitation – be returned to society.

I have written at length on this in the other two articles, but it may be worth addressing the argument many have used – that hundreds of other UK citizens who have defected to IS in the past have been allowed to come back. This may be true, but Mr Javid has said more than 100 people of dual nationality have been deprived of their UK citizenship after travelling abroad in support of terrorist groups. This number includes two British men who had been accused of being members of an IS cell dubbed “The Beatles”.

The issue is whether these people may pose a risk to citizens of the UK if they come back.

I have already quoted the head of MI6, who pointed out that Ms Begum may present a threat to people in the UK if she returns and that a “very significant level of resource” would be required to ensure public safety.

He said: “We are very concerned about this because all experience tells us that once someone has been put in that sort of position, or put themselves in that sort of position, they are likely to have acquired the skills or connections that make them potentially very dangerous.”

We know that Ms Begum is unrepentant about her own actions and seems still to support IS, its aims and methods.

A prime purpose of a country’s government is the protection of the people. It is clear that the government could argue successfully against bringing a known terrorist sympathiser back into this country from a foreign land, in order to protect the population in general.

It is impossible to prove that bringing this person back to the UK is not deliberately putting UK citizens in harm’s way. That is a risk that no UK government minister may take – especially after Salman Ramadan Abedi – the Manchester Arena suicide bomber.

For those reasons – paramount being the protection of UK citizens – I have to say the decision is justified.

POSTSCRIPT: As I have been typing this, the BBC’s Newsnight has been discussing this issue, and I have been glad to see a series of experts telling presenter Kirsty Wark exactly what I have been saying in this article. Your opinion may be different – we’ll find out in the results of the poll – but after the storm of hostility I’ve had for even covering this story, the support is welcome. Catch it on iPlayer if you can.


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Windrush: Yet again the Tories have lied as British people are being refused citizenship after all

The Empire Windrush arrives in the UK, loaded with immigrants from the Caribbean, in 1948. Little did these people know they would be hounded out of the country by a Tory govenrment that destroyed all the legal proof of their citizenship.

Sajid Javid has proved himself as much a liar and a racist as Theresa May and Amber Rudd before him – and that the Conservative government’s “hostile environment” policy is as vicious as ever.

On Friday, September 21 – at the end of a week in which the news agenda was overloaded with Theresa May’s failure to convince EU representatives of her Brexit plan – Mr Javid quietly put out a press release stating that members of the so-called “Windrush generation” who had committed criminal offences would not be granted UK citizenship, in spite of previous assurances that all Windrush citizens would.

Of course, it is entirely possible that, due to the “hostile environment” policy, some of these people may have committed criminal offences, simply to survive:

Worse still, he added that those who were not granted citizenship would be allowed to stay in the UK only if they could provide proof of residency.

But didn’t the Tories destroy such proof when they took office in 2010? Yes they did.

And just to make matters as bad as possible, Mr Javid said refusals would also be issued to those who had applied for documentation from abroad but been found to be ineligible, as they were not able to provide sufficient evidence that they were settled in the UK before 1 January 1973.

Windrush citizens are supposed to be afforded the same rights as every other British citizen – because they are British citizens, courtesy of the British Nationality Act 1948; they were awarded citizenship after they arrived – so the announcement has led to renewed accusations that they are effectively second-class.

These people had a legal right to come to the UK, so they neither needed nor were given any documents upon entry to the UK, nor following changes in immigration laws in the early 1970s.

It is a betrayal of people who rebuilt the UK after World War II.

Mr Javid said refusal decisions were only taken after “substantial assurance” had taken place and said individuals could request a free review of the decision if they disagree.

But legal experts told The Independent the absence of independent legal advice and a proper appeal route to those refused made it “impossible to know whether these decisions were fair or not”.

Mr Javid’s decision to rescind the citizenship of a whole generation of people who are legally British, on the grounds that they do not have documentation to prove that citizenship because the Tories destroyed it, is as racist now as it was when Theresa May put it into practice and Amber Rudd continued it.

It is all the more shocking from him, though, as he is himself a member of the black and minority ethnic (BAME) community.

The decision has been met with widespread condemnation, despite the attempt to hide it on a heavy news day:

https://twitter.com/ShehabKhan/status/1043207848627515393

After all the assurances – including those from arch-racist Theresa May that her government would provide restitution to the Windrush people it had wronged, there is only one way to take this:

That’s right. The Windrush citizens – most of whom are probably the salt of the Earth – are being hounded out of the country by the scum of the Earth.

How many more chances are we going to give the Tories to make this scandal worse while lying through their teeth about it?

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Hidden plan for ministers to axe laws that protect you – with a penstroke

Gone in a penstroke: If the Deregulation Bill becomes law, Acts of Parliament that protect your freedom could be removed from the statute book at a minister's whim.

Gone in a penstroke: If the Deregulation Bill becomes law, Acts of Parliament that protect your freedom could be removed from the statute book at a minister’s whim.

I have spent much of today putting old paperwork through the shredder in advance of tomorrow’s debate on the Deregulation Bill.

Why? Hidden among the plans to revoke ancient laws regulating pigsties is a clause that revokes the freedom of the press – in particular, the freedom of journalists to protect their sources.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats don’t want reporters to be able to protect political whistleblowers and the information they release from state harassment and confiscation.

Vox Political has long warned that the Coalition government was pushing us towards totalitarianism, and that is exactly what this apparently innocuous – but in fact deeply pernicious – piece of legislation proves.

We’ve had the gagging law, to silence organised dissent; we know that police chiefs want to use water cannons to stifle public protest; now we are faced with a cloak-and-dagger scheme to silence the press.

The removal of these privileges means the media will be unable to report anything that does not meet government approval – or face confiscation of equipment including computers, notebooks, recordings and correspondence that will lead to the identification of people who provide information that the government wants hushed up.

As a blogger who is also a qualified journalist, this directly affects me – and that is why I have been destroying paperwork. Tomorrow is only the Bill’s second reading – it must go through the committee stage, report stage and third reading before moving on to the House of Lords – but it is better to be well-prepared than to be caught napping.

Far more insidious than this, however, is the other part of this ‘red tape-cutting’ Bill that goes unmentioned. The really harmful part…

The part that says ministers should have the power to revoke any law they like, using statutory instruments (at the stroke of a pen) rather than taking the issue to a democratic vote in Parliament and, you know, actually telling anybody about it.

This means freedoms we have enjoyed for centuries-  or just a few years – could be removed with no prior notice, under the pretext of getting rid of ‘red tape’.

We would certainly be living in a police state if this were allowed to happen.

So here’s the big question: Do you think your MP even knows about this?

I only know because I read it on Another Angry Voice – from which site this article has swiped much of its information.

In his article, AAV creator Thomas G. Clark points out: “The Tories that devised this scheme… are clearly relying on the vast majority of Coalition MPs voting this through as the whips instruct them, without bothering to even read the documentation, understand the intricacies or even participate in the debate.

“If you chose to ignore the wealth of evidence and refuse to believe that David Cameron and the Tories would use these new powers to… stamp out dissent for their own sociopathic reasons, then at least consider the possibility that they are enabling the possibility of an unimaginably invasive totalitarian regime in the future. One where open justice is abolished, the population permanently monitored for signs of dissent, and dissenters are silenced in secretive Stalinist style legalistic proceedings.”

Obviously AAV and Vox Political will be right in the firing-line if this happens.

You need to contact your MP and ask what they’re going to do about this appalling assault on your freedom. Tell them about the clauses in the Deregulation Bill that have nothing to do with removing archaic regulations and everything to do with clamping down on your freedom and tell them in no uncertain terms that you won’t have it.

It’s a good bet that they won’t know what you’re talking about. Clause 47 relates to the press, as this Guardian report and this article from Inforrm’s blog make clear.

I believe Clause 51, and those following, relate to the repeal of laws by statutory instrument.

You can find contact details for your MP on TheyWorkForYou.com

If you get an email off to them quickly, there might even be a chance to nip this in the bud.

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