Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

Although the massive Tory majority secured by Dominic Cummings in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election has made it possible for the Johnson/Cummings Government to radically dismantle our democracy by easily voting toxic Bills into UK Law it does not mean that the opposition should abstain from bothering to vote at all. All of the opposition MPs were voted into office to do a vitally important job, holding this rabid Tory Government to account, not sit on their hands. While the public have been understandably distracted by Johnson’s shambolic smorgasbord of Covid 19 ‘tiered’ shutdown restrictions, several extremely damaging pieces of legislation have been raced through the Commons at breakneck speed preparing the way for the impending solidification of the Dictatorship after crash-out Brexit. The Trojan horse now leading the Labour Party in the wrong direction Starmer may have used the order to abstain on the CHIS Spycops Bill as an excuse to purge every last vestige of left leaning support from front bench positions.

It is clear that some who wanted to vote felt compelled to hang on or risk Labour losing all of the hard won progressive influence gained over the past few years of enlightenment, but it is not a good look and other political parties decisively put Labour to shame over the vote on this controversial Bill that will seriously endanger us all if it can’t be significantly amended in the Lords. The LabourList Article entitled, “34 Labour MPs break whip to oppose ‘spycops’ bill as seven frontbenchers quit,” reveals who took a stand on the vital issue of our Human Rights. Author Sienna Rodgers names “34 Labour MPs including seven opposition frontbenchers have broken the party whip today by voting against the covert human intelligence sources (criminal conduct) bill at third reading in the House of Commons. The government-proposed legislation, which authorises criminal conduct by bodies such as police forces to enable their work, was approved by MPs with 313 votes in favour and 98 against including the SNP and Lib Dems.”

Rodgers notes, “The 34 Labour rebels, plus suspended Claudia Webbe, were nearly all from the left of the party.16 were elected for the first time last year. Geraint Davies, not on the Labour left, also defied the whip. The opposition party had whipped its representatives to abstain on the bill on the basis that the legislation is ‘far from perfect’ yet ‘necessary’ due to ‘the need to provide a clear lawful framework for the use of human intelligence sources’. Dan Carden resigned from the shadow Treasury team this morning in a letter to Keir Starmer, which described the third reading vote as a ‘matter of conscience’ on a bill that ‘sets dangerous new precedents’. Shadow education minister Margaret Greenwood also broke the whip. She was appointed as a member of Rebecca Long-Bailey’s team, but the leadership candidate was replaced by Kate Green after being sacked by Starmer.”

Rodgers reports that, “Parliamentary private secretaries Nav Mishra, Kim Johnson, Mary Foy and Rachel Hopkins – all members of the Socialist Campaign Group – have also quit the frontbench to vote against, plus Sarah Owen, usually thought of as ‘soft left’. Both Mishra and Johnson were PPSs of Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner. Foy was PPS to Andy McDonald, Hopkins PPS to Marsha de Cordova and Owen was appointed Rachel Reeves’ PPS earlier this month. LabourList understands that Starmer met with MPs personally this week to urge them not to break the whip on the so-called ‘spycops’ bill, after concerns expressed over the abstention plans were not confined to SCG members. Sam Tarry did not resign today although he was expected to do so. LabourList understands that the decision was made not to quit after Starmer made a number of ‘concessions’ in a private meeting of MPs that was pivotal.”

Rodgers reveals that, “A source on the Labour left said: “This afternoon a number of frontbenchers on Labour’s left, including Andy McDonald, Imran Hussain, Rachael Maskell, Cat Smith, Marsha de Cordova, Alex Sobel, Sam Tarry and Charlotte Nichols – took the collective decision to stay on the frontbench and use their roles to ensure the left has a stronger voice in future party policy.
‘They were also given clear assurances by the leader that the party will use its position to push forward union issues, and have more high-profile campaigning using opposition time from next week onwards’.”
The problem with Keir Starmer’s clear assurances is that he has already demonstrated that he is not a man of his word and cannot really be trusted much more that our hapless PM. He made strong commitments to Labour Party members during the leadership contest that he would maintain the progressive agenda of the left, but the second he took control he stressed his ‘new Leadership,’ lurched to the right and ditched good policies.

In his weak pledge to play catch-up, “LabourList understands that Starmer’s commitments included a clear statement that a Labour government is committed to reforming the bill that passes in line with the party’s amendments, and meanwhile to aggressively pursue amendments in the Lords. The leader also pledged to pursue legislation on wider concerns, particularly around trade union issues such as the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, and to put forward clear commitments and campaigning actions, for example a draft bill on an Orgreave Inquiry. One senior trade union official told LabourList: ‘My understanding is that a number of Labour MPs met with Keir Starmer before the CHIS bill vote, who gave several commitments. ‘Starmer also made clear that there is no ‘abstention strategy’, and that if there are no changes to the overseas operations bill the party will vote against it at the third reading’.” I think MPs who were taken in by Starmer should know better after seeing his track record in office; he cannot be trusted.

Obviously many on the left of the Labour Party are coming to the same conclusion regarding their lack of influence moving forward. “Another trade union source, who strongly disagreed with the MPs who stayed, told LabourList: ‘The majority of the left no longer has faith that these roles carry any influence at all, and is scathing about those who chose to keep their jobs rather than back the people who put them there. In a House of Commons contribution to the debate this afternoon, referring to Neil Kinnock’s famous 1985 Labour Party conference speech, Carden said: ‘I fear my own party is being taken for a ride by this government’.”

Cardin told Rodgers, “I tell you what happens: you start with the idea that legislating for something that operates in the shadows must be a good thing. You then engage in good faith with a morally bankrupt government arguing for vital safeguards. Once that government finishes stringing you along, you end up in the perverse situation of condoning laws that ride a coach and horses through our nation’s civil liberties and could even be used against the labour movement itself’. The former shadow financial secretary also told MPs: ‘The bill is written so badly and broadly that it’s effectively a license to criminally disrupt working people taking action to support themselves, their co-workers, their families. ‘We have seen this all too often in the past. The bill paves the way for gross abuse of state power against its citizens. And in Liverpool, we have a healthy suspicion of state power because we’ve felt its damaging force too often in the past.”

Rodgers notes that, “Jeremy Corbyn highlighted the scandal of ‘spycops’ relationships with women engaging in legal activities. He said those targeted are ‘completely duped’, adding: ‘Does this bill protect women from that in the future? I think we all know the answer to that’.” She says, “Labour backbencher Stella Creasy did not vote against the bill, but raised concerns over the protection of children who become human intelligence sources and suggested the issue would likely be addressed in the House of Lords. She told MPs: ‘There may be exceptional circumstances in which a child may become an informant. It is right therefore that we have incredibly strict guidelines that put the interests of that child at heart when that happens’.”

Rodgers goes on to list all of the courageous, “34 Labour MPs who defied whip to vote against CHIS bill: Diane Abbott, Tahir Ali, Paula Barker, Apsana Begum, Olivia Blake, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler, Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Jeremy Corbyn, Geraint Davies, Mary Foy, Barry Gardiner, Margaret Greenwood, Rachel Hopkins, Kim Johnson, Ian Lavery, Clive Lewis, Tony Lloyd, Rebecca Long-Bailey, John McDonnell, Ian Mearns, Navendu Mishra, Grahame Morris, Kate Osamor, Kate Osborne, Sarah Owen, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Zarah Sultana, Jon Trickett, Mick Whitley, Nadia Whittome, Beth Winter.” The voting public need to take note of who is really on their side and remember that Corbyn has never been on the wrong side of history!

Writing collectively about several recent pieces of deeply disturbing legislation Jeremy Corbyn aired his concerns in a Tribune Article entitled, “Jeremy Corbyn: ‘It’s Time to Stand Up for Human Rights and Oppose the Spy Cops Bill’.” He warned that “By granting effective immunity to undercover agents who commit grievous crimes, today’s Spy Cops Bill places Britain alongside a global attack on human rights – and must be opposed.” He said, “The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill (CHIS) – described by campaigners as the ‘Spy Cops’ Bill – is currently being rushed through parliament and is due to be put to a vote this evening. I voted against the bill on its last reading and will do so again unless it is substantially amended.”

Corbyn elaborates by saying that, “Concerns regarding this bill have been discussed widely in recent days but it is worth restating some of the key reasons why there is such broad, growing and impressive opposition across civil society. This alliance includes Liberty, Amnesty and other human rights organisations, trade unions, peace and climate justice campaigners, anti-racist groups and many others who simply want the right to campaign on important causes without police infiltration. These concerns include – but are not limited to – the CHIS Bill allowing state agents to commit crimes to stay undercover; no limit being placed on the type of crimes they can commit, which could include murder, torture or sexual violence; allowing the committing of crimes to ‘prevent disorder’ or maintain ‘economic well-being;’ as well as the lack of a provision for innocent victims to get compensation and a lack of prior judicial authorisation to commit a crime.”

Corbyn stresses the very real danger inherent in the CHIS Bill saying, “In other words, this bill could put undercover police officers and security agents above the law, granting a range of state agencies the power to licence agents and officers to commit grave crimes. For this reason, former Labour Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald is among those to have asked why this bill does not follow the example of similar legislation in Canada in terms of excluding murder, torture and sexual violence from being legalised. Amnesty meanwhile have gone as far as to say ‘there is a grave danger that this bill could end up providing informers and agents with a licence to kill’.”

In addition Corbyn also warns, “I am also greatly concerned that as it stands this bill risks compromising and undermining legal proceedings through which victims of previous criminal conduct by undercover agents are seeking justice. Furthermore, the bill risks pre-empting the findings of the Mitting (formerly Pitchford) Inquiry into undercover policing, which was set up in 2015 to get to the truth about undercover policing across England and Wales since 1968, and to provide recommendations for the future. It came after a range of revelations and reports concerning how over forty years undercover police had infiltrated more than 1,000 political groups. These groups included trade unions, environmental campaigns, animal rights organisations and family justice campaigns including the Stephen Lawrence campaign.”

Corbyn highlights other pieces of toxic Legislation ripping through Parliament right now saying, “The CHIS Bill came to Parliament hot on the heels of discussion over the Overseas Operations Bill. The latter is also being rushed through Parliament, and it is an insult that more time has not been given to scrutinise, amend and discuss such important pieces of legislation. Myself and a number of Labour colleagues also voted against this bill, due to concerns that it both violates the rule of law and fails to protect the safety, wellbeing and rights of our military personnel. As Shami Chakrabarti has made clear, it will ‘immunise the Ministry of Defence from claims by the very veterans it has neglected and claims to want to protect.’

Referring to the Overseas Operations Bill Corbyn points out, “Of particular concern is the fact that there would be a presumption against any criminal prosecutions of soldiers five years after an incident took place – including with regard to war crimes, even though these often take far longer than five years to be discovered. The bill also denies public transparency and accountability for military interventions, which is a serious matter considering the UK’s record in this area over recent decades. Liberty have therefore argued that if the Overseas Operations bill becomes law it will result in the effective decriminalisation of torture and many other breaches of the Geneva Convention.”

Corbyn warn that, “These two bills come within a context of a potentially massive rolling back of our human rights under the Tories. In 2018, Tory MPs voted down including the European Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law after Brexit. Then their 2019 manifesto argued for ‘updating’ the Human Rights Act, which is cited in many judicial review cases brought by charities and NGOs against government policies, and also ensures that the European Convention on Human Rights is part of UK law. There have been reports this year of a growing mood within the Conservative Party to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Court of Human Rights as a follow-up to Brexit, and it is well known that Dominic Cummings and other prominent Tories have called for a referendum on this issue. It is clear from recent developments around Brexit that this government is prepared to break international law if it fits with its political priorities.”

Corbyn rightly claims that, “All of this will also damage our reputation on a global scale – meaning that our condemnation of human rights abuse elsewhere will inevitably stand for very little. It will lining Britain up with extreme right-wing administrations that show little regard for human rights, following in the footsteps of Donald Trump in the US, Modi in India and Bolsonaro in Brazil. It is a threat to us all when our rights are curtailed. Now is the time to stand up for our core Labour values of human rights and civil liberties and against this Government’s divisive, dangerous reactionary political agenda and attempts to follow Trump in to stoking up a ‘culture war’.” Do we really want to join this band of rogue states?

I have now seen the full tally of who voted against the CHIS Spycops Bill and who followed the Captain of Capitulation’s order to abstain. It was truly shocking to see how many Labour MPs disgraced themselves while all other opposition party MP took a stand. Despite early protestations only one Tory voted against the Bill. Presumably other Tories would have worried they would just be thrown out of the Party for voting with their conscience: this is the very epitome of Dictatorship. Starmer will have felt he won a victory in his fight to curtail the influence of the progressive Left; his ‘new Leadership’ threat is on course to eradicate all the fine policy shifts of the Corbyn years. Starmer has secured his own dictatorship against the will of the membership and the Party faithful must fight back hard to get rid of him. The Covert 2019 Rigged Election didn’t just give the Tories a majority to exploit, it eliminated any viable opposition. We must Investigate the result, expose the truth to delegitimize and remove Starmer and the Tories. DO NOT MOVE ON!