UK’s Labour Party conference is being held at Brighton this week. The UK Labour Party is currently enjoying huge support and is likely to form the next government. UK’s Labour Party is a Socialist party.
One aspect of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s speech today is getting reported: his commitment to end Public Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts.The NHS is burdened with many PFI debts.
The international director of the campaign group Cage has appeared in court charged with obstructing or frustrating an examination under counter-terrorism stop-and-search powers for refusing to hand over passwords.
Muhammad Rabbani was stopped coming back into Heathrow by police, who had advance information of his travel plans, Westminster magistrates court was told.
Rabbani, 36, was arrested at the airport on 20 November last year under the Terrorism Act. He refused to hand over passwords to an iPhone and laptop he was carrying.
Rabbani said that to hand over such details would breach his privacy, and that schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 did not give officers the right to demand that he hand over the passwords.
The director of Cage has pleaded not guilty to a charge that “on 20 November 2016, at Heathrow airport, he did wilfully obstruct, or sought to frustrate, an examination or search”.
Rabbani said in a statement after the verdict that the judgment highlighted the “absurdity of the Schedule 7 law” and called for it to be reformed. “If privacy and confidentiality are crimes, then the law stands condemned,” he said. “They accept that at no point was I under suspicion, and that ultimately this was a matter of having been profiled at a port … Schedule 7 actively discriminates, and this will hopefully be the start of a number of legal challenges as more people take courage to come forward.”
During the trial, Rabbani’s lawyer, Henry Blaxland, questioned three police officers who were responsible for carrying out the search at the airport. The most senior officer acknowledged that Rabbani had not been randomly stopped, and was instead deliberately targeted for reasons that were not disclosed. Prior to the trial, Rabbani had told The Intercept he believed the authorities may have wanted to obtain a copy of the information provided to him by his contact in the Middle East. He had been searched on several prior occasions, he said, but never before had police seemed so determined to gain access to his electronic devices.
Schedule 7 is supposed to be used solely to determine whether a person is directly involved in the “commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.” In 2013, however, the power was used to detain David Miranda, the partner of Intercept co-founding editor Glenn Greenwald, in an effort to impede reporting on documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Miranda’s detention caused controversy in the U.K., and aspects of Schedule 7 were subsequently changed. Police were issued with a revised code of practice that told them they must not review or copy information which they have grounds to believe is attorney-client privileged, is journalistic material, or is another kind of information held in confidence, which a person has “acquired or created in the course of any trade, business, profession or other occupation.”
The shadow home secretary experienced the vast majority of online abuse sent to women MPs, and had 10 times more abusive tweets sent to her than any other figure in the run up to the election. She also suffered eight times more abuse in the whole six month period which was analysed.
The research, conducted by Amnesty International, looked at messages sent in the period between January 1 and June 8. In this time she received almost a third of all the abuse directed at women political figures.
The list of the five female politicians who received the most abuse included two other Labour MPs, with Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, and Jess Phillips, chair of the women’s PLP, coming in third and fourth respectively. Joanna Cherry, SNP MP, got the second most abuse and Anna Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe and a prominent Europhile, being placed fifth in the ranking.
However, Abbott’s level of abuse far outstrips those mentioned, with the trailblazing Hackney North MP receiving 31.6 per cent of abusive tweets, and the rest of the top five getting nearer three per cent of abusive tweets. She also received more abusive tweets than all the women in the SNP and Conservative party combined in the six month period.
Ethnic minority women politicians, excluding Abbott, received 35 per cent more abuse than white women. Some 5.8 per cent of all tweets sent mentioning Abbott’s twitter handle were classified as abusive.
The report found that “intersectional discrimination” meant that a figure who had more than one identity, e.g. if LGBT, BAME or disabled, meant that they were then more likely to face abuse.
In a New Statesman article describing the report, Amnesty’s researcher in technology and human rights Azmina Dhrodia writes: “Diane Abbott standing out in our analysis is an acute example of how intersectional discrimination works. The abuse that she faces is not just sexist and misogynistic; it’s also incredibly racist.”
“Nearly 90 years after women won the right to vote, there is a real danger that the high levels of online abuse against women MPs will have a chilling effect on women taking part in public life — particularly women of colour. This is not only detrimental in terms of the possible long-term effect on the representation of women in politics in the UK but also continues to deepen societal inequality between genders.”