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

At a critical moment when our democracy is under the most horrendous Fascist authoritarian assault there was a truly shocking Media blackout where the headlines continued a tireless distraction of the public with obsessive ‘Royal Handyfloss.’ In the London Economic Article entitled “The government just voted to curtail our ability to protest, and the papers have ignored it,” Jack Peat warns that we should be very seriously alarmed. He says that “The scariest part about living under Orban was ‘when the silence came. The newspapers stopped criticizing and the protests stopped happening.’ Ian Dunt compared Britain’s political environment to that of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary in a tweet posted last night, saying that while we are ‘not there yet’, the intention to ‘silence and then criminalize dissent is now very clear’. MPs voted the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill through with a majority of 96 in the House of Commons at the second reading, despite it being described as legislation that would ‘make a dictator blush’.”

Peat informs us that “The new bill will increase the police’s power to crack down on peaceful protests, with campaigners warning that the government is seeking to ‘silence dissent. David Lammy, the shadow secretary of state for justice, seemed to delve to the heart of the matter in a blistering speech given ahead of the vote. He said: ‘The truth … is (the Government) is introducing these measures because it dislikes Black Lives Matter, because it hates Extinction Rebellion, because both tell too many hard truths’.Despite the Bill having significant ramifications on the UK’s democracy it failed to appear on any of today’s front pages in the press. Six national newspapers, including the Mail, Express and Metro, focussed on the Royal Family instead as the Duke of Edinburgh was released from hospital and the Harry and Meghan scandal shows no sign of quieting down.”

Peat reports that “As Dunt tweeted, the scariest part about living under Orban was ‘when the silence came’. The ‘newspapers stopped criticizing and the protests stopped happening’.” In another Tweet he made the point “This is a law enforcing the silencing of protestors. But the most alarming thing about it was not its provisions. It was the silence from ministers about what it contained and the silence from Tory backbenchers about their duty to scrutinize it. I keep thinking back to this thing that a Hungarian journalist told me about living under Orban. ‘That the scariest part was when the silence came, when the newspapers stopped criticizing and the protests stopped happening. That’s when you knew you were fucked good and proper’.”

In the Labour List Article entitled “The authoritarianism of this government is clear. Here’s how we challenge it,” Clive Lewis offers warnings and encouragement for us to fight back. Lewis said “How often have we heard the notion that somehow liberty is an integral part of the English character? That we fortunate few in this country are somehow different from the rest of humanity. Not for us authoritarianism, or autocracy, or god forbid the dark slide into fascism. No, that’s for other people. Other countries. Not us. Well, today, in the second reading debate on the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, we grappled yet again, with yet another bill from this government stripping the people of this country of yet more liberty and more of their democratic rights. English exceptionalism is a dangerous fallacy. None more so than when it comes to the constant vigilance required of any democracy. It’s hubris of the first order, one I fear has infected the government.”

Lewis warned of “The potential for a slide into authoritarianism and worse is, as history has clearly demonstrated, part of the human condition. That is the painful and bloody lesson we must learn from the 20th century.” He said “Yet here we are, with this bill before us. It is the tip of an authoritarian iceberg, one that’s on a collision course with public defiance. Democracy is being swept away, in a calculated program to leave the public muted and powerless. We see this in the demonization of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community as a cover to introduce the criminalization of trespass. We see it in the planned voter suppression bill, which will strip the right to vote from Black and other disadvantaged communities, adding yet another barrier to exercising the right to vote. We also see it in plans to limit judicial review, which will restrict the ability of the public to challenge the government’s decisions in court, shifting yet more power to the executive.”

Lewis targeted another horrific Tory Fascist Bill as he reminded us that “We saw it in the overseas operations bill, too. The creation of a two-tier, ‘them and us’ system of human rights was something I could only ever reject in the strongest possible terms. Having now passed that, the government is coming for our rights, with a review of UK human rights legislation. These are rights that have already been eroded these past 40 years and handed to large, opaque vested interests, both individual and corporate. This is the crisis of democracy. In the debate, I told the benches opposite that I see how they are fast-moving from becoming a government to becoming a regime. They want to stifle dissent, so they are not accountable to the public. Our country, our economy, our politics, our media, is controlled by a small clique of individuals. Over the last 40 years, they have taken more power for themselves at the expense of our democracy. Now they are not even happy with us clinging on to the scraps we have now.”

Appealing to his own Parliamentary colleagues Lewis said “To our own Labour frontbench, who were finally brought to the right position of opposition to this bill, I have this to say: it should not have taken the police assault on people gathered peacefully in memory of Sarah Everard to see the assault on democracy in this bill. It is writ large. Let this be a wake-up call. We have never seen anything like this government before. If this bill goes through, anyone who values their democratic rights must get organized and fight back.” The public allowed the BBC and Mainstream Media to dupe us into accepting the very obviously suspect result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election by drowning us in spurious pro-Tory propaganda to prop this corrupt Government into position. As the rampant corruption, squandering of public funds and systematic dismantling of our precious democracy, it has become even more urgent for us to demand a full Investigation into the unfathomable 2019 result and all of the ongoing assaults on our society.

Clive Lewis made a bold and rebellious personal commitment saying “I will stand with protesters, irrelevant of the laws passed by the House of Commons.” He urges the public to take action saying “I have an appeal to make everyone who wants to live in a democracy, friends from across parties in parliament, in civil society, in trade unions, the public, please: we must face the reality of the scale of action demanded by challenging the authoritarianism of this government and responding to the climate and ecological breakdown, epidemic of inequality, surveillance capitalism, automation, and AI.” The future looks very bleak for our young people, the working poor, the disabled and the most vulnerable as the Social Safety Net is dismantled in favor of a ‘Social Sluce.’ The obsessive greed of rampant neo-liberal capitalism is returning former democratic countries to authoritarian Dictatorships controlling an oppressive Corporate Feudalism. Lewis is right to sound the alarm while there is still time to derail this corrupt Tory regime.

Lews insists that “We must break out of the 20th-century political silos that have proven unfit for 21st-century challenges. We must create a democracy that is fit for purpose for the challenges we face: climate and ecological breakdown, the epidemic of inequality, and surveillance capitalism. That means a voting system where each vote counts equally, a fusion of direct and representative democracy, where people lead and act collectively, real power and resources distributed to communities, away from Westminster. I do not have the answers, but I believe the public does. So the future must not be imposed; it must be deliberated on in a people’s convention on the UK’s constitution. Proportionate action now demands an alliance of progressives both cross-party and wider civil society. If you want more democracy, not less, democrats must work together to remove power away from these aspiring authoritarians and give it over to the people of the UK.”

Another aspect of our crumbling quasi democracy remains our unelected second Chamber, the House of Lords. In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “SNP accuse Tories of ‘dodging democracy’ as Ruth Davidson is lined up for a Cabinet role,” they note that “It seems that now Tories don’t even need to bother standing in an election.” They point out that “Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is being lined up for a job in Boris Johnson’s government, the SNP has claimed, with the MSP soon to take a seat in the unelected House of Lords. Ruth Davidson is currently a member of the Scottish Parliament, but is standing down to enter the House of Lords. She is urging Scots to vote Conservative to stop an SNP majority this May. In a move that the SNP said would be ‘a democratic obscenity,’ Cabinet member Michael Gove indicated that Davidson could be handed a government role even though she has not been elected.”

According to Left Foot Forward “In an interview with Scottish broadcaster STV, it was pointed out that with Davidson becoming a Baroness, ‘she’s not going to be part of the [Scottish Tory] team after the election’.” They say “Gove replied: ‘But Scotland has two governments, Scotland has two parliaments, and it’s important that we have talent in Westminster and in Holyrood and that they work together. That’s what I’m here to do, to make sure that those people work together’. The Tories have a track record for ‘undemocratic’ appointments to the unelected House of Lords. In January 2020, Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith were appointed to the Lords so that they could keep their government positions. Goldsmith had been defeated by the Lib Dems in the 2019 election, while Morgan had stepped down as an MP. Other prominent non-elected appointments are Lord Andrew Dunlop and Lord Ian Duncan, who stood in an election and lost but was still appointed weeks later.”

Left Foot Forward report that “SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: ‘Michael Gove’s refusal to rule out Baroness Davidson securing an unelected place in Boris Johnson’s Government from the House of Lords shows the Tories’ utter disdain for democracy. ‘It seems that now Tories don’t even need to bother standing in an election and being held to account by the public in order to keep the perks of ministerial posts. That is a democratic obscenity. It’s bad enough for Ruth Davidson to have accepted a seat in the Lords, if she had any shred of integrity she would make it clear now she will not accept an unelected role in government, working for a man who led the Brexit campaign she once repeatedly accused of having ‘lied’ to people.” ‘Glow ball Britain’s’ bulging second chamber helps make our waning Democracy appear even more incredulous to overseas powers with each new batch of Tory cronies Boris Johnson manages to ram through the door. Who will rescue the British people when that hyped-up glow is snuffed out?

Still quoting Mackay Left Foot Forward say “Voters across Scotland would be rightly dismayed if an unelected politician was to pick up a ministerial salary on top of her cushy £300 [sic: £323] a day Lords’ job, after dodging democracy by running off to join a group of Tory donors, cronies and politicians rejected by the voters. The Westminster system is broken beyond repair,’ Mackay said. The SNP refuses to nominate peers to the House of Lords.” Other political parties just as vehemently opposed to our unelected Second Chamber have felt compelled to nominate peers to prevent an unstoppable Tory dominance in both Chambers, but it is a losing battle. Peers should be put forward for nomination based on service to the community and valued specialist knowledge not necessarily tagged to a particular constituency. Philanthropy should be judged relevant only as a percentage of personal wealth, but excluding political party donations. You might see Lord Jamie Oliver and Lord Marcus Rashford voted in by the people!

In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “The Police Bill isn’t the only threat to civil liberties – just read the Coronavirus Act,” Charlie Jaay warns us of another expansive encroachment on our civil liberties. He says that “MPs are being urged to reject the ‘draconian’ Coronavirus Act when it returns for a vote later this month. The Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force last March, as an emergency response to the pandemic. But how long will it last? The measures in the Act range from closing borders, postponing some elections and suspending the power to recall any MP committing a crime, to detaining anyone who might be infectious, and relaxing human rights safeguards in a range of settings. From increasing surveillance and retention of DNA, to closing off care homes, critics argue the Coronavirus Act has created a range of new ‘draconian powers which have eroded civil liberties. The Act marked the largest expansion of executive power in peacetime Britain.”

Jaay claims “the government justifies this by describing measures as ‘reasonable, proportionate and based on the latest scientific evidence.’But a close look shows our lives and rights have changed beyond recognition, with almost no parliamentary scrutiny.” Jaay asks “What’s in the Act?” He explains that “Depending on the advice of the four chief medical officers, the new powers in the Act can be switched on and off whenever ministers feel necessary. Although time-limited to two years, the government states it is possible to extend the Act’s lifetime ‘if it is prudent to do so’ (para 8), therefore keeping these powers at their fingertips indefinitely. Some of the most far-ranging detention powers in modern legal history are found in schedule 21. It gives police, public health officials and immigration officers powers to forcibly detain, for up to 14 days (para 15.(1)), and take biological samples from anyone, including children, whom they have ‘reasonable grounds to suspect of being ‘potentially infectious’ (para 7.(1)).”

Jaay points out that “As many Covid cases are asymptomatic, police could have unlimited freedom to detain just about anyone.” But it doesn’t stop there, he says “Schedule 22 provides powers to close premises, cancel events, prohibit gatherings and ban protests but has not yet been activated. Instead, the government has used powers under the Public Health Act 1984 to carry out these prosecutions. However, this has not stopped confused police officers charging people under Schedule 22, and magistrates who do not know the law well enough have accepted the charges. In these situations, charges are rushed through, without proper scrutiny, leading to unlawful prosecutions. Police are also regularly using the Coronavirus Act to break up socially distanced demonstrations outdoors, despite the risks of outdoor transmission being low.” Jaay asks “What’s the alternative?”

Jaay highlights how “The UK’s leading human rights organization, Liberty, has drafted alternative legislation to the Coronavirus Act 2020, known as the Protect Everyone Bill, which it says will address the ‘civil rights crisis’ caused by the pandemic and ‘prioritize support over punishment.’ Liberty’s Director, Gracie Bradley told Left Foot Forward: ‘The pandemic has shown how much we rely on each other, yet politicians in charge have responded with a strategy that creates distrust and favors punishing people instead of providing support. ‘Those in power have failed to understand that we need to pull together and create strategies that protect everyone. A year into this crisis, we’re tired of waiting for alternatives, so we’ve come up with one ourselves.’ There are existing measures on the statute book that could be used instead. Two other alternatives to the Coronavirus Act, both of which contain sensible safeguards, are the Health and Social Care Act, 2008 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.”

Jaay explains that “Powers in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (HSCA 2008) s. 129-130 are very similar to those in the Coronavirus Act 2020, allowing ‘medical examination, detention, isolation or quarantine of a person who is suspected of being infectious.’ However, a magistrate must authorize the HSCA 2008 provisions, before allowing an individual to be detained by police. The Coronavirus Act has no such safeguards. Similarly, the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA 2004) contains wide-ranging measures, enabling similar restrictions of movement and assembly CA 2020 but, crucially, with the added safeguard that they must be reviewed every 30 days.”

Jaay reports that “Last year, civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch launched the Two years? Too Long campaign and helped ensure a six-monthly parliamentary vote on the Coronavirus Act. They believe it’s time to remove the extra policing roles from the statute books, particularly ones that aren’t being used.’ Madeleine Stone, Legal and Policy Officer for the group, said: ‘All the time [these powers] are sitting there they represent a danger to our rights. There’s been a lot of talk about ‘new normal’ recently, and we are deeply concerned these powers will remain in the statute books for a very long time to come,’ she said. Stone believes enforcing Covid rules through the police has been ‘unnecessary’: ‘People want to do the right thing, so using police to enforce these measures is counterproductive. It’s giving the police a whole new role in society, as public health officials, and that’s not what they are trained for’.”

According to Jaay “Parliamentarians are under pressure to repeal schedules 21 and 22 of the Coronavirus Act later this month. ‘We expressed concerns early on about these powers, and our worries have been justified. Unlawful use risks damaging trust in policing and the rule of law, and threatens our human rights, whilst having no benefit to public health,’ Stone tells LFF. Jonathan Lea is one of the founding members of Lawyers for Liberty, a group of legal professionals who monitor, educate and act upon potential legal issues raised by concerned citizens relating to the national coronavirus situation. ‘I have become increasingly concerned as the UK government’s restrictions have continued to be extended. Lawyers for Liberty recently started a Facebook group for anyone wanting to join, and we have been inundated with all sorts of horrifying stories of people facing incredible injustices and infringements on what should be their essential human rights’.”

Jaay says that Lawyers for Liberty concluded “This simply has to stop. I sincerely hope that the Coronavirus Act is repealed as soon as possible, before things get even worse for all of us,’ he said. ‘People should bear in mind Lord Acton’s infamous quote- ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ To date, all powers in the Coronavirus Act have been used unlawfully, with every single prosecution being dropped.” Covid has become a poor excuse that has enabled this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship to shut-dow peaceable assembly and ban public protest despite the pace of vaccination. Work and school are declared ‘Covid safe; even when the correct measures aren’t in place; soon it will again be declared ‘safe’ in close proximity to a cash register and the supreme leader will allow us to visit sports events. But people gathering to voice their discontent presents a real danger to the corrupt cabal that seized power in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. We must demand restoration of our right to Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!