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[3]: Why brexit?
by BeamishBoy on Wed 23rd Nov 2016 23:08 UTC 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[4]: Why brexit?
by Alfman on Thu 24th Nov 2016 02:16 in reply to "RE[3]: Why brexit?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

BeamishBoy,

(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.)


Where do you get the impression that "the governed" have consented to it? That's trivializing an issue that in reality is highly debated.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2013/02/06/abolish-the-elect...

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Why brexit?
by BeamishBoy on Thu 24th Nov 2016 02:52 in reply to "RE[4]: Why brexit?"
BeamishBoy Member since:
2010-10-27

Where do you get the impression that "the governed" have consented to it? That's trivializing an issue that in reality is highly debated.


It's not trivialising it in any way. I use the term "consent" in the manner it is commonly accepted in political science and the law which constrains government, i.e., the consent of the governed. This is a concept that is central to Magna Carta, the work of Hume, Locke and Burke or indeed the Declaration of Independence, which says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...


The implication about implicit consent and the conservation of the status quo is, I trust, clear.

The fact that the usefulness or fairness of the electoral college is debated is neither here nor there. Many things to which the demos consents - principally the status quo - are continual subjects of debate. Indeed the entire purpose of political debate is to change the prevailing notions of consent.

EDIT: I've just read this back and realised that talking about Locke and the declaration of independence makes me sound like a pompous arse. Sorry.

My point is that consent is understood to be distinct from assent. Assent involves an active approval for something whereas consent merely involves accepting that permission exists for that thing. Consent is assumed to exist on an issue or a law until political debate or circumstance forces a country to assent to change.

Hopefully that's slightly more clear.

Edited 2016-11-24 03:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2