Further breaches in human rights planned by UK Government.

surveillance

Raibeart MacPhàrlain

Following on from current UN investigations into the UK Governments welfare reforms and austerity programme; and their impact on the poor, disabled and most marginalised in our society; libertarians and human rights campaigners now have a new draconian, or should I say Orwellian, legislation staring them in the face – the ‘Surveillance Bill’.

A recent article ‘Snoopers’ charter: Storm of protest over May’s surveillance Bill’, published in ‘The National’ (04.11.15), highlighted very well the protests and implications of the proposed Bill. Alas the outrage shown towards these proposed infringements by the UK Government are being sold to the people of the UK as a noble cause to protect us from paedophiles and terrorism. A rather curious sales pitch from a Government that has done everything it could to subvert, divert, stall, and diminish the investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Westminster parliamentarians.  In February this year, with the help of the Liberal Democrats, it blocked an amendment to the Official Secrets Act presented by Labour MP John Mann, which would have allowed whistleblowers to come forward without fear of prosecution. An issue Simon Danchuk MP (Labour) referred to in one article as so serious that, “parliamentary democracy … (would) … suffer an enormous, near fatal blow” if the truth came out.

It’s also worthy of note that just as the United States is recognising that it has sacrificed too much of its people’s civil liberties to the NSA and are now looking to scale some of this back; on this side of the Atlantic, the UK are pushing forward with this Bill. The very proposals that Edward Snowden referred to via Twitter as “… the most intrusive and least accountable surveillance regime in the west.” But to add irony to injury, he also tweeted “… the UK has secretly engaged in domestic mass surveillance since 1984.” Since 1984? Someone in our security services clearly has a sense of humour.

Also gone seem to be the days where protests by humanitarian and civil liberty groups were restricted to civil wars in parts of Africa or right wing dictatorships in Asia or South America. They have become part and parcel of Westminster Governments in recent years and are particular synonymous with the current UK Government.

The pressure group Liberty described this latest proposal as “a breath-taking attack on (the) internet security” of everyone in Britain, whilst Amnesty International described how it won’t help catch terrorists; it will be used to control what we do; we are being sold “a false choice of safety or freedom”; and the Bill “fundamentally threatens free speech online”.

Even David Davies MP (Conservative) is vehemently against the Bill’s impact on civil liberties when he said that it was “undemocratic, unnecessary and in the long run – intolerable”. However, I would suggest the most appropriate way of summarising the motives behind recent events would be to refer to the prominent Englishman, Thomas Paine, who supported America in the American wars of independence. He suggested that “the greatest tyrannies are always perpetuated in the name of the noblest cause.”

 

I fear the worst.

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