Today I will once again vote against the authoritarian Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill.
The UK is already one of the most overcentralised democracies in the world. Too often Westminster imposes bad decisions on people and communities, and under the current political system, people and communities do not have the power to challenge the Government or hold them to account.
That dynamic will become even more entrenched with this legislation, which takes a sledgehammer to the right to protest, criminalises the way of life of Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller people, and disproportionately expands police powers.
Protest is one tool members of the public have to challenge the Government when bad decisions are made. We only have to look at the climate crisis, along with spiraling social, racial, and economic inequality, to see just how badly this system works for most people, and just how badly the Government needs to be challenged.
I will vote against this legislation today, but we also need to stop this whole agenda in its tracks. That demands an alliance of progressives, both inside Parliament and in wider civil society, to come together to build a democracy that is fit for purpose for the challenges we face – climate and ecological breakdown, the epidemic of inequality, and surveillance capitalism.
For me, that means:
A voting system where each vote counts equally
A fusion of direct and representative democracy, where people lead and act collectively
Real power and resources distributed to communities, away from Westminster
Our future shaped in a People’s Convention on the UK’s constitution
In March I wrote about the authoritarianism writ large in this Bill and how we can challenge it, you can read that piece here: https://labourlist.org/…/the-authoritarianism-of-this…/