Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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We must resist these sinister new state controls


THIS year has witnessed the most rapid accumulation of state power in the UK since wartime. In the pursuit of its pandemic-controlling agenda the government has removed our rights and freedom. Now, amid the hysteria, it is pushing through a Bill allowing the authorisation of violent ‘criminal conduct’ in the ‘interests of the economic well-being of the UK’. Sound Orwellian? It is, but it is not fiction.

The entity most likely to cause economic harm to the country is of course the government itself. After all, it controls the levers of power. In effect, it is seeking to whitewash its policies and bar us from challenging its fiscal and monetary decisions. The moral hazard in such a law is obvious. It would cement in the UK as an authoritarian state and, under this government, a rabidly socialist one. 

I refer to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill, which passed its second reading in the Commons in October. It will give police forces, the intelligence services, the armed forces, Revenue and Customs plus certain government departments the power to forgive serious crimes committed in the interests of national security, preventing or detecting crime or disorder, as well as for ‘economic’ reasons! 

Terror and security threats to the nation are real and must be countered. The Bill, the government says, merely ‘provides a clear legal basis for a longstanding tactic’ and points out that it would be subject to human rights law. 

However, the sweeping, ill-defined and expansive nature of these powers should alarm everyone. The Bill would forgive, in advance and without judicial review, illegal actions by agents, trained or otherwise.   

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, also introduced in a flash and with little debate, children may be detained and tested against their will, nearly all political protest has been outlawed, opposing views silenced and elections halted. We have been prevented from going about our daily lives, seeing our loved ones, travelling, buying things which the government deems not to be essential and worst of all been put under house arrest from time to time – for that is the correct term, not quarantine. Even Christmas is to be restricted, for the first time since Cromwell. 

Perhaps surprisingly, most Brits seem to accept and even enthusiastically welcome these restrictions, accompanied as they are by shrill warnings of harm to oneself and others, the need to ‘protect the NHS’ and, of course, the drug of not having to go to work to earn a wage. Free will has been drastically curtailed. We have been turned into a nation of zombies. Now, therefore, would be a perfect time permanently to extend the arm of the state. Hey presto, the CHIS Bill. 

The authoritarian direction of travel was perhaps best exemplified this week when just outside the gates of Parliament, our symbol of democracy, an elderly woman was arrested and carried, limp, into the back of a police van simply for peaceably protesting. The Conservative MP Charles Walker witnessed the scene but the emboldened officers ignored his pleadings

This is the year when the British people were due to take back control and regain their sovereignty from Brussels. Instead it seems they have swapped the EU for a new home-grown anti-democratic authoritarian socialist government.

The CHIS Bill must be resisted. 

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Ben Habib
Ben Habib
Ben Habib is chairman of Brexit Watch.

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