Jump to content

Is this where democracy is going?


Recommended Posts

  • 1 month later...
7th December 2014: The Mail on Sunday

* Anti-spy agency has turned attention to 'insider' threats within companies
* Will monitor disgruntled employees who could undermine UK security 
* Unusual tone in emails could now be interpreted as a sign you are a spy
GCHQ, the British intelligence organisation which unmasks spies, is sponsoring research at Lancaster University using 'behavioural analysis' to identify rogue employees.
The shocking revelation means unusual language or uncharacteristic tones adopted in emails to colleagues could be interpreted as sign that the sender is undermining the UK's security.
The university said: 'The research will investigate the use of techniques from the field of natural language processing to detect the early indicators of an insider threat within an organisation's unstructured internal data.'
This means that the person they hire will study email correspondences among employees who have become disgruntled and who may have an axe to grind.
Paul Taylor, professor of psychology at the university, said: 'Instead of ending their email with 'see ya!' they might suddenly offer you 'kind regards'.
'These changes are important and could hint at a disgruntled employee about to go rogue.'


I can see bobby47 having his emails scrutinised. Does this incude mendacious posters on this website. I can imagine GCHQ passing this information onto the government, who will in turn sell it to local councils and then onto to private companies.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well people's I have a mad plan. I think Bobby47 needs to start showing an interest in birds! Perhaps we could all have a little dovecote stashed away at the back end of the lean to. Why not resurrect the quil and scribe after all quite often in the old dark days of tyranny this is often how we passed our messages around and as these dark days appear set to return...Think about it. Truth is without power most comms would be lost anyway so we need an edge. Ok so the Sparrow hawk population has increased as has the Peregrine so there would be casualties. Ah ...sorry chaps gotta dash there's a drone hovering outside having flown through the bloody gates. Laters..hopefully

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good Grief Megilleland!


Could this mean that The Mendacious Oddities are under covert surveillance??


Cambo could have been right all along......that chap who tried to muscle in on our gathering at The Commercial really WAS spying on us!


My paranoia has just hit an all time high.


This calls for red wine.....and plenty of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

This government is still hell bent on restricting our democratic principles under the guise of protecting us from threats of terrorism, when in reality it is the government who wants to protect themselves. The latest evidence comes from not only Paris where all our lreaders rushed to be seen supporting free speech when in reality they were discussing in private how they can keep the pressure up in restricting our rights. I thought politicians served their country and citizens and not to control and restrict their freedoms:




Just before Christmas the Spanish government introduced a new gagging law (Ley Mordaza) with punitive fines for causing and taking part in protests.


Closer to home with Theresa May in Parliament yesterday stating that:

"Unfortunately, when it comes to communications data and the intercept of communications, there is no cross-party consensus and therefore no Parliamentary majority to pass the legislation to give the police and security services the capabilities they need. But let me be absolutely clear. Every day that passes without the proposals in the Communications Data Bill, the capabilities of the people who keep us safe diminishes. And as those capabilities diminish, more people find themselves in danger and – yes – crimes will go unpunished and innocent lives put at risk.
This is not – as I have heard it said – “letting the government snoop on your emailsâ€. It is allowing the police and the security services, under a tightly regulated and controlled regime, to find out the “who, where, when and how†of a communication but not its content, so they can prove and disprove alibis, identify associations between suspects, and tie suspects and victims to specific locations. It is too soon to say for certain, but it is highly probable that communications data was used in the Paris attacks to locate the suspects and establish the links between the two attacks. Quite simply, Mr Speaker, if we want the police and the security services to protect the public and save lives, they need this capability".
and also in UK:
A magistrates' court was criticised this morning for barring a reporter from taking notes in his first week.
Michael Cox, who started at the Yellow Advertiser on Monday, was not given journalistic access to the court for nearly an hour this morning.
He was not allowed into the press area of the court and was told he could not take notes from the public gallery.
While in Hereford Guy Taylor was back in the Magistrates Court yesterday defending his principles.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are we so blessed with Morons in our parliament who say one thing then do the exact opposite? But then I guess they've always done that?

But it's also that TTIP trade agreement between the USA & EU which is worrying to!!!




Debating this in Parliament today:

Geraint Davies speaking in debate today said:
There is enormous pressure for a trade deal, he says. Trade is good. Anyone with any knowledge of economics knows that the laws of comparative advantage mean a trade deal would be good for jobs.
But the ISDS provisions are the “thorn in the roseâ€, he says. Companies would be able to sue democratically elected governments.
There are examples of companies extracting money from governments. He mentions Philip Morris suing Uruguay.
So these powers will be used to “fleece the taxpayerâ€, he says.
Robert Walter, a Conservative, says the UK is party to 90 trade deals involving ISDS provisions. Does Davies know how many times the UK has lost?
Davies says he doesn’t.
(According to what David Cameron told MPs at the end of last year, the answer is none.)
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, intervenes. She says EU governments have lost 127 cases. So it is very serious matter.
A column by George Monbiot this week arguing that the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions are undemocratic in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
"If a government proposes to abandon one of the fundamental principles of justice, there had better be a powerful reason. Equality before the law is not ditched lightly. Surely? Well, read this and judge for yourself.
The UK government, like that of the US and 13 other EU members, wants to set up a separate judicial system, exclusively for the use of corporations. While the rest of us must take our chances in the courts, corporations across the EU and US will be allowed to sue governments before a tribunal of corporate lawyers. They will be able to challenge the laws they don’t like, and seek massive compensation if these are deemed to affect their “future anticipated profitsâ€.
I’m talking about the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its provisions for “investor-state dispute settlementâ€. If this sounds incomprehensible, that’s mission accomplished: public understanding is lethal to this attempted corporate coup.
The TTIP is widely described as a trade agreement. But while in the past trade agreements sought to address protectionism, now they seek to address protection. In other words, once they promoted free trade by removing trade taxes (tariffs); now they promote the interests of transnational capital by downgrading the defence of human health, the natural world, labour rights, and the poor and vulnerable from predatory corporate practices".


Sounds like a good deal for anyone in business. So if the consumers do not play ball and reject their wares - lets sue the government for the shortfall - don't want anyone to be out of pocket. 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In The Guardian today:

Eighty groups sign letter to Ban Ki-moon insisting it is ‘critical to secure the service of a highly qualified humanitarian leader’
Efforts by David Cameron to parachute his former health secretary, Andrew Lansley, into a plum United Nations role have met with furious opposition from numerous of the world’s leading international disaster-relief organisations.
More than 80 of the world’s most important NGOs, including Oxfam, Save the Children and Christian Aid, have signed a letter to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, that implicitly criticises the appointment of a politician without long-standing experience of humanitarian crises to the role of emergency relief coordinator, a position currently held by the UK’s Baroness Amos.


The establishment consolidating their position within the New World Order.


Davos Word Economic Forum starts next week. Over 40 heads of state and government, as well as 2,500 other leaders from business and society will convene at the 45th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, from 21 to 24 January 2015 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, to discuss The New Global Context.

This context consists of 10 global challenges affecting the world today: environment and resource scarcity; employment skills and human capital; gender parity; long-term investing, infrastructure and development; food security and agriculture; international trade and investment; future of the internet; global crime and anti-corruption; social inclusion; and future of financial systems. Current affairs, such as the escalating geopolitical conflicts, pandemics, diverging growth and the new energy context are on the agenda as well.
Participants also include more than 1,500 business leaders from the Forum’s 1,000 Member companies, 300 public figures as well as recognized leaders from other Forum communities, including Social Entrepreneurs, Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and Technology Pioneers. Representatives from international organizations and civil society, as well as religious leaders, cultural leaders, academia and the media will also participate.
And also Prince Andrew. At least he will keep the child abuse inquiry in the public's mind even if the government want it forgotten.
All committed to improving the world. I don't think so. 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being watching a good run of UK Column (20th to 23rd January) this week as an alternative to BBC. GCHQ are monitoring UK Column alongside the BBC as seen in this still at 35:15. It looks as if UK Column has an audience of 5 staff discussing or watching the real news. I suppose it pays to keep informed about what is really going on in the UK.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...
16th August 2015 - The Guardian

A Spanish woman has been fined €800 (£570) under the country’s controversial new gagging law for posting a photograph of a police car parked illegally in a disabled bay.
The unnamed woman, a resident of Petrer in Alicante, south-east Spain, posted the photo on her Facebook page with the comment “Park where you bloody well please and you won’t even be finedâ€.
The police tracked her down within 48 hours and fined her.
Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: August 07, 2015
by SAM BLACKLEDGE Chief reporter

THE director of a website which was shut down after being accused of causing ‘alarm and distress’ has been granted permission to appeal.
Plymouth City Council issued a community protection notice against Our Place Our Base (OPOB), a ‘news’ website reporting on local and national issues.
Dee Gibson and wife Rachel appeared at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on Friday, having been arrested and served the notice for ‘malicious communication’.
The council dropped its case against Mrs Gibson, saying there was no evidence against her, while Mr Gibson and the company itself applied to lodge an appeal.
Speaking in court on behalf of OPOB News Ltd, newly-appointed company director John Allman accused the council of acting beyond its jurisdiction by attempting to shut down a website using anti-social behaviour legislation.
“The council is trying to silence its critics who engage in what Mr Gibson calls ‘citizen journalism’,†Mr Allman said.
Tony Johnson, senior Lawyer for Plymouth City Council, said: “It’s not a matter of the local authority trying to stymie a properly thought-out news outlet.
“The evidence that will be used in Mr Gibson’s case goes far wider than just the issues relating to the council.
“The origins of this are complaints made by some council workers that caused the first investigation.
“That led on to a vast amount of evidence being gathered that related to a far wider spectrum of society, causing alarm, harassment and distress to people.
“Councils get criticised across the world wide web and in all sorts of media.â€
The magistrates granted 40-year-old Mr Gibson, of Mylor Close, permission to appeal, and he will next appear in court for a case management hearing on Friday, September 4 at 2pm.


And slowly our right to free speech is being eroded.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

A video has emerged showing a man being wrestled out of a south west council meeting for apparently asking local councillors a question.

BBC Cornwall shared a video of the man, who gave his name to the BBC as Charlie Farley, being man-handled out of Penzance Town Hall, where the town’s town council is based.
It is claimed that the man arrived at the meeting late and missed a warning by the Mayor that questions should not be asked unless they had been submitted in advance of the meeting.
“Mr Councillor, could you interrupt please! I only asked a question, was I allowed to speak?!†the man can be heard to say as security guards pull him out of his chair. 
This definitely isn't good for local democracy! This is happening more regularly. Maybe it should be the councillors being manhandled out of office?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

While we have been fed daily media stories of war and terror throughout this year, culminating in Cameron getting his way on Syria, let's not forget that there are still other matters which are going to seriously affect our lives other than being blown up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
The Independent today:

Curb on local authorities' right to divest from companies they regard as unethical could be slipped through Parliament
The Government has been accused of launching a “direct attack on local democracy†by preparing to slip through Parliament an unprecedented curb on councils divesting from trade and investments they regard as unethical.
Councillors, MPs and a wide range of NGOs fear that the move, which they complain will be forced through the Commons without proper scrutiny, could stop local authorities refusing to trade with, or include in their pension fund portfolios, companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Ministers are consulting on changes to pensions regulations and are preparing new procurement guidelines to stop town halls operating “municipal foreign and defence policies†through “politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns... against UK defence companies and against Israelâ€. A 2007 survey of local authorities showed that they were investing £300m in BaE alone.
Campaigners say that decisions in the early Eighties to divest from South Africa by anti-apartheid councils, including those of Glasgow, Newcastle and most London boroughs, would have fallen foul of the proposed new regulations. Planned amendments to the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations 2009 are designed to “make clear to authorities that in formulating these policies their predominant concern should be the pursuit of a financial return on their investments... They should not pursue policies which run contrary to UK foreign policy.â€
But Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “Public money should be used for the public good, not to support destructive industries like the arms trade that profit from war. The Government is always stressing the importance of localism, but this is a direct attack on local democracy and decision-making.


It would be interesting to know what our council is investing our council tax in. I am sure it is all above board. They couldn't be investing in Cameron's warmongering could they?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not if this government gets it way. Even Tony Blair regrets the Act coming into being. I wonder why?


The Guardian - 15th December 2015


Lord Kerslake accuses ministers of double standards and calls for government to be more accountable to win back public’s trust
The UK government’s reasons for curbing freedom of information laws have been challenged by Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service.
In a hearing with MPs, Kerslake questioned the claim of Sir Jeremy Heywood that FoI legislation has a chilling effect on the government. “If people are experiencing a chilling effect, it’s largely in their own heads, not the reality,†he said.
The peer, who ran the civil service before effectively being replaced by Heywood, accused ministers of double standards in trying to hold back information while they leak other material to the media.
“The default is to conceal, to hold things back,†he said. “We have, in my view, a yawning gap between the governing and the governed in this country. The only way we can restore the trust is to become more accountable, not less. Anything which seems to restrict that accountability is a false move.â€
Kerslake also highlighted the government’s £150m annual bill for communications compared with the £6m outlay on responding to FoI requests.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
From The Independent 18th January 2016:

Ministers have used statutory instrument procedure to try and introduce new laws without debate in the Commons
How statutory instruments have been used
• George Osborne tried to force through £4bn of cuts to tax credits using a “statutory instrumentâ€. The measure was not even debated in the Commons and it was only when the Lords threw it out that the Chancellor was forced to back down.  
• Fracking will be allowed under English National Parks and World Heritage Sites after ministers used a statutory instrument to give it the go-ahead without a parliamentary debate last month.
• Ministers tried to bring back hunting via the back door using a statutory instrument but were forced to drop the measure after the SNP announced it would side with Labour and Tory rebels to block the move.
• Ministers defied the advice of the Electoral Commission and used a statutory instrument to bring in individual voter registration a year early.
• Up to half a million of the poorest students will lose their entitlement to maintenance grants to study at university – after the Government forced through the cut using a statutory instrument that was not even debated on the floor of the Commons. Labour will attempt to get the cuts overturned on Tuesday.
• Late last month the Government announced it would withdraw winter fuel payments from British pensioners living abroad using a statutory instrument. The move is not due to be debated in the Commons.


No debate - no democracy. How many Herefordshire students are not going to University now? What effect will this have for any plans for a Herefordshire University?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More hiding the facts. Everyday occurence now with this government. Musn't let the truth get in the way.


The Guardian today:
Business secretary refuses to disclose advice that could show how private health firms might sue government under US-Europe trade deal
Phillip Inman Economics correspondent
The controversial trade deal between Europe and the US has come under further fire after campaigners accused the government of blocking access to legal advice that shows its impact on the health service.
Campaigners warned on Tuesday that the legal documents could reveal the extent to which private health companies can sue the government using a secret tribunal system if a Whitehall policy change were to hit their profits.
As part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), businesses can sue governments or public sector bodies for any loss of profits. The TTIP is an attempt by the US and EU to renegotiate thousands of trade tariffs and reduce the regulatory burden on exporters.
The business secretary, Sajid Javid, said in answer to a freedom of information request that disclosing the legal documents would make civil servants cautious when they “need space in which to seek candid advice from their lawyersâ€.
He said: “They are less likely to seek such advice if there is an expectation that it will subsequently be disclosable.â€
But Global Justice Now, which has campaigned for greater transparency in trade negotiations, said the decision would fuel concerns that NHS trusts could come under attack from private contractors using the ISDS (investor state dispute settlement) tribunal system.


If this becomes law I can see Google suing the government for taxing it and reducing their profits. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More than 6 billion people live in countries where serious levels of public sector corruption are fuelling inequality and exploitation and locking millions of men, women and children into poverty, according to the annual index of perceived corruption.
Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index 2015 – which ranked 168 countries on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) – is once again topped by Denmark, which scored 91. Close behind are Finland (90), Sweden (89), New Zealand (88) and the Netherlands (87). the UK came in at (equal 10).
Although the report finds that two-thirds of all the countries rated have a serious corruption problem – judged to be a score of less than 50 – and acknowledges that corruption remains rife, Transparency International said there were grounds for optimism as more countries had improved their scores than seen them decline since the previous index.
Among the countries that have seen the biggest declines over the past four years are Australia, Brazil and Turkey. Australia, which came 13th with a score of 79, was 11th last year, on 80 points. In 2012 , it scored 85. The country has been beset by major corruption scandals involving state-run companies in recent years, leading Transparency International to call on the government to tackle the weaknesses in its laws that are undermining efforts to deal with the issue.


If as above, it is deemed that a score of less than 50 highlights those countries which have a serious corruption problem, then the UK should stop any aid going to these countries.


Even in the EU (itself unaccountable - no audited accounts) there are dodgy countries lining themselves up to dip into the gravy train.


Member countries of the EU
The European Union has 28 member countries with corruption ranking 0=Bad to 100=Good
Denmark (91)
Finland (90)
Sweden (89)
Netherlands (87)
Germany (81)
Luxembourg (81)
United Kingdom (81)
Belgium (77)
Austria (76)
Ireland (75)
Estonia (70)
France (70)
Portugal (63)
Poland (62)
Cyprus (61)
Lithuania (61)
Slovenia (60)
Spain (58)
Czech Republic (56)
Malta (56)
Latvia (55)
Croatia (51)
Hungary (51)
Slovakia (51)
Greece (46)
Romania (46)
Italy (44)
Bulgaria (41)
Also on the road to EU membership
Candidate countries
Albania (36)
Montenegro (44)
Serbia (40)
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (42)
Turkey (42)
Potential candidates
Bosnia and Herzegovina (38)
Kosovo (33)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Look to Sheffield: this is how state and corporate power subverts democracy

The city’s trees and residents are the victims of a Kafkaesque PFI deal between council and PFI contractor

Comment from:

2h ago

On Friday two local people, Calvin Payne and the Green councillor Alison Teal, will be tried under another hybrid instrument: a civil case with potential criminal penalties. Sheffield city council has accused them of contempt of court, by breaking the injunction it served to prevent them from obstructing the felling of the trees they love. It has asked for custodial sentences. They might also, if found guilty, be charged with the costs of delaying the contract, which could amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds and result in the seizure of their assets.


Britain in 2017. Astonishing.

This is the sort of thing that causes people to lose faith in civil institutions and ultimately leads to violence. To borrow a thought from JFK, if you make peaceful change impossible, you make violent change inevitable.

We are sleepwalking into hell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...