The year of living dangerously

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill threatens our right to peaceful protest, with a potential 51-week jail sentence.

Changes to the Official Secrets Act will threaten journalists’ ability to expose governments’ wrongdoing using information provided by whistleblowers. 

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill limits citizens’ ability to challenge the Government in the courts. 

The Bill of Rights to be introduced this year will weaken our rights relative to the Human Rights Act (which it will replace).

The repeal of the Fixed Term Parliament Act will give the Prime Minister full power to choose the date for an election.

 The Elections Bill, by requiring voters to show photo ID, will potentially disenfranchise over 2 million people, with a disproportionate effect on black, Asian and ethnic minority voters.

It will also give the Government significant powers to control the remit of the currently independent Electoral Commission.

 And it will introduce First Past the Post for mayoral elections in England, making it easier for Conservative candidates to win.

Power sans frontières

 The Nationality and Borders Bill will allow UK officials to tow asylum seekers back out to sea if they try to cross the Channel, putting their lives at greater risk.

 It will also allow the Government to “offshore” asylum seekers while their application is processed, despite well-documented reports of abuse and suffering where Australia has adopted the same policy.

 If you’re a British citizen born overseas, or a dual national, the Nationality and Borders Bill will allow the Government to strip you of your citizenship without telling you.

 As the Bill stands, it will fail to grant EU nationals physical proof of their settled status in the UK – meaning they may lose their jobs, lose out on rental opportunities, and have trouble travelling in and out of the UK.

It’s not only the legislation. The Government’s systematic use of divisive language, propaganda and misinformation arguably pose just as big a threat to our freedoms. One glaring example is the notion that the “unelected” have no authority to challenge the Government.

As if to underline the dangers we face, @pritipatel released this utterly shameful video today. It’s a timely reminder that we must keep raising the alarm, and doing what we can to influence parliament: none of the legislation mentioned above is yet law.

More and more people are seeing this Government for what it is. We need to help keep those numbers growing. We have too much to lose. ENDS 

Twitter thread version of an articles first published by Byline Times on 23 December 2021 and reproduced here with permission.