Civil Contingencies - Follow Up

 

Link to Civil Contingencies Bill This gives the state of play in real time. It is still [ 20 December 2004 ] in the pipe line. The Lords and the Commons are on holiday.

 

The Lords return on 11 October and debate this measure on 14 October. It is important to write or leave a message for Lord Williamson. He  is the new Convenor of the Crossbench Peers, taking over from Lord Craig. He matters You could suggest a wrecking amendment e.g. requiring a Royal Proclamation or a  COALITION Government, as happened during World War II.

This Bill has gone to the Lords, driven by a lust for power riding on a wave of apathy. Does this matter? Yes! People know that they are being screwed. Yes. Are they angry? Yes! Does this translate into action? No! Did you write to your MP? Mine did not answer. Perhaps he is in Tuscany enjoying a freebie. Written to your local paper? They have a problem; how to fill the space. Help them to help you.

Did the Fourth Estate help? Well The Telegraph and the Grauniad said nothing whatsoever. It is all a non-issue or one that they want to get through. It is fair to say that each paper had one letter from someone wanting some of the action for the Red Cross and similar outfits. Hm. Perhaps not. It does seem that control freaks are the  strongest force in the whole matter. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,1223084,00.html

 

 

Here is the original posting:-

Mike Stagman     Concerned Citizens Information Network (CCIN) 
www.MyronStagman.com       01495-773175    Wales

CIVIL CONTINGENCIES BILL  ---  ANALYSIS & CONDEMNATION

I am a visiting American researcher and doctor of philosophy who wishes to raise an alarm about the Civil Contingencies bill now before Parliament.  Such a dangerous legislative proposal has no place in a democratic country.

Lord Lucas, speaking at the second reading of the bill in the House of Lords on 5 July, came to the point with a telling historical reference:  "Are we opening up our system to the equivalent of what happened in Germany in 1933, where it became possible for an extreme party legitimately to hijack a democracy and turn it into something totalitarian? . . .  They [the New Labour Government] appear to want a role of issuing diktats."  Lord Lucas concluded by calling for action to be taken against the bill which would safeguard our rights,  "or we are signing our death warrant as a democracy".

This bill, which is not far from passage, entering a committee stage on 15 September, enables the Government to declare a State of Emergency (clauses 1 and 18) on trivial or "threatened" events (e.g. an oil slick, threatened "damage to property", threatened "destruction of plant life", threatened "disruption of a supply of money").

Even non-events qualify for a declaration of the Emergency -- a " situation" suffices, indeed it may be a situation which exists (or, in practice, is claimed to exist) outside of the UK.

In other words, the Government has de facto carte blanche to declare the Emergency.
(Only an actual, verifiable catastrophe should occasion this.)

Parliament can then be counted on to rubber-stamp the Government's insistence on a State of Emergency, and likewise for the Emergency Regulations proffered by the Government.

After this (see clause 21 and note insignificance of clause 22), democracy is suspended, Parliament in effect inoperative (see clauses 21 and 25 together with the questionable 26), the Citizenry, which is the soul of a democracy, effectively brought under strict police-military rule (clause 21), property can be confiscated without compensation [clause 21 (3) (b)], previous Acts of Parliament can be nullified [(21 (3) (j)],  etc.

No conceivable state of affairs warrants the suspension of democracy and, essentially, the imposition of rule by decree -- dictatorial power.

[And just what credible evidence has ever been produced that the UK is in serious danger?? To my knowledge, never in the history of England has such an Emergency been declared during any of England's many wars.  Non-evidentiary alarmist talk, and This is the reaction?)

A Government composed of deified saints should not be entrusted with the powers this bill grants.  As the Iraq war and numerous other actions testify, the present Government that authors this carnivorous bill is not composed of deified saints.

The German bombing of Britain during World War II and the Troubles stemming from Northern Ireland never brought forward even a suggestion of what this frightening bill boldly enables.


I strongly request that you consider this matter, discuss it with colleagues, and take action before it is too late to have any effect.  I would point out that the Public is totally uninformed about this threat to British liberties and traditions. And an irresponsible News Media have been silent as a stone all the while this terrible Thing steals in.

We must have publicity and discussion.  We must have Light cast on this Thing.

Will people in positions of influence and power truly allow to be torn down what centuries of constitutional development have built up?
  

Your Petitioner,

Myron (Mike) Stagman, PhD
Concerned Citizens Information Network (CCIN)

[Note:  When reading the current Civil Contingencies Bill, observe the
following key portions:  Clauses 1, 18, 21-26]

Mike Stagman    Concerned Citizens Information Network  (CCIN)    Wales
01495-773175


CIVIL CONTINGENCIES BILL  ---  REJECTION / SCUTTLING AMENDMENTS

The Bill should be rejected outright.  

If outright rejection is simply impossible, then scuttling amendments are
absolutely vital which safeguard democracy and civil liberties.  (Amendments
submitted to date are superficial.)

Regarding amendments, this bill must be fundamentally altered.  I predict that,
if the bill passes in anything like its present shape, the Government will
declare a State of Emergency before the next election, and the House of Lords
(not to mention a lot of other things) will not reopen as an altogether
independent political body.  The Government will then be able to decree any Act
without opposition (which is the basic reason, in any country, at all times,
for seeking dictatorial power).

Suggested amendments: 

(1)  Justifications or grounds for the Government to call an Emergency  -- In
the present state of the bill, the Government has de facto carte blanche.  A
bewildering variety of trivial events or non-events, in or out of the UK, are
grounds for declaring a State of Emergency.

This is clearly a power-grabbing scheme and has little if anything to do with
handling genuine emergencies. (i.e. They do not even mention the Territorial
Army, and, as Baroness Buscombe pointed out, they failed to include the
voluntary sector.)

Only an actual catastrophe should be grounds for calling a State of Emergency.
Flooding over much of the UK, for example.  Or, concerning violence in the UK,
a series of extremely serious violent acts, apparently connected and concerted,
tantamount to warfare should qualify.


(2)  Parliamentary approval  ---  According to the bill,  Parliament must
approve via Resolution by a simple majority the Government's call for an
Emergency state.  I suggest that both Houses of Parliament must approve by 2/3.
 And that Parliament is on 24-hour call for the duration of the Emergency.

(3)  Coalition Government -- No one party rules in a dire Emergency which
affects us all (and must be an actual, occurring dire emergency -- not an
alarming excuse for seizing power.)  There should be a coalition ministry, with
all major parties represented, as during World War II.


(4)  Emergency Powers ---  There must be absolutely no suspension of democracy
or civil rights,  no confiscation of property without compensation, no ability
to create Acts of Parliament by ministerial fiat.  Parliament, the Courts and
everybody else is empowered and stays open for business as best they can.
Parliament must specify powers to specific departments or ministries to do
specified things, and Parliament and Citizens' committees should overlook what
is being done and how.

Possible Emergencies should be specified now and guidelines worked out now for
coping with them.

Ministers should always be subject to the control of Parliament, and Parliament
should have Citizen advisory committees.  No ministerial despotism is to be
allowed during a State of Emergency.  A genuine Emergency is when we must all
pull together, and we will.  No Government By Decree.  Never.


Please Note:  The people you see in Government today are not playing by
traditional British rules in which some things just are not done.  They are
playing by American rules, and I am fearful that Britons neither recognize
American rules nor comprehend that this Government is playing by them.


Regards,

Mike Stagman
CCIN

P.S.  Stall, stall, stall this bill until the end of the session.    15
September is a committee stage of the bill on the floor of the House of Lords.
After 16 September, there is another recess until 11 October.  Is there a means
to postpone the 15 September work until the 11 October resumption??

Mike Stagman     Concerned Citizens Information Network  (CCIN)   
01495-773175

CIVIL CONTINGENCIES BILL  ---  WHAT TO DO  (CONTACTS)

What Can Each of Us Do in a Little Sparetime to keep our Democracy and civil
liberties, to defeat or take the teeth out of this subversive, anti-democratic
Civil Contingencies bill?

Make some telephone calls.  Just some phone calls. We need to contact members
of the House of Lords, and members of the News Media.

HOUSE OF LORDS --
Note:  The Houses of Parliament have just gone on recess, returning 7
September.
D-Day for the bill is 15 September when it will be discussed on the floor of
the House of Lords.  But you can, and should, call and leave messages now at
0207-219-5353. 

You can leave up to 3 messages with your phone call, one for each of 3
different Peers.  You will get two sentences per message, plus your name and
telephone number.  So have your 2 sentences ready.  Some Peers may indeed
telephone you.  Don't be embarrassed or shy.  They are pretty decent folk. Just
get to the point because they are quite busy.   

By the way, you can call and leave a message for any Peer or MP, 24 hours a
day, every day of the year at 0207-219-5353.   Repeat: During the recess, use
the -5353 number.  When Lords and MPs return on 7 September, use numbers
0207-219-3107 (Lords) and 0207-219-3000 (MPs) during opening hours, and -5353
after hours and on weekends.

[You can, in addition, write a short letter. Send it to Lord or Baroness . . .,
House of Lords, London SW1A OPW.]

We need to send them messages now, and from 7 September, when Parliament
resumes, we must really let them know.  15  September  is the day for
discussion of the bill on the floor of the House of Lords.  So, 15 September is
D-Day and we must act in advance.

Between 7 September and 15 September, ask the switchboard for the Lord or
Baroness.   Mention your strong opposition to the bill, and why you oppose it,
and insist on rejection of the bill and also specify that tooth-pulling,
radical amendments be tabled -- concerning the Grounds for declaring an
Emergency (actual, verifiable catastrophe), the Powers granted (no infringement
on democracy and civil liberties), and establishing a Coaltion Government.  You
will probably talk to an assistant or leave a message on their message machine.
 Or you may again need to leave a 2-sentence message with the switchboard.


Conservatives (the largest group in the Lords).   Call Baroness Buscombe
(Conservative leader on this bill who wants to amend it -- tell her we need
tooth-extracting amendments)..  Call  other Conservative lords (a list of lords
and their party affiliation can be found at www.parliament.uk) -- they need to
be stirred up by you.

Call Conservative Party leader, MP Michael Howard's office (House of Commons
switchboard 0207-210-3000) or leave a message at -5353.  Request he exercise
leadrship on this bill  and energise Conservative lords against it.  And call
Conservative MPs Ian Duncan Smith and David Davis.  (If one of them moves,
Howard figures to get a move on.)

Liberal Democrats --- Call Lord McNally (and any other Lib Dem lord), and
Baroness Hamwee.

Cross-Bench Peers  -- They have no party, are independent, and are plentiful.
Call any of them, especially the Convenor, Lord Craig (ask at the switchboard),
the 12 law lords (ask for the appropriate office), Baroness Prashar and
Countess Mar.


NEWS MEDIA -- contact Nick Cohen, columnist at the Observer (0207-278-2332);
Michael White, political editor of the Guardian  (0207-278-2332, same tel. as
Observer);  Daily Mail -- very important to get to this newspaper -- political
editor David Hughes, journalists Simon Heffer, Roger Scruton,  Geoffrey Lean,
and Graeme Wilson, 0207-938-6000;   Daily Mirror editor Oonagh Blackman
(0207-293-3000);  Sun -- political editor Trevor Kavanagh at 0207 782 4100 &
email address trevor.kavanagh@the-sun.co.uk, the Independent's political editor
Andrew Grice.    

Telephone calls -- that's all that's required.  


Finally, TELL FAMILY, FRIENDS, ASSOCIATES about all this.  Get the word around.
_______________
P.S.  "For evil to flourish, it is sufficient only for good men to stand by and
do nothing."
(www.statewatch.org criticises the bill sharply.)

Further re Civil Contingencies Bill,

Here is a shortish list of Peers I feel are well worth telephoning/writing a little letter.  They are very likely to take up our cause if only alerted about it.  (A comprehensive list will follow, after some days, of all potentially supportive Peers -- a good 80% of Peers.)

A message may be left by telephone at all hours every day at 0207 219 5353, and
 a letter sent to the House of Lords (London SW1A OPW) addressed to a Peer will
get to them.

B = Baroness    L = Lord    After the name, in parenthesis will be the
abbreviation of the Party (L=Labour, LD, Lib Dem,  C is Conservative, CB is a
non-party, Cross Bench Peer. All Labour Peers in my lists are estimated to be
traditional Labourites, not the New Labour type. )

B. Barker (LD) ;   B. Buscombe (the Conservative leader on the bill, she's
important), buscombeP@parliament.uk ;  L. Clinton-Davis  (L) ; Viscount
Colville ;  L. Craig  (Convenor of the Cross Bench Peers), craigd@parliament.uk
;  L. Dubs (L)  DubsA@parliament.uk ;  B. Howe of Idlicote (CB)
howeE@parliament.uk ;  B. Howells of St. Davids (L) ;  L. Lester (LD),
lesterA@parliament.uk ;  L. McCluskey (CB) ;  L. Neill (CB),
Pneill@serlecourt.ac.uk ;  ;  B. Nicholson (LD),   Enicholson@europarl.eu.int ;
  L. Rea (L),  reajn@parliament.uk ;   L. Scarman (CB), a judge and human
rights supporter, please contact him ;  B. Stern , icps@kcl.ac.uk ;  L. Thomas
of Swynnerton (CB)

If you cannot make out anything above, call me or House of Lords.

Do get this list around, s'il vous plait.
Thanks,
Mike

Errors & omissions, broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever; if you find any I am open to comment.
 
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Updated on 07/09/2012 18:06