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

My perception of Gypsies was influenced by an experience in my early teens; I used to go fishing with the father of a friend of mine who was of Romany heritage. We shared a strong appreciation of the natural environment and he taught me a few useful survival techniques including how to recognize plants growing in the wild that that were safe to eat. I am deeply concerned that buried in the fine print of the controversial Policing Bill, and gaining a lot less publicity, is a direct aggressive assault on the Traveller’s way of life. While we should be outraged over the curtailment of basic civil liberties and the criminalization of our right to protest, another serious threat to basic human rights looms within this toxic piece of legislation the Tories just rammed through Parliament. Writ large in that Policing Bill was a powerful indication of where the UK is headed under this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship: a ruthless determination to emulate the repression and persecution of a minority ethnic group, Gypsies, under the Nazi regime in Germany.

On a chilling Wikipedia page tracing the origins of the Nazi’s “Romani Genocide” they detail the changes in German Law preceding the final act of extermination. Under the heading “Persecution under the German Empire and the Weimar Republic” it says “The developments of racial pseudo-science and modernization resulted in anti-Romani state interventions, carried out by both the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. In 1899, the Imperial Police Headquarters in Munich established the Information Services on Romani by the Security Police. Its purpose was to keep records (identification cards, fingerprints, photographs, etc.) and continuous surveillance on the Roma community. Roma in the Weimar Republic were forbidden from entering public swimming pools, parks, and other recreational areas, and depicted throughout Germany and Europe as criminals and spies.”

But where does the new UK legislation take us on this pathway to persecution? The Wikipedia segment continues in “1926 ‘Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy’ was enforced in Bavaria, becoming the national norm by 1929. It stipulated that groups identifying as ‘Gypsies’ avoid all travel to the region. Those already living in the area were to ‘be kept under control so that there [was] no longer anything to fear from them with regard to safety in the land.’ They were forbidden from ‘roam[ing] about or camp[ing] in bands,’ and those ‘unable to prove regular employment’ risked being sent to forced labor for up to two years. Herbert Heuss notes that ‘[t]his Bavarian law became the model for other German states and even for neighboring countries.’ The demand for Roma to give up their nomadic ways and settle in a specific region was often the focus of anti-Romani policy both of the German Empire and the Weimar Republic.” How much do the Tories hate our unemployed also demonized as ‘workshy’?

“Once settled, communities were concentrated and isolated in one area within a town or city.[21] This process facilitated state-run surveillance practices and ‘crime prevention.’ Following the passage of the Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants, and the Workshy, public policy increasingly targeted the Roma on the explicit basis of race. In 1927, Prussia passed a law that required all Roma to carry identity cards. Eight thousand Roma were processed this way and subjected to mandatory fingerprinting and photographing. Two years later, the focus became more explicit. In 1929, the German state of Hessen proposed the ‘Law for the Fight Against the Gypsy Menace’. The same year the Centre for the Fight Against Gypsies in Germany was opened. This body enforced restrictions on travel for undocumented Roma and ‘allowed for the arbitrary arrest and detention of gypsies as a means of crime prevention.”

On the Hodge, Jones & Allen Website, Solicitor Cormac Mannion explains this deadly consequence of the Policing Bill, that has gained far less public attention, in a piece entitled “Criminalising a way of life: The Police Powers and Protection Bill” Posted on 9th February 2021 it says “In 2004, Sir Trevor Philips, then Chair of The Commission for Racial Equality, described discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities as ‘the last respectable form of racism’ in the UK. Members of the GRT community are protected from race discrimination by the Equality Act 2010, and yet a 2017 report by the Traveller Movement found that 91% of GRT individuals had experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity, 77% had experienced hate speech or hate crime, and, perhaps most worrying for legal aid lawyers, 77% had not sought legal help after experiencing discrimination.”

Mannion warns that “Rather than seek to address the discrimination faced by these marginalized communities, it appears the government plans to punish them further by introducing legislation which includes proposals to criminalize trespass and the act of setting up an ‘unauthorized’ encampment. The Police Powers and Protections Bill, which has been consulted on and is due to be published soon, seeks to implement a 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto pledge to ‘give the police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorized encampment” and to ‘make intentional trespass a criminal offense.’ Trespass is currently governed by civil law and upgrading trespass to a criminal offense would have significant ramifications for protesters, the homeless and GRT communities in particular.”

Mannion rightly claims that “The Police Powers and Protections Bill is one of a raft of increasingly authoritarian Bills introduced by this government, others of which have garnered more media attention, such as the ‘Spy Cops’ Bill and the Overseas Operation Bill, the former of which was characterized by Labour peer and prominent human rights lawyer Shami Chakrabarti as ‘one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation I’ve seen.’ Despite the relative lack of media attention to the Police Powers and Protections Bill, an unlikely coalition has emerged opposing the proposed legislation. On 18 January 2021, a letter was sent to the Home Secretary denouncing the government’s proposals to criminalize trespass as ‘an extreme, illiberal and unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms.’ Signatories to the letter range from advocacy groups such as Homeless Link and Friends Families and Travellers to outdoor sports governing bodies such as the British Mountaineering Council and British Canoeing.”

With alarm Mannion reports that “The letter raises concerns that ‘criminalizing trespass or increasing police powers of eviction would compound the inequalities experienced’ by GRT communities. The letter also suggests that ‘extending the definition of ‘unauthorized encampment’ would have the effect of criminalizing the increasing numbers of rough sleepers living in makeshift shelters or tents.’ As the composition of the unlikely coalition opposing the legislation suggests, the proposals in the Bill not only represent an attack on GRT communities, but also on the rights of everyone to freely access, explore and enjoy the British countryside without fear of prosecution. As the letter states, criminalizing trespass would ‘send a signal that the countryside is not an open resource accessible to all but a place of complex rules and regulations, where stepping off a public path could lead to a criminal sentence’.”

Mannion elaborates on earlier state interventions to rob us of our rights “For those with an interest in British legal history, legislation that might have the twin effects of criminalizing the homeless and restricting the rights of people to access the countryside is uncomfortably reminiscent of two of the most controversial legislative developments in British history: the Vagrancy Act of 1824 which criminalizes the very act of being homeless and remains in force to this day (for now); and Enclosure, the bitterly fought centuries-long legal process in which the commons were privatized and the rights of ordinary people to access and make use of the land severely repressed. As legal aid lawyers who act for members of the GRT community in disputes ranging from eviction to discrimination, we are deeply concerned that the Police Powers and Protection Bill will represent a huge step backward for these communities and urge the government to reconsider their commitment to criminalize trespass and unauthorized encampments.”

We need to realize that this draconian change in the law not only targets gypsies, but can be liberally interpreted to encompass everyone from the homeless on our streets to hikers, campers and those on a family campervan holiday. On the 17th of March the Website posted a “New tool launched for people to write to their MP about harsh new laws for roadside camps.” They reminded the public that “The Government is planning to bring in new harsh laws for nomadic people. Today, Friends, Families and Travellers launch a new tool which will support Gypsies, Travelers and members of the public to write to their MP, registering their concerns about the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. There is a significant national shortage of places for nomadic Gypsies and Travellers to legally and safely stop. However, the Government is planning to bring in new laws which means people who live on roadside camps could face time in prison, a £2500 fine or their home being taken from them.” say that “While the Government says that the laws are meant to target only a small number of people who engage in anti-social behavior on roadside camps, in reality, the proposals are widely open to interpretation and are likely to impact upon everyone who is or wishes to live nomadically, by culture, choice or necessity. Everybody needs a place to live. It should not be a crime to have nowhere to go.” They urge you to “Use our quick and easy tool to email your MP today.” Those who chose to live close to nature are far less inclined to be destructive and dump garbage. Our consumer-driven society results in a throwaway culture where people who live in comfortable homes fly-tip the items they regularly discard; this isn’t part of the Gypsy way of life. Having spent many years of my life in a nomadic lifestyle living aboard boats I can empathize with their desire to roam.

I was just sent an email regarding the progress of the Petition that I signed “Don’t criminalize trespass” saying it will now be debated in Parliament. As our opportunities for dissent in the UK narrow considerably under this authoritarian Tory regime, we should not overlook the possibility still available via this Parliamentary Petition site to demand that an issue is debated in the House of Commons. We do not know how soon this avenue will be shut down to silence the public voice. The Petition appeal was worded to expose how “The Government’s manifesto stated ‘we will make intentional trespass a criminal offense’: an extreme, illiberal & unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten walkers, campers, and the wider public. It would further tilt the law in favor of the landowning 1% who own half the country.”

In further detail the Petition warns that “For a thousand years, trespass has been a civil offence – but now the Government is proposing to make trespass a criminal offense: a crime against the state. Doing so could: – Criminalise ramblers who stray even slightly from the path; – Remove the ability of local residents to establish new rights of way; – Criminalise wild camping, denying hikers a night under the stars; – Clampdown on peaceful protest, a fundamental right and essential part of our democracy; – Impact Traveller communities.” The Petition closed with a grand total of: 134,932 Signatures. I was informed that “Parliament will debate this petition on 19 April 2021. You’ll be able to watch online in the UK Parliament YouTube channel.”

In the Canary Article entitled “14 signs the UK is becoming a modern fascist state,” they offer a stark warning to the UK public saying that “#FacistBritain has been trending on Twitter. But can we quantify whether the UK is descending into a modern, fascist state? Simply put: yes, we can.” They describe “Fascism’s ‘defining characteristics’: nationalism and disregard for human rights. Che Scott-Heron Newton tweeted how she believed fascism was ‘presenting in modern Britain’. She noted four areas. One was ‘Powerful and Continuing Nationalism’. In this instance, she gave the example of police protecting a Winston Churchill statue: Heron’s second example was: Disregard for human rights: people are more likely to approve of longer incarcerations of prisoners, look the other way. She gave the example of the current furor of the so-called ‘Police Bill’.”

But, the Canary report she said “the degradation of UK human rights has been ongoing for a long time. Back in 2016, the UN accused successive Tory-led governments of ‘grave’ and ‘systematic’ violations of sick and disabled people’s human rights. With the UK’s potential withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights, things will only get worse.” Under “The arts and crime” they say “Heron’s third point was: Disrespect towards intellectuals & the arts. Tory attempts to clamp-down on universities ‘cancelling‘ far-right bigots from speaking forms part of this. Or, as The Canary‘s Maryam Jameela put it, the Tories attempt to ‘quash dissent’. Then, you have the Tories’ attacks on ‘lefty lawyers’ doing human rights work. Meanwhile, in recent years, they’ve also cut public arts funding by 35%.”

The Canary note that “Finally, Heron said: Obsession with crime & punishment. The recent Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (the ‘Police Bill’) is a case in point. As Liberty said, it includes: dangerous measures including restrictions on protest, new stop and search powers, a ‘Prevent-style’ duty on knife crime, and a move to criminalize trespass. Also, the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill allows intelligence services to break the law on UK soil. So, Heron summed up some major indicators of fascism well. It was in-part based on historian Laurence Britt’s 2003 work on the signs of a fascist regime.” If this is the road we are heading down we would do well to remember that if we fail to remove this authoritarian regime from power ASAP, like Hungary, Turkey and so many repressive states we will be forced to endure decades of Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.

The Canary asks, “Picking apart his remaining ten points, how does the UK look? Signs of a Fascist regime,” “scapegoats and sexism, Britt noted: Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. From immigrants to Muslims via disabled people, the UK establishment has always had ‘enemies’ and ‘scape-goats’. Now, we’re seeing left-wing activists, Black Lives Matter and the ‘woke’ being the target. Another point Britt said was: Rampant sexism. The recent clamping-down on vigils and protests in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder is a chilling sign. Not that Tory misogyny is anything new. For example, just in the social security system you had the so-called ‘rape clause‘ and the benefit cap hitting lone mothers the hardest.” Rampant unchecked misogyny encourages the male half of the population to persecute the female half of the population, inhibiting their rights and limiting their opportunities while ignoring violence towards them is the ultimate ‘divide and conquer’ tactic used by repressive regimes all over the world.

The biased BBC and alt-right UK Media barons convinced the public that the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was legit; no need to demand a robust Investigation of the unfathomable result, just ‘Keep Calm and Carry On” in complacent silence. The Canary next identify “The mass media and national security,” pointing out an area where we do not fare at all well, saying “Britt also listed: A controlled mass media. The UK media is already controlled by a handful of right-wing billionaires. Now, with GB News, Rupert Murdoch’s News UK TV, former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre potentially heading-up the media regulator Ofcom, and a Tory donor being put in charge of the BBC, it’s going to get even more dystopian. Britt added: Obsession with national security. The Tories’ upping the cap on the number of nuclear weapons the UK can have is one example. Its review looking at left-wing ‘extremism’ is another. Amnesty called the Investigatory Powers Act (which allowed mass surveillance) ‘among the most draconian in the EU’.”

The Canary explain “The new religion and corporations” saying that “Another marker of Britt’s was: Religion and ruling elite tied together. Flip this into capitalism being the new religion, the mantra that guides how we all live our lives, and it fits with Britt’s description of fascism being marked by a ‘manufactured perception’ ‘that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion’. The Tories blocking of anti-capitalist teaching in schools sums this up. A crucial point of Britt’s was also: Power of corporations protected. This has been ongoing for decades. But it has reached a crescendo in recent years. The Tories allow big companies to pay tiny amounts of tax. Also, the revolving door between big business and big government is constantly open. As the Week wrote last year: Facebook has hired ten former UK government policy officials with insider knowledge of regulatory processes since the beginning of 2020, an investigation has found.”

The Canary say that “The new claims about the so-called ‘revolving door’ between politics and the private sector come just a week after J.P. Morgan announced that former chancellor Sajid Javid has been appointed as a senior advisor to the banking giant.” In “Suppressing labour and cronyism,” they note “Britt then moved on to Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. The Tories moves to restrict protest is a current example. And in 2015, The Tories put in place what the Guardian called the ‘biggest crackdown on trade unions for 30 years’. The gig economy helps this. And the consistently low minimum wage puts the power in the hands of the bosses. Perhaps Britt’s most recognizable point was: Rampant cronyism and corruption. This is the Tories all over; not least during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. As Byline Times wrote on 16 March: A company owned by a Conservative Party donor has surpassed £200 million worth of Government contracts during the Coronavirus pandemic ‘Nuff said’.”

The Canary then focused on “Election fraud” saying “Finally, Britt noted: Fraudulent elections. The 2015 election was marred by allegations of Tory election fraud. So was the EU referendum. The establishment corporate press helped get Boris Johnson into power in 2019. But the Tories are taking their election rigging agenda further. Our First Past The Post voting system has consolidated their power.” There was so little furor even from the progressive left with regard to disputing the Covert 2019 Rigged Election result at the time; instead of calling out the massive privatised electoral system corruption we had naval gazing and limp excuses in a rush to admit failure. They warn us that “Now, they’ll be rolling it out to all English elections. As City A.M. reported, in London Assembly elections this: would ‘wipe out’ many smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats and The Green Party. So, is all this truly fascism? On paper, the signs are there. But there’s probably a better name for it. And that is ‘Corporate Fascism’.”

The Canary explain the term “Corporate fascism” noting “As Johanna Drucker wrote for Riot Material on the US under then-president Donald Trump: Fascism is defined as the alignment of power, nationalism, and authoritarian government. We are there. The power is capital linked to politics. Capital is not merely the currency of money, but a force with nearly animate capacity for agency. The nationalism is an inflammatory rhetoric that galvanizes affect from responses to actual conditions (the real erosion of social infrastructure) in combination with a fantasy of entitlement grounded in long-standing myths of American exceptionalism. And the authoritarianism is an increasingly evident fulfillment of the worst fears of the founding designers of Democracy, as its checks and balances are put aside in favor of the interests of corporate wealth and its beneficiaries as a grotesque populism feeds on lifestyle fantasies and delusional identification.”

The Canary warn “Corporate fascism is wanton, virulent, and unregulated. Wanton because it has no regard for consequences (psycho-socio-political pathology is without constraints). Virulent because the full force of inflamed populism is fuelled by self-justified rage and unbounded triumphalism. Unregulated because the capital is now amassed in extreme concentrations of wealth without any controls. Corporate because Citizens United created the legal foundation for corporations to act with the same rights, privileges, and protections accorded to individuals, thus sanctifying the role of disproportionate power within a mythic construct of corporate entities. Johnson’s government is also using that MO. It’s no exaggeration to say that corporate fascism has been creeping into the UK for decades and it now appears the situation is only going to get worse.” The blatant targeting of one ethnic minority, Gypsies for systematic state persecution is a stark warning of what is ahead: we must get this Fascist Tory regime out ASAP! DO NOT MOVE ON!