Just checking in

Just checking in. Brexit poll a week from today looks bad news if the opinion polls are accurate. Nigel “No more Mr. Nice Guy” Farage’s party of bigots and climate change enthusiasts may do well. Unfortunately he has the support of a lot of angry, misguided people who somehow genuinely believe that Brexit is in their interests. He plans to try yet again to join the “Westminster elite” which he condemns after seven failed attempts. There are many unanswered questions about Farage dealings, Trump (and the Clinton emails), Assange, Cambridge Analytica, Arron Banks, the dodgy Brexit campaign donation funnelled through Arron Banks’ dodgy offshore company …

Coming soon: the great universal credit deception

After years of ministers pretending otherwise, Amber Rudd, the DWP secretary, now admits universal credit’s introduction has left people so short of cash that they have resorted to food banks. What Iain Duncan Smith hailed in 2011 as a transformation of welfare has turned into something grotesque, with massive delays and huge flaws both of administration and design, repeatedly damned by MP select committees. The independent National Audit Office judges that universal credit has neither saved public money nor helped people into work. But it has left thousands of vulnerable claimants penniless, while others starve and even lose their homes. In a House of Commons debate last summer the London Labour MP Catherine West recounted how one of her constituents had “fallen off benefits” and ended up “sleeping in a tent in a bin chamber” on a housing estate.

Such are the horrors whose very documentation by journalists the DWP letter dismisses as “unfair”. Rather than halt universal credit, as demanded by so many groups, the department’s managers now say they will respond “in a different way … very different to anything we’ve done before”.

What follows is an elaborate media strategy to manufacture a Whitehall fantasy, one in which the benefits system is running like a dream while a Conservative government generously helps people on the escalator to prosperity. It begins at the end of this month with a giant advert wrapped around the cover of the Metro newspaper; inside will be a further four-page advertorial feature. This will “myth-bust the common inaccuracies reported on UC”. What’s more, “the features won’t look or feel like DWP or UC – you won’t see our branding … We want to grab the readers’ attention and make them wonder who has done this ‘UC uncovered’ investigation.”

Not only is this a costly exercise, with a Metro wraparound going for a headline rate of £250,000 (of your money, let’s not forget), but the Advertising Standards Authority will doubtless be interested in that description of the feature. Its guidelines stipulate that“marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications”

Under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) the state – probably the Home Secretary – could make secret orders which could never be revealed. That sounds familiar somehow. RIPA has since been replaced by the Investigatory Powers Act but I’m sure that similar laws still exist. It’s a way for the state to attack people while hiding. A hypothetical example – the state could interfere in a political activist’s affairs e.g. frustrating complaints, actually denying the activist’s human rights so that the activist would be consumed with pressing more personal issues and thereby distracted from the bigger political issues. People tend to change their jobs and move away in my experience. Isn’t that the obvious thing to do if you’ve been prevented from doing your job and prevented from discussing it with anyone under threat of imprisonment? I think that the way to deal with this nonsense is to carry on regardless so that many more people become aware of these actions against democracy (even if they can’t discuss it with anyone).

Continue ReadingJust checking in

Theresa May, you either hear me or you don’t sign it

Theresa May, Home Secretary

I know it doesn’t have to be you – it can be some Chief Constable

but I’ll hold you responsible

because as Home Secretary,

you are responsible

You’re either going to lift this RIPA order on me

[actually it may be many RIPA orders: They tend to say according to RIPA you will do this and not tell anyone under threat of serious imprisonment. RIPA is about don’t tell anyone (even your solicitor) or you’ll be imprisoned. So there may be many RIPA orders. If I get one I’ll publish it.]

OR

account for it

OK?

ed: and I suggest that RIPA orders are so anti-democratic, why not publish them? I would really not be surprised if RIPA orders have been for political rather than any other purpose. Time to publish them? You could always pretend that they were leaked ..

The one on my ISP is … Don’t let him have his stats – don’t let him know how many people visit his website. How does that serve any useful purpose other than hit the political activist? What else can it achieve?

It’s weird isn’t it? I think that it is right that I should be given the opportunity to respond to the charges made against me. Shouldn’t I have the opportunity to defend myself against these charges made against me? Apparently not, lucky I don’t live in Pak.

Why is there so much hostility to me? There is so much hostility to me because I have been a successful political activist. The problem is that for invisible and unaccountable processes unknown to me where I have no opportunity to represent myself to seek to silence me is not appropriate for a democratic society.

I call you Fascist. I call you Fascist not only for silencing dissent but for repressing any political opposition.

Theresa May, The Tory, Lib-Tory coalition you lift this RIPA political repression immediately. Now.

You have to justify it anyway and you have to justify why it continues. Now and advise everyone that these RIPA orders are lifted NOW, not tomorrow. NOW.

You cancel these RIPA orders now. Theresa May, Home Secretary you lift these RIPA orders now because political activism is legitimate activity. Now.

Theresa May, Home Secretary, You have to recognise my absolute right to express myself. I am a political activist and I have an absolute right to criticise you and your government.

This is how it’s going to be. You are not going to interfere with my right to express myself in any way. Got it? If you are going to sign these RIPA orders or allow some subordinates to do it, then you are going to allow me the opportunity to challenge it. Got it?

That’s the least I expect from a democratic society.

I know fully well that my home has been bugged, that a car I have often use of has been bugged and that an occasional friend of mine’s home has been been bugged. I consider that that’s excessively unreasonable and out of order. I’m sure that any concerned newspaper could confirm this – they’re still going to be there. Any newspapers interested?

I am actually concerned about govt spying even before all this started – back in 2000/1 or so … not against me even. There may even be evidence of that.

Continue ReadingTheresa May, you either hear me or you don’t sign it