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Is the government undermining our democracy? Part 1

(54 Posts)
Dinahmo Wed 17-Mar-21 00:15:19

I believe that it is because of the reduction of time given to parliamentary scrutiny of proposed legislation.

My first example is the policing bill currently going through parliament. The govt unveiled the 300 page bill one week before its first reading - hardly sufficient time for it to be thoroughly digested.

This bill includes an increase in prison sentences for people found guilty of attacking statues, thus making the sentences longer than those handed down for attacking women.

The bill also includes plans to put plain clothes police officers in night clubs in order to improve security and protect women. I would have thought that officers on the beat generate a better feeling of security. A supporter of this is Tommy Robinson who has been raising groups of volunteers to protect statues during the BLM demonstrations, including a statue of George Eliot.

Lastly the bill increases police powers to stop protests on grounds including noise and disruption to the public. Having lived in Brixton during the 80s riots (just off Railton Road, so close to the centre) I am very much aware of how the powers to stop and search were regularly abused. I also remember hearing Frederick Raphael on Any Questions describing ow he was stopped by the police when driving through Essex in a Jaguar - no reason given. More recently, the new Archbishop of York has spoken of his time as Bishop of Stepney when driving he was stopped on several occasions because he's black and only black crooks drive expensive cars. (I'm paraphrasing here)

My second example is the proposed introduction of voter ID, supposedly to stop voter fraud. Apparently 11 million people in the UK do not have a passport or a driving license. In the UK GE of 2019 there were 34 allegations of people pretending to be someone else at polling stations, compared with 58 million who voted legitimately. This really is an example of a steamroller to crack a nut, and an expensive one too.

Grany Wed 17-Mar-21 15:17:03

Grany Wed 17-Mar-21 15:11:42

“Despite the High Court ruling in our favour last month that Matt Hancock had broken the law in failing to publish pandemic contracts, the failures continue,” say Good Law Project.

They’re talking about further details of unpublished PPE contracts that came to light in a BBC report this week.

The report focused on the owner of a dog food firm who brokered PPE deals worth £258m between the Government and a Hong Kong firm, earning herself at least £1m.

Good Law Project launched new legal action yesterday to challenge the Government’s continued failure to publish contracts.

They are also challenging the Government’s decision "to obscure the key provisions in contracts", with many of those being published in heavily redacted form. They say that some contracts do not even show what was purchased or at what price.

The Director of Good Law Project, Jolyon Maugham asks: “If they have nothing to hide, why won’t they publish?” Read more here.

NotSpaghetti Wed 17-Mar-21 12:46:06

I also remember Tony Blair with sadness and dismay. The Iraq war was a crime as far as I can see.

Now we have Johnson who is YES, undermining our democracy.
He and his cronies have a cavalier attitude to all that I feel is good in this country.

Regarding the warheads, gypsy communities, ID cards, police powers, street lights, protest, and safety etc. each of these us worthy of it's own post. Sadly, the onslaught is such that some of us are exhausted. We have written to our MPs, voted, lobbied, linked with various causes - but just like the Iraq War - in our hearts we know it's to no no avail.

Dinahmo Wed 17-Mar-21 12:27:40

GG13 being a cashless society hasn't stopped fraud and tax evasions. The accountancy press and forums have many instances of fake furlough claims.

The newly self employed are now being allowed to claim the SEISS grant, based upon their 2020 tax returns. However, they are required to go through a 7 step verification process, which includes answering a phone call from an unidentified number and using a DropBox to upload their IDs and bank statements. The bank statements are to prove that they have been trading during 2019/20. I always thought that was the point of filing an SA Tax Return!

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 12:26:11

I may be odd as a Conservative voter who sees and recognises the present Governments shortcomings.

Dinahmo I can never forgive Tony Blair because instead of being present at his sisters and brother’s baptism ceremony our eldest was on an army transport plane on his way to Iraq!!!!!

Dinahmo Wed 17-Mar-21 12:18:02


Grany I would rather they order new and more efficient tanks for our Army, which has been underfunded by a succession of Governments across all political parties.

Have you forgotten Tony Blair warmonger in chief?

No, we haven't forgotten. Many of us will have demonstrated and joined the march through Central London demonstrating against the Iraq War. I didn't, because of my asthma which was bad at that time. My OH did - he was part of one of the samba bands marching.

Why do you think so many LP members and supporters dislike him. At least we remember his shortcomings.

suziewoozie Wed 17-Mar-21 11:26:00


Hopefully when this Bill reaches the H of Ls it will be given the scrutiny it needs and amends will be made.

It will be scrutinised in the H of C first as it’s moving to the Committee Stage. That’s when the serious horse trading with later H of L scrutiny

maddyone Wed 17-Mar-21 10:51:09

I agree with GrannyGravy.

icanhandthemback Wed 17-Mar-21 10:48:41

I am not against ID cards per se but do think they are open to identity fraud. If we had them (like other perfectly civilised, democratic countries) it would be a good way of ensuring voter fraud didn't take place. Whilst I don't think voter fraud is so rife, I think the prosecuted cases don't accurately reflect the level so any system which helps make the process as secure as possible won't go amiss.
I am torn on the Police Bill. I can quite understand the worries about the right to peacefully protest being infringed but I guess the concern is that protests are not as peaceful as they should be. I can't get my head around statues being lengthier than the sentences meted out to rapists, child molesters, etc. I recently sat in court listening to how penetrative sex offences against a 6-9 year old were not considered as so serious and the perpetrator was given very generous dispensations for early guilty pleas and COVID. Of course I was glad the perpetrator received 6 years (out in 3) but I left the court feeling that the law was totally out of touch with the damage suffered by the victims.

MaizieD Wed 17-Mar-21 10:46:13


Sorry folks but resorting to quoting Trump and Hitler in my opinion means that you have no other credible discussion.

Sorry, GG13, but resorting to denigrating references to Trump and Hitler (except I never mentioned Hitler) in my opinion means that the poster has learned absolutely nothing at all from history and is refusing to acknowledge what shapes the principles and practice of government.

The definition of madness, according to popular meme, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Just look at the actions of Trump and Hitler and tell us what the tories are doing is different? They've even got Goebbels's lying technique off pat... How is the end result going to be different?

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:39:06

Hopefully when this Bill reaches the H of Ls it will be given the scrutiny it needs and amends will be made.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:37:59

MaizieD XR shutting down parts of central London did cause upheaval to our business, protesters gluing themselves to trains caused DD’s partner upheaval on getting into work (along with frightening several of his female work colleagues).

In no way do I think our right to protest should be removed, but protest against the Government, disrupt their working day not those of ordinary folk trying to earn a living.

MaizieD Wed 17-Mar-21 10:27:59


I actually would really like to know how supporters of voter Id would operationalise it for those without passports or driving licenses

I'd really like to know how often supporters of voter ID have felt that their votes have been cast in an election rendered invalid by widespread cheating to such an extent that it's no longer safe to take voters on trust?

I'd also be interested to know how many of those applauding a crackdown on dissent by making protests/demonstrations just about impossible, have been seriously affected or inconvenienced by a demonstration (or demonstrations)? If they feel that they have, just how many times has it happened in their lifetimes?

Do you realise that not only does this bill give the police powers to entirely control any demonstration, to the extent of practically controlling it out of existence, but if, by some miracle, a demonstration manages to slip through the net, the Home Secretary has given her self a statutory power to declare any demonstration illegal. If the police don't get you, the Home Secretary will...

Please don't tell me that there are people on Gnet who actually think that our right to demonstrate (i.e oppose government policy or actions) should be totally removed?

AcornFairy Wed 17-Mar-21 10:23:19

Back to the reference to lack of parliamentary scrutiny in the OP. Parliament – our elected representatives – has become overwhelmed, with the pandemic arriving as what could be seen as the final straw. Surely we need more MPs to deal with everything that the state feels it needs to control; MPs drawn from those members of the public with the interests of this nation at heart and not just those with deep pockets. This would presumably mean that their election campaigns are publicly funded. So it’s all rather pie-in-the-sky ……

MaizieD Wed 17-Mar-21 10:17:02


Actually I wouldn't have liked Nazi Germany because my grandmother was Jewish.

In which case, perhaps you need to think a bit harder about things like 'traveller passports' and look a bit carefully at how the Nazi's took control of the country through suppression of dissent and stop posting nonsense about 'law abiding citizens having nothing to fear'.

Some of this bill is actually focussed on essentially creating new law not strengthening existing law.

P.S I have Jewish ancestry, too. Fortunately they lived in countries where Jews weren't stigmatised and eliminated.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:12:37

Grany I would rather they order new and more efficient tanks for our Army, which has been underfunded by a succession of Governments across all political parties.

Have you forgotten Tony Blair warmonger in chief?

Nandalot Wed 17-Mar-21 10:12:31

This really needs three threads! I am most concerned about the restrictions on the right to protest. Yes, there may be occasions when protests go too far but there are usually laws to cover that but peaceful protest is important in a democracy. As has been stated up thread two of our most important social advances, votes for women and the abolition of slavery were gained through pressure by protest. This is a draconian measure; a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Grany Wed 17-Mar-21 10:08:19

As a deterrent, 195 warheads is many more than enough. How many times do these damned fools think they can blow up the world?

Yes – Johnson has said there is no money available to prevent nurses from receiving a real-terms pay cut, yet it seems he has plenty to spaff around on penis-substitutes that nobody in their right mind would ever take out of their box.

He’s going to halt a planned reduction of our nuclear stockpile to 180 warheads and instead increase it to 260 – a rise of around 45 per cent. Nobody’s saying what this will cost but we’re looking at many billions of pounds.

Let’s not bother with a ‘Children in Need’ day this year.

Let’s have a ‘Trident in Need’ day and give all of those nuclear billions to poor children instead.

The Terrifying $1.2 Trillion Plan That Could Kill 90% of Humanity | Stephen Fry

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:07:38

If we remove all the CCTV cameras there will be many action groups siting they will cause more crime, make women and children feel unsafe on the streets.

The smartphone generation (even PC’s and iPads can be tracked/traced) are never going to give them up.

Going back to a cash society will generate all the arguments regarding money laundering, dodgy deals and tax evasions.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:04:03


Cross post GG13 The last sentence of your post puts chills up my spine, honestly. Just because we can do it doesn't mean that we should.

I sort of agree with you, but just cannot see any Government being able to turn the tide, whatever political party.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:02:04

Oops correction they receive their NI card just before their sixteenth birthday, apologies

Alegrias1 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:02:00

Cross post GG13 The last sentence of your post puts chills up my spine, honestly. Just because we can do it doesn't mean that we should.

Alegrias1 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:00:58

It wasn't a comment about you GG13, I know it wasn't you who used this term.

But for me its just a step too far to have to have a "pass" to prove who we are just to live in our own country.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:00:40


I actually would really like to know how supporters of voter Id would operationalise it for those without passports or driving licenses

We are all in receipt of a NHS number given ant birth (I still have my original card, I guess they are digital nowadays) .

When youngsters reach 18 they receive their NI card, systems are in place for these with all our details shouldn’t be that difficult to add ID card to the list?

All senior schools /colleges in our area and others that I know of have to have photographic ID badges on lanyards for entry into various buildings and some even have lunch credits on them.

The systems and software are available.

Dinahmo Wed 17-Mar-21 09:56:47

suziewoozie Please don't get depressed but do get angry. I just don't understand why some of the other posters on here think there is nothing wrong with the govt's behaviour.

Firecracker123 I've read all the above posts and see nothing loony or over the top about any of thee posts, apart from GG13's comments on permits for Travellers.

The problem is that all you nice people think that because you are law abiding you won't fall foul of the police. But it could happen to you. Think of Jean Charles de Menezes - killed by the police at Stockwell tube station. And there are many other similar examples.