Public Order Bill committee stage day 1

This is clearly rubbish legislation. For example, there is a lack of a definition of “serious disruption”, what about arresting the Government for serious disruption to the NHS over the last 12 years? I would support that. The criminal courts in this country are crumbling and cannot cope with the number of cases that they have at the moment. Yet here the Government will insist on more cases which will clog up the courts even more. This is so right-wing; it is not an appropriate Bill for a democracy. Continue reading “Public Order Bill committee stage day 1”

Public Order Bill arrives in Lords

The Government really do not need the sort of repressive powers in the Bill that are worthy of Russia, China or Iran. We should vote against this legislation—again—to protect the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly and the right to protest, which is what we expect in a free society. Of course protest is inherently disruptive; that is its nature. But do the Lords know what is more disruptive? The fossil fuel companies and extractive industries that are destroying our planet, and the billionaires who are amassing huge claims over the world’s resources while everyone else worries about how to pay our energy bills this winter. BP has made £7 billion profit in three months, yet we will pay the extra cost of coastal defences and higher food prices for the next three decades or more. Shell makes £9.5 billion profit in a quarter. They have billions in the bank; we will have a country that swings from drought and wildfires to floods of sewage. Every dollar or pound that the oil and gas companies make equals the world becoming a worse place for generations. That is what real disruption means, and we have a Government encouraging it with tax breaks and licences for big business. Continue reading “Public Order Bill arrives in Lords”

Schools Bill update: Minister responds to letter from a home educating parent…

Thank you for your email 5 July, enclosing correspondence from X, regarding the proposals in the Schools Bill for a system of registration for children not in school. I am sorry for the delay in providing you with a response. Continue reading “Schools Bill update: Minister responds to letter from a home educating parent…”

Schools Bill progress

Jenny raised the concerns of home schoolers at the Committee and Report stages of the Schools Bill by tabling a number of amendments, including proposing the deletion of parts of the Bill. She also supported amendments which would have changed the approach to one of offering genuine support, recognising the right to home school, and stopping the coercive approach proposed. Plus we, and many others, have called for the Bill to be halted and a new approach taken.

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Second Reading of Schools Bill – Home Education

This bill, if enacted, will see the destruction of the privacy rights of a minority group. The question is why? Given the intrusive nature of the proposals I would, at least, have expected some form of independently reviewed study showing that there is some kind of systemic problem with the freedoms of families who home educate which the Government has been unable to address by other means. Where is that study?

It is a very serious step to compel law abiding families who are educating their children at home, to be subject to statutory enquiries about their children, completely in the absence of any presenting problem. This approach to families crosses a line in the involvement of the state in family life. The state is going to be able to single out a discrete group of law-abiding families from their peer group and then subject them to special monitoring. Continue reading “Second Reading of Schools Bill – Home Education”

Police Bill Ping Pong

People do not approve of crackdowns on protest because there are times when they themselves want to protest. They want to protest about a crossing that is in the wrong place on their own road or to complain about cars idling outside their children’s school. People protest. It is all very well to call them “protesters” but actually they are just people.

Obstructing the highway should not land anyone in prison for a year. You can still be put into prison for a year even if the roads have already been closed by a traffic authority. When roads in Sheffield, sometimes quite minor ones, were closed for trees to be cut down, local people who were furious about that and were doing their best to stop it protested on those closed roads. Under the Bill, they could have faced up to 51 weeks in prison for protesting on their own road to try to protect their own trees. Peaceful protesters should never face jail. The original government amendment was bad and the compromise is also bad.

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