“Kill the Bill” was how we responded when Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill first made its way into the Commons. It proposed an overhaul to criminal justice, chiefly by making existing punishments for crimes much worse and introducing new ones that had troubling implications. This bill effectively criminalised protest, making it illegal to hold a demonstration that could potentially cause “annoyance”. We rioted, just as any people should when their freedoms are being threatened, when their lives are at risk of falling under a dictatorship.
But our protests were of no use, up against a government that wanted to do away with us and a police that were more than happy to oblige them. Our elected legislature, dominated by a party of elites marching in lockstep with their despotic leaders, voted in favour of the bill, secure in the knowledge that they’ll never be “annoyed” by the people ever again. Per our decrepit traditions that insist on the continued political empowerment of the nobility and clergy, the bill went through to the Lords for debate. Some placed their hopes in the supposed apolitical virtue of our aristocratic class to deliver us from tyranny, while others began to worry what those unelected sections of the ruling class had in store.
It’s difficult to penetrate the legalese deep enough to find out what these old fossils want to inflict on us. Initially these amendments didn’t seem so bad, with a number of attempts to reign in many of the more draconian aspects of the bill, some even trying to bolt-on their own ideas of what progressive justice legislation could be. But towards the end of the document you begin to dig up some incredibly heinous proposals.
Indeed, despite the best attempts of more humanitarian personalities within our aristocratic establishment, there are clearly within the government that are keen to make a bad bill worse. The Minister of State for Home Affairs Susan Williams was kind enough to mark her authoritarian aspirations with a star, just in case any anarcho-agitators out there might have lost it within all the drivel.
Baroness Williams makes no efforts to hide her disdain for the environmentalist protesters that have been such a pain in the Conservative Party’s arse in recent years. Lock-ons? Ban it. Blocking roads? Ban it. Standing on top a tube car preventing workers from getting home after a long day? You’d better believe they’re banning it. Indeed, if Extinction Rebellion’s performative protests and martyrdom complexes were supposed to invite repression, then they did their job. Because mere weeks after the Glasgow climate summit ended is the government focusing its energies not on helping the environment, but on clamping down on environmentalists.
Williams then brazenly calls for police to be granted “powers to stop and search without suspicion”, an amendment that would expand the already broad reach of the racist British police, by giving those bigoted cops a blank check to terrorise people as they please.
But saving best for last, Williams’ “serious disruption prevention order” goes into multiple pages of detail as to her plans for British dissidents: protesting is to be made illegal. This amendment outlines that any people convicted of a protest-related offence would be prohibited from taking part in any protests for up to 2 years, under penalty of a 1-year prison sentence. It should be no controversial statement to say that the adoption of this amendment into law would mark the definitive end of freedom of assembly in the United Kingdom. Many activists reading this now will know if and how this retroactive repression applies to them, although many of them may not know what to do about it.
Some might be happy to hear that these laws will not apply in Scotland, where policing is its own devolved matter. But before all of you start packing your bags and heading north of Hadrian’s Wall, consider what we have just seen. Only last month, 10,000 English police invaded Scottish soil to terrorise those that were simply attempting to hold their leaders to account. The Westminster junta does not care about Scotland’s laws, it barely cares about its own. What it cares about is control.
How can this be all that the British state cares about, surely it is better than this? Well it is not. These heavy-handed approaches to violating the population are no stranger to the British state. The Tudor slob Henry VIII was one of the first to implement authoritarian rule, when the English reformation forced generations of Catholics underground, lest they fear the wrath of the divine monarchy. In the 1790s, the Tory saint William Pitt the Younger responded to the revolutionary wave that had swept America and Europe by establishing a police state, dedicated to sweeping out any dissident elements who dared imagine a better society than one ruled by king and cronies. During World War II, the government decided that in order to fight totalitarianism it had to adopt totalitarianism, enforcing the internment of conscientious objectors and the conscription of workers into a regime of forced labour.
Our current system draws from this history of domestic oppression, with one new ingredient thrown into the mix: the colonial boomerang. While living British people may not have known the iron fist of their benefactor state until recently, the many colonies of the Empire knew it like their own hands. Ireland experienced hundreds of years of colonial dictatorship at the hands of its English occupiers, who dissolved the peoples’ ancestral legal codes in favour of its own despotic rules. During the early-20th century in India, anyone even vaguely suspected of contributing to the anti-imperialist cause was subject to arbitrary internment, anyone that dared protest against their treatment by the colonisers were liable to be murdered by colonial cops. In 1969, the Metropolitan police invaded Anguilla in order to suppress its own breakaway from the empire, bringing it back into the imperial core where it remains as an “overseas territory” to this day. What we are experiencing now is what those on the receiving end of the British Empire have experienced for hundreds of years, our colonial policing system has simply come home to roost.
It is for this reason that we must make something clear: the United Kingdom and all its institutions must be liquidated. The urge to restrain and reform its more oppressive impulses is a noble desire, but a foolish one. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill merely represents the culmination of centuries of governmental autocracy, these amendments mark only the latest targets for its repressive apparatus. No matter how much we protest, petition or plea with our rulers to do otherwise, this bill will make its way through parliament and into law. We will lose our freedom of assembly and it will only be the first of many freedoms that will be lost in the coming years.
The opposition will not save us. The aristocrats and their moribund monarch will not deliver us. The police will not look at their new powers and simply decide to be delicate in their approach. The British state is designed to be this way. It has been designed to be this way for nearly a thousand years.
Our solution to the coming regime cannot be one of light nudges and petty gestures, it must be one of fire and carnage. If the Westminster junta cannot deal with our right to say “no” to their edicts and diktats, then it becomes necessary to say “no” to the whole damn thing. Once this bill passes, and it will pass, it must be taken as a sign to put a torch to the entire legal regime of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts. A sign that our own justice system is not fit for purpose, that we must replace it with one that we can ourselves implement and control. A new justice system, designed for the pursuit of justice, rather than persecution.
If the state cannot respect our dissent, then why should we accept its existence? ■
On Wednesday 8 December, the House of Lords will begin amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Join the protest at 5-7pm in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster (adjacent to Lambeth Bridge north side).
 With the exception of abstentions by a few quivering cowards, Johnny Mercer (Moor View), Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot) and Charles Walker (Broxbourne), the entire Parliamentary Conservative Party voted for the bill. The abstentions were joined by the Brownite snake Steve McCabe (Selly Oak), but it was otherwise opposed by everyone else.
 These include an amendment to respect the “right to protest”, supported by the former Fabian Alf Dubs, the embodiment of upper-class environmentalism Jenny Jones, the cop-turned-Liberal-Aristocrat Brian Paddick, and our own libertarian Lord Peter Hain.
 One of which includes the implementation of a Women’s Justice Board, proposed by the Liberal Lords Jonathan Marks and Mike German. Another includes the repeal of the 1824 Vagrancy Act, by Richard Best, the former Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill, the Blairite stooge Charlie Falconer and the Aussie vanguard of the Green Party’s golden age Natalie Bennett.
 Racialised people are already six times more likely to be stopped than white people.
Award winning outsider artist . Illustrator . Punker