Who cares who is sending Europe referendum propaganda to whom?

08/04/2016

There’s been some moaning recently that the government is sending pro-European leaflets to potential referendum voters.  And I understand that it’s not on that the government is spending £9 million of our taxes on this propaganda.

But we need to think more clearly about this for a moment.  The official government position is that espoused by prime minister David Cameron: although individual Tories are free to campaign however their conscience or shadowy paymasters tell them to, the official party line is that Britain should remain in the EU.  So isn’t it okay for the government to spend money telling us what it thinks?

Strangely, I have received no pro-European leaflets in the post.  Whereas I have so far been sent two leaflets telling me NO!  We’re BETTER OFF OUT!!  One bore an awful photo of Angela Merkel, and posed the interesting (yawn) message:

 

Q: What EU concessions will David Cameron win for Britain?
A: Whatever Angela Merkel lets him have.

HAHAHA!!!  Oh no, hold on – that wasn’t a joke, it was a serious political message.  Honestly, it’s hard to tell with some of these people.  Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson… who’s got his hand up whose bottom?  Anyway, about the concessions thing: that could be a really good point, if Cameron was still doing the rounds, asking other EU leaders what they’ll let him have.  But he isn’t asking Merkel, or any other European leaders, for concessions.  He’s already done that, achieved what he considers to be good concessions, and that’s what he’s bringing to us to vote for in the referendum.  And I’ll be pleased to receive some info on that, as I haven’t received my £9 million leaflet yet.

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

This nasty anti-Merkel leaflet was paid for by something called “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group in the European Parliament”, “Sovereign Draw (A sovereign draw for a sovereign nation)” and UKIP.  Of those groups, the only one I’ve heard of is UKIP.  My guess would be that the others (with websites at efddgroup.eu and sovereigndraw.co.uk) are a small group of right-wing anti-Europe parties that (like UKIP) have no real reason to be in the European Parliament except to filibuster and waste time (so much for direct democracy, huh?) and a bunch of rich businessmen who want out of the EU so they can deal with sweatshop, slave-labour type countries that the EU want nothing to do with because of their hatred of human and workers’ rights.  They say they will “restore sovereignty to the UK Parliament” (which is where it is, has always been, and always will be), will “save the British people £55 million a day” (which sounds quite good, if a little surprising – I had no idea that I would be a multi-millionaire if Britain wasn’t in the EU) and “make sure we never join the disastrous Euro (which is a complete red herring – no one has any intention to get Britain into the Euro; it’s like saying “Vote for me and I won’t make you eat dog turds”).  “SAY NO, BELIEVE IN BRITAIN” they go on (and on and on); “Join the winning team SIGN UP TO SAY NO” – and a website (cos they’re really tech-savvy) http://www.saynotoeu.com – to add to efddgroup.eu, ukip.org and sovereigndraw.co.uk.  They seem to own most of the internet; and their backers probably do own a sizable chunk of the infrastructure.  Cos these one-minute-they’re-noty-there-then-suddenly-out-of-nowhere-puff-there-they-are groups are made up largely of businessmen who vomit when they hear the word “ethical” and people who say stuff like “I’m not racist but my town has been invaded by Romanian Poles who’ve stolen all the jobs and claim billions of pounds in benefits too!”  In other words, nazis and idiots.

Vote "Leave" or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

Vote “Leave” or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

The other leaflet is from the “Better Off Out” group. They claim “Your household could be £933 per year better off if the UK left the European Union” – not quite as good as the UKIP-Nazi-Idiot Alliance’s promise of “£55 million a day”.  And that’s the only “fact” on their leaflet – the only reason they think we’d be better off out of the EU.  But they’re awfully tech-savvy too, as everyone knows the “young voters” will only abandon their sofas and box-sets of Game Of Thrones if there’s tech-savviness involved.  Better Off Out say “You can follow us on Facebook at ‘Better Off Out’ or on Twitter ‘@BetterOffOut'” (if you feel the desperate urge to get even more anti-European propaganda spam thrown at you). “Better Off Out” is apparently promoted by “Better Off Out of HMS President (1918)”, whatever that is… I didn’t know were in HMS President (1918) in the first place…  Fortunately you can send them email at rupert@tfa.net and regular hate mail to:

 

Rupert Matthews
Better Off Out
HMS President (1918)
Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HJ

Seriously though, don’t send hate mail or spam to Rupert – that’d be naughty, and I would never condone naughtiness in any way.

Oh yes, my point.  Cos there is a point to this blog post.  It’ll be nice to get some pro-EU propaganda.  You know, a varied diet and all that.  Who cares if it’s paid for with our taxes?  It’s only £9 million FFS!  We’re gonna be spending £100 zillion on Trident missiles that we will never use, so the bill for these leaflets is a mere drop in the ocean.

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“Stop and search” powers are illegal, rules European Court of Human Rights

12/01/2010

It’s a victory for freedom! The European Court of human Rights ruled today that the British police’s powers to stop and search people whenever they feel like it are illegal.

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 gives police the power to stop and search people in “designated areas” without needing any grounds for suspicion. Police officers have been using these powers routinely to harrass photographers all over Britain, often citing the possibility that the photographer might be a terrorist on a reconnaisance mission. You might think that’s quite reasonable – until you realise that officers have repeatedly stopped and searched professional photographers covering demonstrations and tourists caught taking pictures of tourist attractions like Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square. And countless amateur photographers have been detained and harrassed thanks to the far-reaching powers.

So, now these powers have been ruled unlawful, I suppose the government will immediately order the police to stop using them, and will redraft the Terrorism Act as a matter of urgency. Right? Well, actually no. The government intends to appeal against the ruling. And you can be damn sure that in the meantime the police will continue to use and abuse their illegal powers. This despite the fact that the Court said the stop and search powers amounted to a violation of article eight of the European Convention on human Rights – the right to respect for private and family life. The Court recognised that the power to search a person’s clothing and belongings in public included an element of humiliation and embarrassment which was a clear interference with the right to privacy. And they expressed concern over the arbitrary nature of the powers, under which a police officer needs to offer no justification for his decision to detain and search anyone he feels like harassing. So the UK government is basically saying: “We don’t care that our agents are detaining and humiliating innocent people as a matter of routine. We will continue to encourage our agents to abuse members of the public for as long as we can get away with it.”

I think that the judges were especially concerned that the powers are being used against demonstrators who are clearly not terrorists, and to block the work of journalists trying to cover demonstrations. The case was brought by Kevin Gillan and Pennie Quinton, who were stopped by police while their way to a demonstration outside the annual arms fair at the Excel centre, in London’s Docklands, in September 2003. Gillan was stopped and detained for 20 minutes without good cause; Quinton, a journalist, was ordered to stop filming the protest even though she had shown her press card to officers. How can these police actions be justified? Remember, the police were using powers granted to them by the Terrorism Act, but there was no suggestion that Gillan or Quinton were in any way involved in terrorism. This is a clear example of the police abusing their powers. And there is also clear evidence that the police are going to continue abusing their powers, under government orders, for as long as they can get away with it.

The police are breaking the law. The police are the criminals. Let’s fight crime!

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UFO hacker McKinnon loses final appeal against extradition

28/08/2008

Oh dear… today, Gary McKinnon lost his appeal against extradition to the USA on hacking charges.

He appealed to the European Court of Human Rights,  saying he faced inhumane treatment if sent to America.  He claims that he might get a jail term of 70 years, and that he’ll be held in Guantanamo Bay type conditions.  The court gave him a temporary stay, but today turned him down without stating any reasons.

McKinnon broke into Pentagon computer systems and left messages saying “Your security is crap!”  So yeah, they’ll probably throw the key away.


Brit hacker McKinnon appeals to Europe against US extradition

25/08/2008

Gary McKinnon, aka “Solo”, is to be extradited to the USA to face charges that he broke into computer systems belonging to the US Department of Defence and NASA.  The US authorities have dubbed him “the world’s most dangerous hacker”, faces up to 70 years in prison and his solicitors say he could even be given “enemy combatant” status, the same as that applied to terrorist suspects held at Guantánamo Bay.

But he still has has a chance to escape extradition – when the House of Lords turned down his appeal they ruled that he could take it to the European Court of Human Rights.  So that’s what he’s doing.  And you can help him!

If you go to this link, you can join in Human Rights Defence’s petition to the European Court that the extradition order be overturned.  It’ll take you a couple of minutes to register your support… and it could make all the difference! The Court takes notice of petitions.  Help make this petition so huge that they can’t help but take notice!

Gary McKinnon needs you! Sign the petition today!

Gary McKinnon needs you! Sign the petition today!

Unfortunately, the House of Lords gave McKinnon only til the 28 August before he is extradited.  So we all need to make our voices heard now!  We can’t let him be dragged off to face whatever justice the USA doles out for “enemy combatants”.  We already know he could get 70 years in prison.  We also know the USA approve “robust interrogation” techniques including waterboarding!  If McKinnon were a US citizen wanted in the UK, no way would the American government extradite him under these circumstances.  So why should they get to torture him?

SIGN THE PETITION!  FREE GARY!


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