Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 15:53 UTC
Legal

The UK is about to become one of the world's foremost surveillance states, allowing its police and intelligence agencies to spy on its own people to a degree that is unprecedented for a democracy. The UN's privacy chief has called the situation "worse than scary." Edward Snowden says it’s simply "the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy."

The legislation in question is called the Investigatory Powers Bill. It's been cleared by politicians and awaits only the formality of royal assent before it becomes law. The bill will legalize the UK's global surveillance program, which scoops up communications data from around the world, but it will also introduce new domestic powers, including a government database that stores the web history of every citizen in the country. UK spies will be empowered to hack individuals, internet infrastructure, and even whole towns - if the government deems it necessary.

"Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame?"

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RE: Why brexit?
by BeamishBoy on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 19:32 UTC in reply to "Why brexit?"
BeamishBoy
Member since:
2010-10-27

I have no idea why he's mentioned Brexit in relation to the Investigatory Powers bill either.*

It's certainly not because they snuck it in: the IPB has been widely and intensively covered in British media despite the current preoccupation with Trump and Britain leaving the EU.

*: Nor, for that matter, do I see the relevance of mentioning the EDL (a hopelessly fringe movement) or electoral reform (which, er, the people voted overwhelmingly against in a 2011 referendum).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Why brexit?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 19:48 in reply to "RE: Why brexit?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

They're all signs of increased nationalism and racism, which are always - ALWAYS - based on fear, and an afraid people are a gullible people. Gullible enough, even, to sign away their rights - rights people fought and died for.

As for voting reform - the UK isn't a democracy in the sense most people think of when they think of 'democracy'. The number of seats a party occupies has effectively nothing to do with the actual votes cast. The end result is that the far-right conservative party has effectively totalitarian control over every single government institution, despite only getting 37% of the cast votes.

You think the situation in the US is bad, where Trump "won" the elections despite Clinton getting 2 million more votes? That shit is peanuts compared to the idiocy that is the UK electoral system.

All these things play a role in a government and society not functioning properly, leading to insane, Draconian laws like this.

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[3]: Why brexit?
by jello on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 21:43 in reply to "RE[2]: Why brexit?"
jello Member since:
2006-08-08

They're all signs of increased nationalism and racism, which are always - ALWAYS - based on fear, and an afraid people are a gullible people. Gullible enough, even, to sign away their rights - rights people fought and died for.


This!

But we are also living at a time where people have no reverence for life (every life matters!). Many think that they deserve respect and dignity but others deserve it only if they have the same opinion as they have.

Strange times...

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Why brexit?
by PhilPotter on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 22:43 in reply to "RE[2]: Why brexit?"
PhilPotter Member since:
2011-06-10

Whilst I'll agree our electoral system (first past the post) is utterly broken, it is an unfair characterisation to describe the majority of the tory party as far right. This law is certainly troubling, and it should be opposed and discussed. That said, I don't think it helps to frame the discussion in terms of a totalitarian party - the fact they are in power is as much a fault of the shambles of an opposition we have as anything else. The Tories, whilst a nasty bunch of gits, are hardly a far-right party. Likewise, the law calls for no such thing as a government database that I'm aware of - the records would be maintained by ISPs themselves. Still totally unworkable though.

To help frame my viewpoint - I am traditionally a labour voter but actually voted liberal last time - mainly because they opposed and successfully blocked the first iteration of this law.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Why brexit?
by BeamishBoy on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 23:08 in reply to "RE[2]: Why brexit?"
BeamishBoy Member since:
2010-10-27

They're all signs of increased nationalism and racism, which are always - ALWAYS - based on fear


Brexit is a sign of increased nationalism and racism in the UK? Show your workings, please.

As to the EDL: thankfully they're an utter irrelevance. Half of them are probably undercover police officers by this stage.

As for voting reform - the UK isn't a democracy in the sense most people think of when they think of 'democracy'. The number of seats a party occupies has effectively nothing to do with the actual votes cast.


We have a FPTP system nationwide in the UK. A majority in favour of changing that system does not appear to exist. It's a different form of running elections to what's common in the EU, but to even hint that the UK isn't a "proper" democracy is silly.

The end result is that the far-right conservative party has effectively totalitarian control over every single government institution, despite only getting 37% of the cast votes.


Thom, are you sure you know what the terms "far right" and "totalitarian" mean?

You think the situation in the US is bad, where Trump "won" the elections despite Clinton getting 2 million more votes? That shit is peanuts compared to the idiocy that is the UK electoral system


Apples and oranges I'm afraid since we don't elect our head of state. We elect our local member of parliament which, incidentally, is pretty much identical to the way our American friends elect their Congressional representatives.

(Nor, by the way, do I think the electoral college system is "bad". It's merely the system under which they have consented to be governed.)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Why brexit?
by kristoph on Thu 24th Nov 2016 01:15 in reply to "RE[2]: Why brexit?"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

The Tories a 'far right' party? You really must read up on this more.

By the standards of the US GOP the Tories are flaming liberals.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Why brexit?
by BeamishBoy on Sun 27th Nov 2016 03:26 in reply to "RE[2]: Why brexit?"
BeamishBoy Member since:
2010-10-27

Hi Thom,

Any chance you could get back to us to flesh out your thesis that the Conservative Party is both "far right" and "totalitarian"? You appear deliberately to be ignoring being called out on this.

Thanks.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Why brexit?
by M.Onty on Mon 28th Nov 2016 19:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Why brexit?"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

The number of seats a party occupies has effectively nothing to do with the actual votes cast. The end result is that the far-right conservative party has effectively totalitarian control over every single government institution, despite only getting 37% of the cast votes.


A few UK institutions a truly totalitarian Government would need to control: Cabinet and Whitehall, Commons, Lords, Parliamentary Committees, Judiciary, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, North Irish Assembly, &c.

- Conservatives have Cabinet and Whitehall, obviously, hence being described as a Government.

- They have a majority of 12 in the Commons (650 seats), so are subject to frequent rebellions and easily defeated by co-operation from others in the house.

- They are 150 short of a majority in the Lords, meaning their entire legislative programme can be frustrated, and despite the Parliament Act only one or two bills can be pushed through without the Lords' acquiescence.

- Parliamentary Committees are now elected by members, not appointed by Government, so no Government can effectively control them.

- The judiciary is independent. The Government was just humiliated by a High Court decision to block them triggering Article 50 without Parliamentary assent.

- Scottish Parliament controlled by anti-Conservative Scottish National Party.

- Welsh Assembly controlled by anti-Conservative Labour Party.

- North Irish Assembly barely controlled by anyone.

As a result of only getting 37% of the vote they are hanging on to Government by the barest of requirements. The only thing keeping them from going to the country to get a better mandate is the weakness of the opposition and the distraction of Brexit.

You may not like the voting system, you may be right, but that doesn't make the outcome totalitarian.

Unfortunately draconian laws aren't only passed by totalitarian political systems. They can also be passed when the people don't bother preventing them from being passed, allowing a weak Government a free hand.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Why brexit?
by daveak on Thu 24th Nov 2016 19:24 in reply to "RE: Why brexit?"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

"the IPB has been widely and intensively covered in British media"

The bovine excrement odour is strong. There have been small out of the way pieces in newspapers, the odd buried story on the BBC. None of which properly covered the bill

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Why brexit?
by BeamishBoy on Sun 27th Nov 2016 03:32 in reply to "RE[2]: Why brexit?"
BeamishBoy Member since:
2010-10-27

"the IPB has been widely and intensively covered in British media"

The bovine excrement odour is strong. There have been small out of the way pieces in newspapers, the odd buried story on the BBC. None of which properly covered the bill


Lexis tells me there have been 43 front-page stories mentioning "investigatory powers bill" or "snooper's charter" in the past four months in four of the major British dailies (Times, Telegraph, Guardian and Mail). Countless editorial comments. Plenty of coverage on Radio 4, LBC, the Today Programme and Newsnight. Plenty of discussion on the Daily Politics and Sunday Politics on BBC2. Coverage on Marr on Sunday mornings. Even the horror show that Robert Peston is running on ITV has covered it.

Just because you (and I for that matter) disagree with the content of the bill doesn't mean it hasn't been discussed at length in the media.

Edited 2016-11-27 03:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Why brexit?
by daveak on Thu 24th Nov 2016 19:46 in reply to "RE: Why brexit?"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

Because the European Court of Justice can rule any part of the act illegal if it conflicts with EU law?

Reply Parent Score: 3