The already draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill currently going through parliament, which includes making illegal protests on grounds such as noise that might upset a passer-by, is to be strengthened further.This is opposite to what many ‘libertarian’ Tories claimed, saying the worst parts of the bill would be toned down.
Soon those who protest by through sit-downs, chain themselves to railings or block roads can be imprisoned for a year, as can those who object at being searched on a whim of the police – there need be no cause whatsoever for suspicion.
Many think the police will be sensible and we personally will not be mistreated; but the reality is that if the power exists, it will be abused.
Historically many protests that took place, such as against apartheid, against fracking, for gay rights, against the Iraq war, women’s suffrage.., have not only challenged the establishment to rethink, but led to real improvement in many people’s lives. The right to be heard, even if it disturbs passers-by, through non-violent peaceful protest is fundamental to a free society.
But it is not surprising that it is this Tory government, probably the most brazenly corrupt, untrustworthy and incompetent in living memory, is the one that wishes to take the first steps towards tyranny. I hope my fellow citizens in Cheltenham remember this at the time of elections.
Letter in Gloucestershire Echo 2nd December 2021
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are those of local Party members and do not necessarily reflect the Labour Party.