Lordy Lordy, Haven’t You Been Naughty

Current Events

19th January 2022

It’s certainly been a frightening month. On 8 December, amendments to the infamous Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill made their way into the House of Lords, where they have been debated by everyone’s favourite unelected chamber of aristocrats. It was at this late stage in the process that the Home Office’s personal patrician Susan Frances Maria Williams, the Baroness of Trafford, attempted to force through a number of despicably despotic amendments that would have made a bad bill even worse. Lock-ons and roadblocks were to be banned. Police were to be granted the ability to stop-and-search anyone for no reason at all. And the simple act of attempting to protest was to be met with a criminal record and years in prison.

This devious, underhanded attempt to subvert democracy through already undemocratic means was no less than terrifying. But despite the best efforts of the Tories to push it through, it was thankfully rejected by a broad coalition of peers from Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Crossbenchers. On 17 January, Baroness Williams’ legislative coup was defeated by the very institution she had hoped would pave the way for her own authoritarian ambitions. The government was beaten at its own silly game.[1]

The is undoubtedly a great victory for all lovers of liberty, one worth celebrating. But this was just one battle, the war is far from over. The amendments that did make it through[2] will be added to the Bill and debated one last time by the Lords next week, on 25 January. This provides one final opportunity for the government’s petty peers to amend the Bill as they see fit. The amended Bill will then be returned to the House of Commons for one final debate. We can only hope that Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition pulls its head out of its arse long enough to actually oppose something for once.

With all this being said, the Bill still has a very good chance of making its way into law, even in an amended form. While the more horrific elements of it will not be included, it still effectively criminalizes any protest that the police deem “annoying”. Given annoyance is almost fundamental to protests, which can annoy anyone from random passers-by to even the protesters themselves, it should be clear that freedom of assembly is still very much under attack. After all, it wasn’t Baroness William’s shocking amendments that got us up in arms in the first place and we shouldn’t forget that. We still need to Kill the Bill.

We also shouldn’t neglect that this is far from the only threat to freedom that Susan Williams is trying to force through Parliament. The disgusting Nationality and Borders Bill, which would put millions of people at risk of losing their citizenship and would sanction the murder of refugees in the Channel, is making its way into Committee Stage. On 27 January, the Lords will be able to start amending this lethal legislation and you can all bet that the Baroness of Trafford has some even more despicable ideas up her sleeve.

While the entire political and media establishment is working itself up into a frenzy over some farcical scandal, burying tyranny beneath the low-hanging fruit of hypocrisy, it may be easy to forget about our continued slide into Fascism.[3] But we cannot allow ourselves to look away at the spectacle and overlook what it is deliberately obscuring. We cannot allow ourselves to shrug at slightly-milder despotism and concede our freedoms to it. We cannot just give up and go away.

We are Anarchy. We are the Mob. We will not yield. We will not break. We are coming.

Emma Hayes
Emma is a nomadic Scottish anarchist with a creative passion for destruction.

[1] It should be noted that these amendments weren’t the only ones that were defeated. One proposing the establishment of a “Women’s Justice Board” and another demanding an inquiry into the death of Sarah Everard were both struck down by the Tories, with the help of nearly 100 Labour Lords that didn’t even bother to show up. The defeat of these amendments paint a grim picture of the two major parties: the Conservatives are against justice for women and Labour doesn’t even care.

[2] Many of these amendments notably scrap some of the Bill’s more draconian clauses, granting some respite for those fearing a dramatic increase of police powers. The Vagrancy Act may also finally be repealed after nearly 2 centuries and misogyny could soon be considered a hate crime.

[3] This is not hyperbole and should not be taken as such. The PCSC Bill represents a violent hostility to dissent and the NB Bill displays a chauvinistic fear of difference, both key characteristics of Fascism. Have yourself a read of Umberto Eco’s Ur-Fascism, see how many of the boxes you have seen our government tick.

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