legalised oppression & the power of boycott

“There will be people who will have seen scenes of protests and asked, ‘Why aren’t the government doing something?’ The answer, in many cases, may simply be that we live in a democratic, free society.”

Theresa May, House of commons, July 2021

Today’s the anniversary of a crime. A terrible, heinous, unspeakable act that tore at the very fabric, of the society in which it was committed. An apparently lone criminal, in the most brazen way imaginable broke a law and a tradition that had existed for 55 years among the fine, upstanding citizens of Montgomery, Alabama in the good old US of A.

So what was this unspeakable act, this depraved antisocial behaviour that resonates across the miles and the years? Who was the criminal who on this day, December 1st 1955 set in train a series of events that would shake America – well, part of America to it’s bigoted, racist, ignorant core?

The criminal’s name was Rosa Parks and the act that would forever guarantee her fame was simple. Rosa Parks sat on a bus, on a seat reserved for white people – and that was against the law.

Sometimes it’s necessary to break truly unjust laws. Sometimes our very liberty depends upon it.

This session the UK government is taking the new police, crime, sentencing and courts bill through Parliament. It’s currently nearing the end of its passage through the Lords and is likely to become law very soon as there’s little chance of Boris’ sycophantic back-benchers opposing it. Among other erosions of civil liberties it aims to make anti-government demonstration illegal. Really. They’re going after our right to protest now.

This, yet again, is the stuff of dictatorship. The Nazis did the same thing shortly after gaining control of the Reichstag. It’s a blow both to our individual liberties and to our collective democracy.

When debating the bill at it’s second reading last July former Home Secretary and Prime Minister, Theresa May remarked…

“There will be people who will have seen scenes of protests and asked, ‘Why aren’t the government doing something?’ The answer, in many cases, may simply be that we live in a democratic, free society.”

So my question to you is this…

Do you have as much courage as a little woman from Montgomery Alabama whose lone protest on an Alabama bus ride helped bring down a system that had been tolerated for far too long?

Rosa Parks sitting in front of a white passenger on a Montgomery bus

Patel’s press muzzle is far from pretty

The government plan is to amend the official secrets act to criminalise any reporter who effectively embarrasses the government. It means that anyone who publishes stuff like Hancock’s extra-marital kiss could face up to 14 years in prison.

“Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.”

(George Orwell)

The reach of the act will cover anyone from journalists to bloggers, to keyboard warriors on Facebook and you don’t even need to have signed the act to be liable. But it gets worse. Click the video link below to watch a 6 minute video explanation of this appalling new proposal…

Patel’s plan to oppose free speech is straight out of Hitler’s 25 point plan

“A free press is one of the pillars of democracy”

(Nelson Mandela)

Judicial review reviewed

Yesterday a regular commenter on my YouTube channel pointed out that the government had agreed to abide by the ECHR and the Human Rights Act as part of the Brexit deal. This is true but, as a 5 minute google search showed, not without its caveats. Hardly surprising given the frequency with which this government of chancers breaks its international agreements. This country is already in breach, generally as a result of government policy of nearly every one of the 14 convention rights and there are plans to renege upon even more as I speak.

This morning’s article from the BBC news website, underlines the point beautifully…

This is a little nuanced and it will take a bit of explaining but there is a loophole which the government is relying upon to sidestep the convention. The conditions that apply to allow this are…

Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights allows countries to derogate (effectively put to one side) other articles of the convention in times of emergency. This was accepted into the UK legal system by the judicial chamber of the House of Lords in 1966. The conditions that allow this are very limited. They are…

  • in time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation;
  • only to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation;
  • any derogations may not be inconsistent with the State’s other obligations underinternational law;

In reforming the Human Rights Act, the British legislation mirroring the ECHR, the government is relying upon article 15 (the right to derogate) to create laws that are incompatible with European human rights. Since the British courts are bound to apply British law all they can do is issue a ‘Declaration of incompatibility’ and give leave to appeal to a higher court. Of course, the only court able to issue a contrary ruling would be the European court in Strasbourg and the route there was long and arduous even before Brexit.

As the BBC article points out…

“The government is pressing ahead with plans to limit how the public can legally challenge official decisions, despite fears it will damage justice.”

This attack on judicial review of government decisions, together with Boris’ enabling act which I described in an earlier video – click the little icon above to watch that one – takes us another step forward in our country’s relentless march toward dictatorship.

To quote again from the BBC article…

Critics call it an attempt to stop scrutiny of bad decisions.

“Judicial review most famously led to the Supreme Court’s judgement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson unlawfully closed down Parliament ahead of Brexit.

Any decision taken by a public body can be challenged in a judicial review before a High Court judge – and the power is used daily to examine whether officials are following the laws set by Parliament governing their work.

Recent examples include a challenge to exam grades being set by algorithms in England – the threat of which contributed to a government U-turn – and the blocking of the release of the so-called “black-cab rapist” John Worboys.”

They’re even providing a way to give wrongdoers a free pass, even when found guilty of existing law, potentially preventing anyone who has been wronged by the government from achieving appropriate legal remedy. This breaches articles 6, 7 and 13 of the ECHR as well as opening the door to breaches of every other part of the Convention in the process.

The result of all this, for the first time in living memory will be a government that is beyond scrutiny, that cannot meaningfully be challenged in court and that has already given itself the power to enact new legislation without reference to parliament or anyone else.

On one occasion they did this at 15 minutes to midnight the day before a new offence came into force, leaving no time for anyone to become familiar with their obligations before committing a brand new crime. This was the law, issued in September 2020, that limited drinkers to groups of 6 but allowed fox-hunters (itself ostensibly illegal in most circumstances) and grouse-shooters to meet in whatever size group they wished. Pub-goers and restaurant patrons faced £100 fines and a criminal record without notice the very next day.

Stephanie Boyce is president of the law society. Her judgement on the new legislation was…

“There is a great deal here that should ring alarm bells for people who come up against the might of the state”

Once again the Johnson regime is dragging our long-standing, traditional and internationally respected democracy over the coals and the outcome will not be pretty.

Nazi Britain: a warning from history part 4

If you’re still unconvinced of Boris Johnson’s gradual Nazification of Britain then this final part of the film provides evidence not only of the parallels with Hitler but the way that the Johnson government continues to attack our rights and freedoms. Johnson is a dictator in the making and the nature of that dictatorship is far from benign.

But there is hope. Watch to the end to hear what we can do to change this terrifying trajectory. The Tory party knows nothing of loyalty to leaders once they are seen by the public for what they really are. We can use the Tory party’s own inherent callousness to overthrow this regime before it’s too late.

The government that follows will still be tory but at least it won’t be Nazi. That might not be a perfect solution but it beats what the current government has in store for us.

Nazi Britain: a warning from history part 2 of 4

I’ve just made a pretty big claim, some might say an extraordinary claim and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Just what makes me imagine that this society, this land of my birth is becoming the very thing we opposed not only in wartime but on British streets as well?

This is the land of Cable Street, of Brick Lane where thousands of anti-fasciststook to the streets to oppose Mosley’s Blackshirts and Griffin’s National Front.

It’s the land of the Levellers, the Chartists, of Magna Carta and the Battle of Peterloo where working class artesans gathered peacefully to hear speeches against an oppressive British government and were massacred, by order of that government and the king, at swordpoint by local yeomanry and cavalry soldiers.

So, before we get too smug about our anti-fascist national credentials we should also bear in mind that in each of those other famous conflicts the police, the establishment and the government sided with the fash.

The people in power followed the money, as they often do.

And in recent years that money has been in the hands of far right donors, think tanks and agitators from Breitbart to Cambridge Analytica, from Eugenicist Dominic Cummings to disaster capitalists like Arron Banks and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Nazi Britain: a warning from history part 1 of 4

How did Adolf Hitler and his small band of National Socialists manage to take a sophisticated, developed and educated nation and turn it into a fascist state ready to march roughshod over the rights, the lives and even the existence of others?

This short film aims to answer that question, not only from a historical perspective but from a current affairs point of view too.

For over a decade now I’ve been speaking to anyone who’s prepared to listen about the path we’re on in modern UK – and not just here – across the developed world.

This isn’t about Godwin’s law, the internet trope that claims every disagreement ends with the loser accusing everyone else of Nazism. There are Nazis in UK but they’re pretty few and far between.

This is about the way that ordinary people, people who are far from Nazi are being duped by cynical provocateurs, rabble rousers and even politicians into accepting Nazi principles without even realising it.

It’s an expose – not an accusation. It’s a heartfelt plea to the millions of decent people in my beloved United Kingdom to stop for a moment, to take stock and to see where we’re headed.

Free speech: A privilege we must defend!

Many people I know and love seem very happy about the recent deplatforming of the likes of Donald Trump and some others. I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a Trump fan. But there’s a much wider issue here and it really should concern us all, especially those of us on the left who aren’t supported by the big corporations and billionaires who prop up social media platforms.

This video is quite old. It’s from the Left Eye View channel’s early days but it makes the point, I think. The relevant part begins at about 7:40.

https://youtu.be/B3vz0lWkXeE


Let me know your thoughts too.

Far right bingo card: Hang the leftie traitors

Hang the leftie traitors

This one is just priceless, coming as it does from the fash who also claim to be the guardians of freedom of speech!

Of course, we all know that of the two principles, freedom of speech and hanging political opponents it’s the latter that they really mean. But once again, they just haven’t thought it through.

If you believe in freedom of speech then you believe that the state should not intervene to limit or control peoples’ free expression of their beliefs. Since treason is a criminal act (an offence against the state) it would be up to the state to deal with traitors. That means criminalising speech.

Does that mean (of course we know it does) that when they advocate freedom of speech they only really mean freedom of speech for those who agree with them?

Does that mean anyone advocating for a non-fascist political stance is a traitor deserving of death?

Are they so afraid of opposing viewpoints that they want to make the entire country a safe space where they will never be challenged?

Fuckin’ snowflakes!

Of course this attempt to exterminate all those who disagreed with him is exactly what Hitler did. No, that’s not Godwin’s law – it’s genuinely, factually true. And how did that work out?

The best nuclear physicists went to work for the Americans.

The most efficient organisers, those with experience of running large municipal organisations along equitable lines were sent to concentration camps or murdered.

Many of their soldiers were taken up guarding many of their other potential soldiers (the German army contained many Jews and trade unionist socialists during world war 1).

The policy of excluding all this potential meant that the likes of Goerring ended up running the Luftwaffe leading to the loss of the Battle of Britain and ultimately the war. Had Britain fallen D-Day could never have happened and Europe would not have been liberated. It’s exactly what happened to the French military after the revolution. Military officers were usually aristocrats at that time and so, like all ‘aristos’, they were either executed or demoted leaving thoroughly inexperienced, newly promoted officers in their place. Naval battles like Trafalgar or the Battle of the Nile show just what an experienced officer like Nelson can achieve against such a force. Montgomery wouldn’t have stood a chance against the Desert Fox in North Africa and Normandy almost certainly wouldn’t have fallen to the Allies in 1944 had Rommell had sufficient quality officers supporting him in Libya and in Normandy. And let’s not even begin discussing the Manhattan project’s likely impact had the Allies deemed it necessary to use their new weapon on German cities the way they did in Japan.

When modern British fash advocate the death of all their political opponents they also advocate the removal of a wealth of talented people. In short they’re making the same mistake as Hitler and Robespierre. Were they ever to gain power in this country and carry out their ridiculous threat their own downfall would also be assured. They’re making enemies out of potential friends and all because of a flawed ideology that assumes some people are inherently better than others. It’s ludicrous!

But they don’t understand that either. Why not tell them?

Far right bingo card: Might is right

Might is right

The fash don’t often say this so blatantly but it’s very clearly what they mean when they offer violence to get their political way. When they talk about what they want to do to those who oppose them they clearly are drawing upon the mindset that tells them their entitlement comes from their physical strength. When gangs of swastika clad thugs terrorize the streets of UK, Europe and America they’re not inviting people to discuss policies, they’re threatening to crush all opposition.

And they have the cheek to call themselves democratic. It’s always worth pointing that out.

The usual retort is that lefties won’t talk to them. They’ll witter on about freedom of speech which is covered later in the series. A fun response is often to explain that you’re willing to talk it through with them right now… and then see if they can.

The sad fact is that most of them don’t understand the first thing about the ideology they espouse, the development of fascism and neoNazism or the manipulation of information that brought them to accept the current lies of the far right. You won’t win any contests here because the fash will almost certainly just insult you and move on but you will have demonstrated to them just how ill-equipped they are to defend their views and that’s a good start.

For those that suggest that might really is right ask them what they think about Stalin using the mighty soviet machine to kill millions of his own citizens. Then ask what they think of Hitler doing the same to millions of his own, German citizens. They’ll claim that Hitler’s targets weren’t ‘his own’ people which gives you two responses…

  1. Why does that matter?
  2. Did the socialists, trade unionists, Jews and disabled people he persecuted before the war began not have German citizenship, then?

Once again, the aim is to get them to understand that there are holes in their arguments. Many fash won’t have looked into their ideology enough to see those holes in the first place and exposing them to that fact may be the beginning of their road away from hatred.

Are we sleeping still?

I’ve always known that the tories were bad for ordinary people. I learned that as a school leaver in Thatcher’s Britain and I’ve seen nothing since to make me change my mind. But this current government is something else entirely.

Boris “Manchild” Johnson

No previous government has attacked our democracy so viciously. They’ve all used the press to manipulate the electorate and most tory governments have tried to gain unfair advantage by tampering with constituency boundaries but that’s nothing compared to this lot.

They lied about an ‘oven ready’ Brexit to gain power.

They used their majority to disempower parliament – whatever Boris say, goes because tory MPs voted to disempower Parliament itself.

They appointed an attorney-general who’s hostile to judicial review and they’re all set to disempower the courts too (in revenge for the Supreme court insisting that Boris acted legally).

They’ve used the Covid19 Pandemic as an opportunity to kill off pensioners, disabled people and poor people (those who cost most in benefits and medical/social care) whilst giving untold amounts of public money to tory donors and tory MP’s relatives to develop PPE, Track and trace or other Covid-related stuff they’ve no experience of providing.. In one case they paid out tens of thousands of pounds to a company that didn’t even exist yet. It’s little wonder we have such a high death rate – we’re supposed to have.

And then there’s Brexit. We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that any deal that doesn’t involve us remaining in the customs union will result in delays, gridlock, shortages and massively rising inflation. Just the sort of thing that Boris’ hedge-fund-managing investors want. They know all too well how to make a profit from a failing economy and a starving, desperate population.

This corrupt government keeps promising to protect the NHS but refuses to make that protection legal.

They claim to support workers’ rights but have taken working peoples’ protections out of the legally binding part of the withdrawal agreement and into the ‘aspiration’ section which is not binding.

They claim to support law and order but have clearly broken many laws both domestically and on the international stage as well.

The way these neoliberal autocrats are treating the union which seems fit to break apart any moment now seems little short of treasonous betrayal of our new dictator’s alleged ‘one nation’ ideal. Playing with fire in Northern Ireland, dragging the Scots out of Europe against their will and generally dismissing the Welsh as though they’re nothing more than children to be ordered around seems bound to backfire in time.

And all the time we’re forced to watch and wait as our people die of preventable illness, our economy is devastated by the international tariff blockades our own government created, as our people become ever more divided and our prospects ever less bright.

If ever there was a time for the British people to wake up and take note, this is it.

Dismantling democracy

Boris Johnson’s conservative government was elected on a manifesto which included fair warning that they intended to ‘overhaul’ our parliamentary processes and dismantle the checks and balances that have maintained the balance between Parliament, Government and the judiciary for generations. The motivation seems to have been the fact that the courts prevented Boris (and his predecessor, Teresa May) from introducing illegal or unacceptably sectarian measures. MPs exercised their democratic right to scrutinise and ratify (or not) Parliamentary bills that would have been profitable for a few wealthy tories but disastrous for the majority of citizens. This is why Boris Johnston wants to remove legal scrutiny from his machinations.

It’s unfortunate that so many Brits either didn’t bother to read the manifesto or brushed over that page without really noticing just what it meant. Here I’ll link to various posts outlining just how they’re going about that process and why it’s such a problem for anyone interested in fair and democratic representation of the people. But first let’s hear what two parliamentary candidates had to say about the issue at my local hustings. The labour candidate, Sue Hayman counselled caution and spoke of the importance of scrutiny whereas the conservative candidate, Mark Jenkinson clearly had a different view.

Boris Johnston wants to assume power like a dictator and simply do whatever he wants without reference to parliament or law and without having to listen to anyone who may have cause for concern. And Tory MPs apparently want to help him do it. That’s not democracy.

There’s good reason why we have those checks and balances. They prevent a plethora of evils from police states to human rights abuses. They’re not just minor inconveniences to be swept aside by egotistical overgrown children like Johnson. These are our protections and the consequences if we allow this government to tear them down will be dire.

Within a single month of taking their seats in the House of Commons, every single conservative MP voted to remove their own right to scrutinise Brexit legislation. At a stroke they disempowered parliament and in doing so guaranteed that Boris Johnston won’t need to listen to MPs or the electorate in forcing through Brexit – even under the worst of terms.

That’s not all. This unscrupulous regime is attempting to influence culture itself. They’re interfering in academic appointments and attempting to politicise every aspect of British life. From schools to museums, the message is the same. And the historical implications of that are genuinely terrifying.

Then came Covid19 and yet another excuse to disempower parliament. Boris wasted no time in deploying his majority to ban parliament from scrutinising or commenting upon laws he chose to pass in relation to the pandemic – a topic with an alarmingly wide reach as we shall see. The combination of powers relating to Coronavirus and to Brexit make Johnston dictator in all but name. The government even ignored its own scientific advisory group, SAGE, choosing instead to scapegoat the expert panelists under the distorting auspices of Dominic Cummings, eugenicist and far right sectarian who seems to be pulling Johnston’s strings like some Machiavellian puppet master straight out of renaissance Italy.

It may be that Cummings’ divisive views were the impetus behind the obvious racism inherent in the domestic abuse bill recently passed by this disgraceful tory government.

As if that’s not bad enough. The tories have also voted to remove any and all protections from our NHS. They have completely ignored their oft-repeated manifesto promise to protect the National Health Service from foreign (in particular American) private health investors. This government has quite literally paved the way for the health needs of British citizens to be sold down the river, sacrificed at the altar of corporate profit and private greed. This is not democracy!

The British people did not vote for this.

In truth, our democracy has been so damaged in just a few short months that it’s genuinely reasonable to compare UK with a banana republic, a totalitarian state in which dissent is ignored, privacy is a thing of the past, laws threaten the peoples’ right to scrutinise the powers that be and where the majority become poorer whilst the elite cabal increase their own wealth exponentially.

And if you have a Tory MP… you’re not even allowed to ask them a question!

Mark Jenkinson MP represents the people of Workington by ignoring their opinions, insulting them when they raise questions and disempowering himself, their only voice in parliament.

List of links used in chronological order…

https://lefteyeview.com/2019/12/12/workington-hustings-parliament-the-executive-and-judicial-review/

https://lefteyeview.com/2019/12/23/449/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/01/20/the-price-of-liberty/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/01/22/tories-vote-to-disempower-parliament/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/02/08/wot-still-nor-russian-report/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/02/19/conservative-constitutional-con-continues/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/03/01/further-fun-from-the-downing-st-fash/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/04/27/email-to-my-mp-about-sages-scientific-integrity/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/05/29/the-slow-death-of-british-democracy/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/06/09/dominic-cummings-the-plot-thickens/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/07/07/tories-sabotage-their-own-manifesto-promise/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/07/27/are-tory-mps-not-ashamed/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/08/03/nhs-privatisation-by-stealth/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/08/09/uk-compared-with-a-banana-republic/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/08/11/the-government-is-spying-on-you/

https://lefteyeview.com/2020/08/23/my-mp-doesnt-care-for-democracy/

UK compared with a banana republic

Imagine you had the chance to fix a corrupt regime in a banana republic somewhere in the developing world. How might you go about it? Would you use a Western democracy like the UK as a template?