We are at a point in UK history where future generations may ask why no one did anything to stop the government leading us into an authoritarian, dystopian reality through the proposal of the “Police Crackdown Bill” putting too much power into the hands of the state.
Apart from a handful of dissenters, we have been allowing this to happen, but this is the time we must fight against it, we must take a stand and speak out before we are legally unable to do so.
They Are Mocking Us
The country is still reeling over the audacity of the government to attend Christmas parties at number 10, while the people were abiding by the coronavirus rules causing many to feel isolated from family and friends.
While the anger is of course justified, the shock coming from the public is surprising. The government has been showing us since early in the plandemic, that they themselves do not fear the COVID and therefore, do not have to abide by their own rules.
We have seen obvious displays of their rule-breaking from Neil Ferguson’s bed-hopping antics with his mistress, Cummings visit to Barnard Castle, to the G7 event, including a cocktail party in June 2021, where world leaders ignored the social distancing rules, the mask-wearing and their “save granny” message.
Not only should this be alerting the people to the fact that those making the rules are themselves do not fear a virus but should also anger them. According to journalist and author of Double Down News, George Monbiot “This is how dictatorship works and we are sliding towards it at the moment.
“The motive power of dictatorship is that there is one rule for the elite and a completely different rule for the people”.
He continues “We have a situation in this country where the Prime Minister and his cronies are mocking us, as we abide by the COVID rules they just ignore them and laugh in our faces, and while they’re doing so they impose, the most draconian legislation in living memory on the rest of us”.
The draconian rules he speaks of are the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.
A bill that if passed will give the police sweeping powers, that could lead to scenarios befitting of a dystopian novel due to what Amnesty UK calls the “unprecedented extension of policing powers” which would put too much power in the hands of the state.
The government has five legislative proposals that they are hoping to push through which are being debated at the moment:
- widen the range of conditions that the police can impose on assemblies (static protests), to match existing police powers to impose conditions on processions;
- lower the fault element for offences relating to the breaching of conditions placed on a protest of either kind;
- widen the range of circumstances in which the police can impose conditions on protests (again, of either kind);
- replace the existing common law offence of public nuisance with a new statutory offence as recommended by the Law Commission in 2015; and
- create new stop, search and seizure powers to prevent serious disruption caused by protests.
The measures in the Bill will allow the police to take a more “proactive approach” in managing highly disruptive protests causing serious disruption to the public according to the government, essentially meaning the Bill will give power and confidence to the police to stifle and ban peaceful protests that go against the government narrative, whatever that may be.
Why We Must Stop This Bill
Throughout the last two years, there have been peaceful protests, rallies, and marches where we have witnessed a pre-Bill “proactive approach” that the police have already been exercising, allowing the use of excessive force, fines, and arrests.
We have also witnessed peaceful people being arrested for simply gathering in groups, having a coffee with a friend beside the seaside,
Again back in September 2020 at a London rally, a peaceful guest from Hamburg, Germany, the softly spoken Dr Heiko Schöning of the Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee was at Hyde Park and said……..well, not an awful lot really as just as he was starting his speech, he was handcuffed by a crowd of uniformed individuals and arrested and kept in a cell for the night.
Affording the police further powers is an illiberal, absurd notion for a democratic country where those deemed to be causing a public nuisance by making too much noise, blocking streets and storefronts, or generally “annoying” the public can find themselves arrested.
This is worrying for many reasons, firstly, what constitutes being a “nuisance” or “annoying” is subjective, therefore inconsistencies will undoubtedly occur, depending on what officer is present.
Not So Priti
Despite the already illiberal Bill, Home Secretary Priti Patel was still able to add 18 pages of amendments to it, taking it to a draconian stage, perhaps knowing there would be support from those people fearing the protesters were “spreading a virus”
Therefore, Patel used the “problem reaction, solution, tactic where the masses will believe it was their idea and for their own good.
Serious Disruption Prevention Orders
One such amendment gives the power, through “serious disruption prevention orders” (SDPOs), to ban named individuals from participating in protests or even using the internet to encourage others to do so.
An SDPO can be imposed by the courts on anyone convicted of a “protest-related offence”. This category is extremely broad – it includes “infractions” such as possessing superglue near a demonstration.
Criminalising a Way of Life
Secondly, the bill also proposes to introduce new laws against stopping on private and public land without authorisation, with penalties including the confiscation of vehicles. This would have the effect of criminalising the way of life of Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller people.
As The Guardian’s view on the police bill explained in a recent article, such extreme restrictions placed on nomadic lifestyles “risk stoking prejudice against communities and individuals who already face serious disadvantages”.
New Stop and Search Powers
The amendments also expand powers for stop and search without suspicion around protests. This means the police will have the power to stop and search individuals if they deem it could avoid “serious disruption” or a “public nuisance”.
Again this is subjective, yet can happen “whether or not the constable has any grounds for suspecting that the person is carrying a prohibited object” and could also be discriminatory, and use of already existing unfair profiling.
This is Not Democratic
This Bill does not protect anyone, it in fact only gives more power to a government that is already displaying signs of being a dictatorship, they want to arbitrarily limit our freedoms, and restrict the rights of people to protest against the way they are governing.
That may be the “coronavirus act” today, and many do not care as they believe the government narrative, but what about tomorrow? It is allowing the government to slide in any legislation and we will not be able to dispute it.
Democracy in Britain has been on a steep decline for years now, and we are expected to cast our vote and allow the party with the most votes to govern as they wish, and we are being forced to step back and allow them to do this without input from the majority.
Not Your Battle?
Yet, we have been a nation that should be proud of our past achievements that exist due to protests, i.e. the Poll Tax, Suffrage for women, and equal rights, and have protested more recently for lifestyle purposes.
There will be a protest that has been carried out that has arguably changed the lives of everyone in the country, so even if you believe this current fight is not your battle, there undoubtedly will be one for you in the future, but if this Bill goes through you will not be able to protest, you will just have to lump it.
We Have Rights – At the Moment
Our rights are being eroded. We are effectively being told to sit down and shut up and the people that this inaction will adversely affect the most are doing as they are told.
Yet the Human Rights Act was first adopted in 1948 due to the barbaric immoral atrocities experienced in WWII to ensure that they could never happen again, yet here we are….
Article 10 of the act Freedom of expression, which allows the freedom to hold opinions, impart information, and ideas without interference by a public authority or government persecution, has clearly been violated with outrageous censorship of the voices disagreeing with the government.
Advocating this right is not the same as agreeing with opinions as a pre-hypnotised Noam Chomsky said “If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we do not believe in it for anyone”.
Also, importantly, the violation of this right is almost always as a result of other rights violations which the authorities would rather be not verbalised or fought against.
Now we must fight for the freedom to peacefully protest. The freedom of assembly or the freedom of Association, which is article 11 within our Human Rights Act, is there to protect our right to hold meetings and demonstrate with others. The government would much rather we couldn’t.
Amnesty says that “The right to protest is fundamental to a free and fair society. It’s a right we have fought long and hard for. Without the right to protest, accountability and freedom suffers. They ask us to take action now and call on our Prime Minister to stop the assault on our freedoms. UK Government: Stop the assault on our freedoms
It is a disgrace that this has only accumulated 17,000 signatures! Please add yours!
Or add your name to a signed letter to the Home Secretary from Liberty who state that “Protest isn’t a gift from the State – it’s our fundamental right and under human rights law, States have an obligation to facilitate protest, not suppress it”.
Please sign both, or write to your MP, Johnson, Patel, anyone, as long as you fight this, while you still can.