The Lords have the ability to stop the government’s “pre-crime” laws in a vote on Monday. The government has proposed late amendments to the Public Order Bill that give the police power to ban protests, or a series of protests, ahead of them being held. It doesn’t matter if the organisers have never been convicted of a crime and what’s planned is non violent, the intention is enough for the police to judge it as illegal, if they feel it will ‘seriously disrupt’ somone’s life.
A protest only has to be more than a “minor interference” to be counted as “serious disruption” under the government plans. The judgment over what is minor, rather than “more than minor interference”, will be left to the police to predict, ahead of the proposed protest. Which means the police are making more and more political judgments about good protests and bad protests. Anyone joining the banned protest will be subject to arrest.
As these pre-crime amendments have been submitted late and in the Lords, it means the Lords can vote them out of the bill. Please make some noise on social media to ensure that Labour peers and others vote to ditch pre-crime.
Baroness Jenny Jones, issued this statement in response to the conviction of Elite Metropolitan police officer David Carrick, as a serial rapist.
“The police service is finally coming to terms with having significant number of rapists and domestic abusers in its ranks. From the state sponsored abuses of the spy cops scandal, to the murder of Sarah Everard and the arrest of those at her vigil, the police have failed to deal with misogyny in their own ranks. The turning of a blind eye when women reported that their police officer partners were abusing them, is also part of this pattern of failure that has led to record low conviction rates for crimes of sexual violence against women.
With six police services in special measures and hundreds of thousands of every day offences not being investigated as they are ‘no crimed’; the government is obsessed with passing draconian laws aimed at peaceful protestors, who commit no violent acts. The distorted priorities of Ministers who are afraid of protest against corruption, austerity and right wing policies, means that they wish to hand a mistrusted and failing police service the ability to arrest people who are thinking about protesting peacefully.”
My next oral question is on February 8th, when I ask:
“Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb to ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) Cost of Not Net Zero in 2022, published on 30 December 2022; and in particular, the finding that the delay in switching to renewables and improving energy efficiency resulted in some households paying around £,1750 extra on their bills last year.”
The government has pushed through more and more draconian powers for the police to use against peaceful protestors. Yet trust in police integrity, standards and culture has never been lower. There are now six police services (including the Metropolitan Police) who are in special measures. Plus the government has launched their own review after numerous scandals have exposed issues with police recruitment and attitudes:
Something Greens are always very concerned about is marketisation and financial engineering around environmental issues. The UK has a long and dangerous track record of mismanaging this. In the same way that financial engineering around mortgages caused the 2008 financial crisis, there are risks that bankers will abuse the climate crisis as an opportunity to get filthy rich while destroying the very systems we are working to protect. It has been done before.
Green Party Baroness Jenny Jones and Labour Lord Alf Dubs were among a cross-party group of venerable peers – all born before the 1952 Great Smog of London – who gathered today in Westminster to mark the 70 th anniversary of the Great Smog, which killed some 12,000 people and led to the passing of the first Clean Air Act in 1956.
COP27 failed to make progress on reducing emissions and the awful reality is that our current economic and political system can’t deliver the necessary change, quickly enough. So have you started wondering how everyday life is going to change in the next ten years due to the climate emergency? It is a timescale that many of us can grasp. My grandchildren will be in their late twenties and I will be retired and struggling to keep the allotment in shape. What will your life be like and what will be the new normal?
I can understand why many people around the world will be scratching their heads at Rishi Sunak’s screeching U-turn over his attendance at COP27. In one year, we have gone from Boris Johnson, as PM, putting out the welcome mat at COP26, to a country that is handing out new gas/oil licences and refusing to join the rest of Europe in urging the public to use less energy. While EU countries bring forward their medium-term targets for reducing reliance on fossil fuels, the UK government is not only off track for meeting its targets but is actively doing what it can to inject new life into the oil/gas sector.
Much of the legislation we were expecting to be dealing with this Autumn disappeared with the departure of Johnson’s government, but sadly not the Public Order Bill which arrives in the Lords tomorrow. We are yet to see the full implications of the Police Act’s expansion of police powers and the Public Order Bill is full of rehashed versions of provisions already rejected by the House of Lords. You can sign Liberty’s petition opposing the Public Order Bill here. Much of the legislation we were expecting to be dealing with this Autumn disappeared with the departure of Johnson’s government, but sadly not the Public Order Bill which arrives in the Lords tomorrow. We are yet to see the full implications of the Police Act’s expansion of police powers and the Public Order Bill is full of rehashed versions of provisions already rejected by the House of Lords. You can sign Liberty’s petition opposing the Public Order Bill here.