Did we all blink and miss the mainstream news coverage of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s new Bill to kill political protest in the UK – and harass minorities – passing its final stages in the House of Commons?
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sailed through its Third Reading on July 5, meaning it will now go to the House of Lords for consideration before being passed into law.
When it is passed into law, it will seriously harm our freedoms in the following ways (as detailed previously on This Site):
The Conservatives are ending your right to protest.
The new law allows police to arrest anybody for putting on a political demonstration that is noticed by anybody else.
There’s no point in protesting if you’re not allowed to make enough noise for other people to notice it, of course.
The move has been interpreted – correctly – as an attempt to head off protests against the Conservatives’ planned political changes that will alter the UK from being a democracy (albeit a not-very-progressive one) into a full-blown dictatorship.
The Tories are giving the police huge new powers of oppression
The example I used was the new power to arrest travellers – not for committing a crime, but on suspicion that they might do so in the future. This comes with a power to confiscate their homes.
Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is full of similar increases of oppression, against people in all parts of the UK’s society, we’re told.
The Conservatives are continuing to turn a blind eye to crimes against women – especially if they are committed by the police
Hate crime is the trademark of Conservative governments in the UK since 2010. They have stirred up hatred against migrant workers; they’ve stirred it up against people with long-term illnesses and disabilities. Their new Police Bill will stir up more hate against minorities, while failing to protect more than half the population from crime.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sets the penalty for attacking a statue at 10 years imprisonment. That is twice as long a term as the starting-point sentence for rape.
The strategy for getting the Bill passed is simple, childish, and therefore oft-repeated; the offensive measures are mixed in with measures that would create a genuine improvement*.
It is a strategy that the Tories plan to repeat with their forthcoming Bill to increase NHS privatisation.
The premise is simple: anybody opposing the Bill because it attacks our freedoms is accused of opposing the useful measures instead.
Want to see it in action?
The Tories launched a series of infographics into the social media on July 5, after Labour voted against the Police anti-protest Bill. Here’s how they describe Labour’s behaviour:
— Conservatives (@Conservatives) July 5, 2021
They also used this:
Labour hit back with this:
Breaking: Labour asked the Government to increase minimum sentences for rape.
The Conservatives voted against it. pic.twitter.com/0xjYlgHvOQ
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) July 5, 2021
I wonder how many people even noticed.
Your legal rights were voted away behind a smokescreen of reasonable policies and it wasn’t reported at all by the mainstream press.
And this is all the Labour Party produced to attack what happened.
Don’t get me wrong; the failure to increase minimum sentences for rapists is important (although possible less important than the failure to secure any sentences at all for most of them?) but the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains much more material that is just as evil.
But nobody could be bothered to explain it to the public beyond a couple of infographics that didn’t even touch all the main issues.
*Of course a reasonable and responsible approach would be to separate out the measures that would win Parliament-wide approval and discuss the offensive material separately. But that would require our elected members to behave like adults – and that is well beyond Boris Johnson’s capabilities.
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