I write for Left Foot Forward
Voter suppression, limiting protest on the streets by banning anything that might be effective, stopping people seeking justice in the courts when the government acts in a dictatorial way – the Queen’s Speech is clearly designed to help the Conservatives stay in power for many decades longer.
Continue reading “The Tories are planning an assault on democracy”
There are some important pieces of legislation tucked into the Speech, but I feel that those are the ones that will fall through the cracks and that we will probably not get around to. This is very distressing because it will be the most regressive laws that come through and that the Government support. This is really appealing to the darkest parts of human nature and it is not good for our collective psyche, not just here in the House but in the wider society. As such, I promise you strong and relentless opposition.
Continue reading “5th Day of Debate on the Queen’s Speech”
Existing regimes often fail to ensure that people in government and politics work for the public interest and not for private gain. We need a legal, formal separation of public service from private enrichment. We need to hold former Ministers, former politicians and even former lawyers to much higher standards than exist at present. Continue reading “Public service and private enrichment: the need for legal separation”
This is about ethics, morality, having a clear conscience and making sure that we behave as a democracy should, by abhorring genocide and people being murdered, tortured and imprisoned. This is about operating as an enlightened nation and when we talk about genocide, we ought to talk as well about ecocide—large-scale environmental destruction and ecological damage. Although it is not as obvious, it is a slow genocide. It drives people away from their land, makes them poor and gives them fewer opportunities and terrible lives. We should accept that we do that sort of damage, and that we do it in virtually every act of our lives. In some way, we impact on our environment and the rest of the world and, by doing that, we can damage the health and well-being of other nations and people who live in the places where we get our food or the minerals for our phones. So we ought to think very carefully about how we operate as individuals and as a nation.
Continue reading “Trade Bill ‘Ping Pong’ – Lords oppose Government over Genocide amendment”
If you wanted to convince the public that international trade agreements are a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people, this is what you would do: give foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever a government passes a law to, say, discourage smoking, protect the environment or prevent a nuclear catastrophe… a process known as ‘investor-state dispute settlement‘, or ISDS.
(The Economist, October 2014)
This Trade Bill the government has written includes ISDS…
Continue reading “The Trade Bill: Report Stage – ISDS”
The Government have put the Trade and Agriculture Commission on a statutory footing – with Amendments 49 and 50 giving it a degree of permanency – and have even seemed to incorporate what we were pushing for, in that it should have its own staff and facilities, but then government Amendment 36 throws all that out. A Secretary of State can ditch the whole thing with a statutory instrument. How is that sticking to a promise about making this a body that can properly do the job?
Continue reading “Trade Bill Report Stage day 1”
Green peer Jenny Jones welcomes Lords’ “regret” amendment to Internal Market Bill
- Jenny Jones: “The Internal Market Bill is part of the government’s executive power grab and the main losers will be the devolved nations and regions”
The House of Lords has today [Tuesday 20 October] passed an amendment to the Internal Market Bill regretting the provisions which, if enacted “would undermine the rule of law and damage the reputation of the United Kingdom.” Continue reading “Massive Lords majority to defend rule of law”
The Green Party has raised serious concerns over Michael Gove’s appointment of four new non-execs to the Cabinet Office. 
It has been announced this week that Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, has appointed Lord Hogan-Howe, Baroness Finn, Henry de Zoete and the Rt Hon Gisela Stuart as Non-Executive Board Members to the Cabinet Office, extending the role of non-accountable appointees at the heart of the government. Continue reading “Greens raise alarm about creation of parallel government machinery”