Yesterday’s (May 11th 2021) “queen’s speech” was a glib arrogant display of blatant unashamed disdain for democracy, for freedom and for humanity.
The future desired by the Tories in Britain is extreme exploitation and absolute division between an elite and everyone else. It is a future where the entire economy is based on methods of exploitation, of theft and of fraud. It is a future where education, housing and healthcare are not guaranteed and where employment is insecure and underpaid. Meanwhile, for the elite, the wealthiest, it is a future of endless unearned income, no taxation, multitudinous avenues of exploitation, and lawlessness.
Tories need to prepare the scene for their aims. The queen’s speech included a mixed-bag of policies that will aid their preparation for destruction of society.
Removal of means of opposition
With little opposition in parliament and even less offered by newspapers and broadcasters, Tories’ targets for suppression are elsewhere.
Judicial Review Bill will severely restrict the capability of legal challenges to government decisions. Free from EU’s legal commitments, Tory government will stop all legal checks and balances on its behaviour. Organisations that exist to protect freedoms and liberties and to prevent authoritarianism will no longer be able to take legal action whenever Tories operate outside the law or outside conventions of human rights.
Electoral Integrity Bill will demand photo identification in order to vote. It is straightforward, unambiguous voter suppression and will affect disproportionately non-Tory voters. Removal of the right-to-vote is an extreme tactic; its use reveals both how determined and how fearful the Tories are.
Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, already partially through parliament, will add further attacks on the right to protest. Its intent is to criminalise all in-person protests. This will not only remove physical protests but also remove visibility of protests on TV, in newspapers and online. Severe sentencing in the bill will jail vanguard activists for years and many others will be hampered by criminal records.
Online Safety Bill, presented fraudulently as if its intent is to protect people from harm, will censor social media use. Socialist and progressive politics benefit from successful use of social media platforms to share information, educate and organise; exposure of wrongdoing and promotion of solutions are broadcast in real time around the world leading to international solidarity. Tories know how much of a threat that is to international capitalist exploitation.
Control of education
Last year Education Secretary Gavin Williamson interfered in teaching with instructions that anti-capitalist literature should not be used in schools. Control of education, via both omission and imposition, is standard practice for authoritarian governments.
Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill is based on the modus operandi of eugenicist Toby Young’s Free Speech Union (FSU). FSU exists to enable imposition of far-right ideology on students and uses legal action to achieve its aim. The bill will remove the rights of students to decide who they invite to speak.
The bills above are designed to erect barriers to opposition and to challenges to the government. The bills below are designed to remove barriers to wealth generation for the wealthiest.
Reduction of costs for businesses
Profits are nice but even nicer when pesky taxes are avoided and when public funds are handed over.
Procurement Bill will legalise recent practices whereby Tories handed billions of pounds of public money to private businesses to help allegedly with supply of products and services related to management of Covid-19 pandemic. Bypassing tender regulations and delayed or refused publication of contracts were normal practice. Businesses, many with direct connections to Tory MPs and their friends, and some of which were invented solely to receive government contracts, were paid way beyond the cost of what they supplied, and some never supplied the products. The Covid-19 contract scandal is one of the most corrupt events in the history of British democracy and has lead to several court cases. The bill will ease the award of such contracts and stop legal challenges.
National Insurance Contributions Bill includes the creation of eight “free ports” or charter cities. Charter cities are internal tax havens created entirely for the benefit of large businesses by enabling them to dodge corporation tax, national insurance contributions, import tariffs, customs charges and VAT for all their activities therein. Residents and workers in the charter cities do not benefit. Charter cities are the ultimate objective for the ailing capitalist system. The wealthiest elite want to exploit society while, effectively, existing apart from it.
The Tories are free from EU laws, last week’s elections were generally good for them, the three amigos – Davie, Sharp and Gibb – are planted in BBC, and Labour is fighting itself. If the effects of Covid-19 continue to recede then the real work can begin. It will be worse than imagined. There is no limit to how far Tories will go.
Nathan Sparkes for Byline: Online safety and the press: the public shafted again