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.”
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…
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.
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.
Now all of these rights are at risk – which of them do you want to lose? Which do you want other people to lose?
Would you like suspected foreign criminals to be deported without conviction in court?
Would you like to go to prison for crimes you were merely suspected of without being found guilty?
If your answers to those questions are different you’re falling for the propaganda.
Home secretary Priti Patel even stands by a system of immigration that would have excluded her own parents who were kicked out of Uganda during Idi Amin’s purges and fled here for their own safety.
She’s also presiding over the mass deportation of EU and other immigrants, many of whom have lived their entire lives, or close to their entire lives here in the UK.
Those granted leave to remain will be forced to do so under new regulations effectively making them second class citizens in the land they have always called home. Swap the word Jew for Muslim and it’s a move that could have been taken straight from Adolf Hitler’s 25 point plan.
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.
It’s very strange that the larger Brexit looms in our lives the more Brexiteers want to distance themselves from it. It’s almost as though they know it’s going to be a disaster and they don’t want to be blamed for the damage Brexit continues to do to our economy, our access to goods and our standing in the world at large.
Four years ago it was all hunky dory.
That was when the Brexiteers were still calling our warnings ‘Fake news’ or ‘project fear’, despite knowing all about Dominic Cummings dirty tricks and Boris’ lies on the side of the bus.
Even last year they still kept up the pretence…
Remember how we held all the cards and the EU would give us a better deal even than its own members were getting?
And now they’re even lying about anyone saying there’s an oven ready deal in the first place.
It’s fascinating how these giants of intellectualism, these Eton and Dulwich college educated men of the people, these wealthy gents with their even more wealthy backers who want nothing more than to help out the working man have forgotten almost everything they once said about Canada deals, Norway deals, Sweden deals and even Australian deals (that last one is really just no deal, by the way).
Even my own MP, former UKIP candidate and now tory MP, Mark Jenkinson seems desperate to move away from his hardline, no deal past.
Despite joining the ERG, the tory backbench extreme Brexit pressure group just 5 days after being elected he now claims that he has never been a member. The chairman of the ERG, Steve Baker actually lists Jenky in the roll of new members in the press. Jenky’s own twitter feed displayed a picture of his at the ERG meeting on 17th December 2019. A picture that appeared in the press shortly after.
Well… seeing is believing, Jenky.
So why Are you trying to distance yourself from the hardline, no deal Brexit you always wished for? Is it because you’re finally beginning to understand the dire consequences that we Remainers have been warning you about for years? Is it because you finally realise the damage you’ve already done to our economy and to the electorate in one of the country’s hardest hit areas by voting for this awful nonsense?
Are you that desperate to make someone else take the blame that you’re walking away from your success so quickly now that you’re getting what you wanted?
And remember, Jenky… and all the rest of you sleazy tories who voted to impoverish your fellows just so you could make a quick profit. This really is what you’ve worked so hard for and we will not forget it.
Months ago I warned about the government’s eugenicist agenda. It was all the way back in early May when the whole, sordid story became clear. The British government didn’t cause Covid but it has certainly been very opportunistic about getting rid of the country’s ‘useless eaters’.
Have a look at my post and video from 6 months ago and compare it with developments since..
Once again I find myself making an offer to my MP, Mark Jenkinson. I do this periodically when he makes outrageous and damaging statements about issues dear to me. Issues such as nursing, education, the economy, the Tory vote to abandon lone children in the camps at Calais for example.
Jenkinson’s the one with the symbolically accurate imagery of a nice plush office for him and a tatty, neglected union flag to stand for the rest of us. It’s easy to see where his priorities are.
This time I’m taking Jenky on about hungry children, if he has the bottle to face a constituent who wants him actually to justify his appalling cruelty. The offer is simple.
Let’s debate, (formally or otherwise) Jenkinson’s and the Tory party’s decision to deny free meals to qualifying children over the Christmas break, children whose parents have already suffered massive financial damage due to Covid and who clearly need help to feed their families.
Let’s discuss this over Skype, Mark.
Let’s both record the discussion to ensure there’s no dodgy editing.
Let’s both be free to post the discussion (with commentary and ‘right to reply’) wherever we like.
As ever, you know how to find me, Mark. contact me via this website, by Email or if you like, since your little helper, Adrian ferreted out my postal address you can even write to me.
On Wednesday night the Conservative MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson, faced a Test of Character. In these difficult times, low paid and poor families are struggling more than ever to make ends meet. Many people have already lost their jobs, redundancies are on the rise and there will be worse to come. Many have seen their incomes reduced initially to 80% and now to 67% while being on furlough.
Loss of earnings will obviously hit hardest for the lowest paid and most vulnerable in our society. With winter coming many families will face hard decisions about what they must go without in order to get by (if indeed it is actually possible for them to get by). Official figures for child poverty in this country have risen by 600,000 while the Conservatives have been in power. Figures have surged by 100,000 in just the last year (no doubt the covid-19 crisis has played a significant part in this).
Recognising this situation, the Labour Party proposed a motion in Parliament to extend a scheme to provide free meals (to qualifying children) in non-term times until next Easter. It is a very modest, short-term measure. Surely not much to ask??
During the 2019 election campaign (and since), Mark Jenkinson, made much around the ‘levelling up’ soundbyte. He inferred that he would personally support policies that reduce the massive wealth disparities in this country by bettering the lives of people at the very bottom of the economic pile. This is indeed much needed given the brutal attack on the welfare system during the last 10 years of Conservative austerity that has seen the incomes of the poorest reduce but incomes of the richest increase.
So, given an opportunity to support even the most modest ‘levelling up’ scheme, you’d think, if sincere, that he would be a fervent supporter?However, on Wednesday, Mark Jenkinson, was briefed by his party leadership on what to say, what to think and how to vote on the amendment. Mark Jenkinson obediently voted against the motion that would have brought some small relief to struggling families. In justification; on Wednesday night he merely posted verbatim from his party briefing diktat. On Thursday he merely shared a ridiculous and inaccurate post by the extreme right wing MP, Ben Bradley.
Mark Jenkinson has no words of his own to justify his hypocrisy in voting against the extension of free school meals.
So, here it was; A Test of Character. Mark Jenkinson had a straightforward choice. To vote in the interests of those he claimed that he would support. Or to obediently, docilely follow orders.
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!
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.
Back in early June I told you about Faculty AI, the firm run by Dominic Cummings’ mates and the inexplicably large contracts this relatively small company has received. I told you about their role in the vote leave campaign and their links to dodgy tech companies such as Palatine who ride roughshod over the privacy and civil liberties of internet users.
Today The Guardian published more information about one of those contracts. Actually the same one I spoke about in June. The doomed track and trace app that never worked but that we paid Faculty AI £400,000 for anyway.
What it did achieve, as well as making money for its government minister shareholder, Theodore Agnew was to track conversations on social media. Nowt to do with track and trace but lots to do with a cynical government spying upon its citizens conversations. This part of the contract was redacted when the news first broke which is why I didn’t tell you about it 2 months ago. But now, following legal pressure and questions asked in the House of Lords, an unredacted version was published. This unredacted version reveals what Faculty was really up to on behalf of the British government.
To put this into a context it’s worth remembering that Faculty AI is run by people who were involved in the vote leave campaign’s use of Cambridge Analytica to spy on citizens’ internet messaging and send targeted misinformation to select groups of social media users. The company director’s brother also worked with Cummings on the tory party election campaign in 2019 – of course there’s no reason to assume there was any wrongdoing or sneakiness there.
Boris’ diehard supporters will, of course point out that governments have monitored citizens for years and they’d be right. Governments often use covert surveillance to monitor those suspected of serious crime – following court judgements giving them permission to do so because the case for public safety outweighs the case for personal privacy.
There’s no way that public safety can reasonably be used to justify covert surveillance of the British population to provide political advantage to the most corrupt government this country has seen since the 19th century.