The UK is known as a democracy around the world. This is why there is increasingly alarmed commentary on a new bill working its way through parliament. The Police and crime bill like many bills is a large complicated piece of work. I am sure that it has some positive things inside it, but there are significant numbers of negative ones which will cause issues for many of the subjects that this website addresses.
On new years day Priti Patel announced that she was going to concentrate on cracking down on Eco protestors during 2022. The bill contains all sorts of astounding bits. Police will be able to stop or constrain protest – they will even be able to fine protesters for inadvertent breaches of restrictions that the “ought” to know.
Why is this a problem? Well, because as a world we are facing joint problems with the climate crisis, and the extinction crisis.
In neither field is the government pulling its weight! We are a wealthy country, yet we are doing little to help in either respect.
It is particularly concerning, that this law is being pushed through on the understanding that police need to be protected from violence – even though in most instances, the violence is both started by and mostly done by the police to the protesters. Upping stress levels in the protestors is also a regular method, which often naturally leads to violence -then blamed on the protestors. One such method is kettling where large numbers of people are forced into a small area and then not let out.
Delegitimising protest at this time is an afront to British freedoms. If the police (and the law) start viewing all protest as illegitimate it changes how they police it.
Currently, there are two substantial threats to a healthy planet earth. The first is climate change and the second is extinction rebellion. Extinction rebellion has on many occasions done things that are extremely disruptive, however, to basically give the police the power to delegitimize protest is far to large a step in the other direction for a free country.
What has the UK done to fight climate change?
Now we may well have done better than some other countries, however, look at the increase in emissions from imports. Last March it was announced that we had reduced our carbon footprint by 51% excluding aviation and the carbon footprint of our imports. We live in a global world- if we cut our emissions in the UK, but increase them abroad by getting other countries to make what we use, the impact is identical.
This strikes me as a perfect example of a government which needs to be challenged. Yet protests against the governments inaction will become illegal without approval – by definition not freedom.
Extinction rebellion has likewise caused many problems. Now like many of you, I have been inconvenienced by their actions in the past however they are raise an important issue. The more of the natural world we loose the worse it is for us. The natural world should be valued far more simply for being wild, yet there are huge services that the natural world supplies for us anyway. Rainforest loss will likely turn vast areas to desert, and cause large areas to be come incapable of growing crops. What untold medicines lie undiscovered in the last great rainforests -destined to be cut down before they unveil their secrets.
With politics as it is, it is often not in the interests of an elected government to do things that will only come to fruition in decades time, they need to be re-elected every 5 years. A democracy, particularly at times like this, must allow demonstrators. On these two issues the government is not acting with enough urgency
We must not be silenced! Now, I say this writing in a blog. The last time I looked, this blog is usually read at least a few thousand times. It is unfortunately far easier for the government to ignore these sorts of media.
Will Boris Johnson survive? Who knows, though it is clear that he should not. Labour is currently far ahead in the polls. However, as the Conservatives do not need to face the public in an election for another 3 years, it is not something that they need to worry about at the moment. For my British readers, do write to you MP! it is an alarmingly authoritarian step, and it must be stopped if we are to be able to pressure our government to act to save our planet from the worst of the potential damage.