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Why Andy Burnham should oppose the snoopers charter come what May does

big sister Theresa MayToday, the Guardian reports that “Labour has edged closer to supporting the ‘snooper’s charter’“, referring to the Investigatory Powers Bill carried forward from the last session of Parliament. Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow Home Secretary, said “Her commitment to an independent review of the case for bulk powers is a major concession but the right thing to do and something which will build trust in this process.” He went to say she was  “reassuring members on this side of the house about this bill.”

Liberty has said of the bill:

The Government’s new Snoopers’ Charter (also known as the Investigatory Powers Bill) will allow the bulk collection of all our personal information. Who we talk to, what we say, where we are, what we look at online – everything. The Home Secretary claims this will make us safer – it won’t. Mass surveillance is ineffective in preventing serious crime. We need targeted, not total surveillance. Join our campaign today, and we’ll make sure your voice is heard. Protect privacy AND security.

When it comes to campaigning for votes in the selection battle to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor in Greater Manchester, Burnham seems to understand the dangers of laws which purport to protect us but actually threaten our liberty and equality. He does not seem to remember those dangers when it comes to his responsibility as shadow Home Secretary.

Already this week, the Guardian has revealed the need for a complete overhaul of whistleblower protections in the US — which has far stronger oversight of its security services than Britain — after John Crane, a former senior Pentagon investigator, produced a startling account of how the system became a “trap” for those seeking to expose wrongdoing undermining the claims of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton amongst others that there were established routes for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden other than leaking to the media.

Socialists in Britain should understand the dangers posed when a government that seeks to run down the role of the state in every area in which it can offer the poor and oppressed protection seeks to further expand the role of the state in the area in which it encroaches on our liberty. And does so in the name of our liberty.

Did we not see enough of the trashing of liberty in Europe in the twentieth century under both fascism and under Stalinism to understand its importance? And can we not understand the importance of protecting it as the far right advances again throughout Europe?

Liberty recommends an 8 point plan for surveillance laws that protect Britain’s security and freedom which includes the following:

  1. Judicial warrants
  2. Respect our data
  3. Targeted surveillance – for a reason
  4. Transparency and redress
  5. Use of intercept evidence in court
  6. Fair and open international data sharing laws
  7. Protect our encryption standards
  8. Recognition of the unique threat mass hacking poses to our security.

You can read about this in more detail on their site. If you want to know more, you can also watch this excellent video:

35 Comments

  1. David Pavett says:

    This is a really important issue and it is worrying to see it in the hands of such a flaky politician as Andy Burnham (remember his flip-flops on NHS privatisation?).

    Having said that surveillance should be targeted, justified and open to challenge is there not still a problem of how to do the targeting? What about Internet anonymity, for example, how acceptable is that? It would not be acceptable for someone wearing a mask to stand up in a public meeting and make damaging accusations about someone else without producing any evidence. And yet this is pretty much what takes place on the Internet every hour of every day.

    The government is exploiting the problems for its own ends and we should oppose that. But does that mean that there are no problems and that there is no need for us to come up with alternative analyses and solutions?

  2. jeffrey davies says:

    Andy Burnham please cross the floor

  3. Junius says:

    Crossing the Styx would be acceptable too, Mr Davies.

  4. Tony says:

    Burnham is a deeply reactionary figure.

    I remember watching a recording of one of the 2010 leadership debates and his face seemed to light up when someone asked a question about bombing Iran! He also continued to back identity cards and the database behind them.

    During the recent leadership election he seemed to want to disown the mansion tax policy which he said seemed like ‘the politics of envy’.

    His support for nuclear weapons displays a truly awful degree of chauvinism and has nothing to do with protecting the people of this country:

    When it was pointed out to Mr Burnham that only nine countries out of around 200 had nuclear weapons, Mr Burnham replied:

    “Their history is different, isn’t it? In respect of their involvement in conflicts past and our membership of the security council gives us a leadership position on these matters.”

    “Andy Burnham confirms that he would renew the Trident nuclear weapons system in full” The Independent, Monday 17 August 2015.

    Thank goodness he did not win!

    1. john P Reid says:

      yes Burnham was Essex mans Labour choice in the 2010 leadership election, like Ed Miliband he understood how unpopular labour was, probably why Rod liddle backed him twice

      he would have been the best leader we never had at the last election

      1. Bazza says:

        Fortunately Essex man is not homogenous and perhaps we should have consulted diverse Essex Woman too!

        1. John P Reid says:

          The extended Essex man cliche, Kent Bristol, Birmingham Newcastle, bedforshire, hertforsHire reading, ,it was.a stereo type sun reader I was getting at.

          1. Bazza says:

            You seem to be digging yourself in a hole here.
            Perhaps Sun readers are not homogenous.
            My brother in law reads the Sun and voted for Jremy Corbyn and joined because of him.
            But more importantly You Gov shows in 2015 24% of Sun readers voted Labour and 47% Tory.

          2. Bazza says:

            Oh and the Sun is (unfortunately) read by working class and middle class people.

          3. John P Reid says:

            50% of sun readers voted labour in the 80’s 95% in the 70’s, I know sun readers who voted for cobyn too,

          4. Bazza says:

            Yes the Sun was taken over in the late 70’s to 80″s and went Right Wing.
            We just need to simply and clearly put over well constructed left wing democratic socialist ideas to people and we can win working class & progressive middle class people and try to attract the millions of non-voters as well as trying to politicise the general middle class who are socialised to vote Tory.
            So its bland New Labour nothingness v exciting left wing democratic socialist ideas.
            Vote Corbyn for real change or Progress/Labour First and get Labour in the UK like Scotland!

  5. Rob Bab says:

    Very good depiction in the article of Mrs May as Big Sister. In fact it looks a bit too real. Her physiognomy leaves one asking the question “Where is the love?”

    Solidarity is our only defence. Individual resistance will be futile if the SC comes into force. Those of us who choose freedom will have to learn to recognise what’s genuine and what is not. All is not as it seems ie when Emmanuel Goldstein makes his presence known;

    1. Rob Bab says:

      Sorry about the big video Jon. It happens when utube videos are included in comments. I know it’s a bit cheeky but If you could shrink it down that would be great as it’s a top clip and very relevant to this article and the current shenanigans going on in the LP.
      Cheers

  6. Bazza says:

    99% of the public are against it in Manchester?

  7. Jon how closely were you involved in today’s humiliating of Jackie Wilson ?

    1. Rob Bab says:

      Jackie Walker, she’s the finest;

      1. She’s brilliant here. ” Jon Lansman does not speak for Momentum “

          1. Rob Bab says:

            Jackie Walker’s excellent first international television interview.
            If you listen to her speak you the words “Israel Advocacy Movement”.
            This is what Jackie is referring to;
            http://www.israeladvocacy.net/#sthash.THlsd0fW.dpbs

            They don’t like Owen Jones either and others (including Jews);
            http://www.israeladvocacy.net/campaigns/war-on-want/war-on-want-the-people/#sthash.TJYvyfwj.dpbs

          2. Karl Stewart says:

            Thanks for posting the Jackie Walker interview Stephen.

            She seems to be an extremely dignified, articulate, rational and principled socialist and the Labour Party is extremely fortunate to have people like her in membership.

            It’s great news that her suspension has been lifted, but it’s shameful that she was ever suspended in the first place.

            LP members should be calling for an investigation into the people who took the decision to suspend her and for an urgent review of their procedures.

            Where was Jeremy Corbyn all through this episode?

  8. Too funny that Jackie’s suspension was lifted minutes before her meeting tonight. Hoping against hope that she will tone down what she says. Just proves if you quit volunteering the Zionist Ultras are impotent.

    Only an hour ago a dear friend advised me to follow the money. True. But is also worth asking….” who are they most afraid of ? ” o:)

    1. Jon dances to the Jewish Chronicle fiddle AGAIN

        1. John Penney says:

          Are you going to introduce your , now positively embarrassing, obsession with “Zionism” in each and every discussion item on here, Stephen ?

          Despite contributing to an earlier thread, on her individual case, it is very noticeable that Jackie Walker , despite being asked repeatedly in a fraternal manner by numerous posters to do so, has not justified or explained her much repeated toxic statement : ie,

          “I’m sure you know, millions more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues today on a global scale in a way it doesn’t for Jews… Many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade which is of course why there were so many early synagogues in the Caribbean.”

          The claim that Jews were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade is quite simply a poisonous historical lie – and feeds into and off a deeply embedded historic seam of anti-Semitism within sections of the Afro Caribbean and Afro American communities.

          Despite the lifting of her suspension, Jackie has yet to explain this statement, and in fact is apparently utterly unrepentant about making it. I can’t see how “context” or “tone” in any way alters the fact that the statement is a poisonous anti-Semitic lie.

          Maybe you need to think a bit more about why so many people , from all religious and ethnic backgrounds, found this statement of Jackie’s so unacceptable, rather than ranting constantly on about “book burning” and obsessing about supposed Zionist conspiracies – of which now you seem to think even Jon Lansman is a part !

          1. Danny Nicol says:

            Having watched Jackie’s RT interview in which she does not have the guts to mention the controversy she has caused by claiming that many Jews were the CHIEF financiers of slavery, I feel as a Jewish member of Momentum even more uneasy about her being Vice-Chair of the organisation.

            Nor do I care for her pitting holocausts against each other. If this stoking-up of division is what passes for seasoned anti-racism campaigning, it’s cause for concern indeed.

          2. Rob Bab says:

            @John Penney
            “Are you going to introduce your , now positively embarrassing, obsession with “Zionism” in each and every discussion item on here, Stephen?”
            Where relevant, I hope he does. SB’s got you Zios well sussed. Don’t you realise the damage Zionist friendly policies have done to the Labour Party and the country. Blair followed Zionist friendly policies, are you going to defend him when he’s up in court?
            John, can you name three beneficial things that Apartheid Israel brings to this country that we couldn’t live happily without?
            Just because Palestinians aren’t Black Africans it doesn’t mean it ain’t racist Apartheid bullshit!

            “Despite contributing to an earlier thread…”
            Link please.

            “…has not justified or explained her much repeated toxic statement…”
            And nor will she. Jackie is an upstanding decent person who knows her history. Who the hell are you to question her? You need to back off sunshine and stop embarrassing yourself.

            “Maybe you need to think a bit more about why so many people , from all religious and ethnic backgrounds, found this statement of Jackie’s so unacceptable,”
            Hahaha “so many” How many is that then John? Is it all them that’s in the Zionist pocket? The vast majority of working class people in this country don’t give two shits about your concerns John. Why should they?
            We’ve got our own worries you know, food banks, cuts, closures etc etc
            It’s like your taking the piss expecting people to get worked up because somebody said something that you don’t like. Sticks and stones mate, sticks and stones…

          3. Rob Bab says:

            @Danny Nicol
            “Having watched Jackie’s RT interview in which she does not have the guts to mention the controversy she has caused by claiming that many Jews were the CHIEF financiers of slavery”

            Well Ok, how’s about…

            “Having watched Jackie’s RT interview where she bravely informs us of the missing narrative, in African slavery history, about the many Jewish financiers of the slave trade,”

            “I feel as a Jewish member of Momentum even more uneasy about her being Vice-Chair of the organisation.”
            Well Jon Lansman’s also a Jewish member and he’s happy with Jackie’s Vice-Chair position, as are the majority of Jews within the LP.

            “Nor do I care for her pitting holocausts against each other.”
            There was no “pitting”. Jackie was responding to claims that a “debt” was owed to the Jews because of the holocaust. Point being if you’re going to start talking about “debts” owed, then the on-going “debt” Africans are owed far out weighs any “debt” owed to the Jews considering the Jewish involvement in commercial slavery in the East and West.

            “…it’s cause for concern indeed.”
            Don’t be silly. Jackie Walker has taken us on an enlightening stroll through relatively unknown history and we thank her for it 🙂

          4. “Are you going to introduce your , now positively embarrassing, obsession with “Zionism” in each and every discussion item on here, Stephen ?”

            I hope I am not going to do that John. Not because it embarrasses you, but because it is unfair to the people that write the blog posts. There is a great deal more at stake than your embarrassments.

            I do not think Jon is part of any conspiracy but that he is currently playing a highly destructive enabling role, how unwittingly I do not know.

            It might profit you to reflect on how and why, first Haringey and then Thanet, pulled their support for the meeting which ( I assume) took place last Friday.

            I had to smile at Jon’s assertion concerning the meeting that it is important that Zionists take part. The man that exhorts the rest of us to dispense with the term doesn’t himself seem able to.

    2. Rob Bab says:

      @SB
      Have you got a link to what was said or footage of the meeting? cheers

      1. No Rob I am not even sure that it happened. Have seen no reference to it. If it did it is a pity that Annie Cohen was not there. She is very impressive and compelling. It was funny that the JC with its usual regard for the actuality described her as ” a member of the anti Israel group Jewdas.” It would be more accurate to describe them as a ” get Israel out of my effing life group”.

        These guys and gals are funny as hell.

        1. John Penney says:

          Rob Rab – there actually is no “evidence” that “Jewish financiers” were major , never mind the “chief” funders of the African slave and sugar trade. Because it is simply a vile anti-Semitic lie. Where is this “bravely expressed evidence” from Jackie Walker ?

          Repeating this , Nation of Islam propagated , lie is not “brave” at all – it just fits in lazily with a long established anti-Semitic trope within the Afro Caribbean and Afro American communities. And in its particular context is just a lazy way to disregard the awful reality of the Jewish Holocaust – as a real historical reason for the migration of millions of homeless Jewish survivors of the Holocaust post 1945 , to Palestine.

          Holocausts are not some sort of “Top Trumps” competition. Trying to discount the Jewish Holocaust as a key factor in the creationof Israel, by a gross fabricated lie that “Jews” were a major cause of African Slavery, just to further a particular Far Left position on Israel, is political and moral bankruptcy.

          Do you seriously think, Rob, that your reply to my statement

          “Maybe you need to think a bit more about why so many people , from all religious and ethnic backgrounds, found this statement of Jackie’s so unacceptable,”

          of

          “Hahaha “so many” How many is that then John? Is it all them that’s in the Zionist pocket? ”

          is acceptable for a supposed socialist ? You have evidently, like the unfortunate obsessive , Stephen Bellamy, let your sympathy for the Palestinian Cause draw you into a conspiracy-laden interpretation of the complex issue of of “Zionism” more appropriate to the BNP than the Labour Party.

          1. John my obsessions are your misfortunes not mine. Do go sit in the corner and try to figure out how you can participate here without being so rude.

          2. Rob Bab says:

            @John Penney
            “there actually is no “evidence” that “Jewish financiers” were major , never mind the “chief” funders of the African slave and sugar trade.”
            Er John, you’re not looking in the right places. You need to be looking a bit closer to home ie Rabbi Marc Lee Raphael’s book “Jews and Judaism in the United States: A Documentary History” look here’s a taster;

            “Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.”
            You want more? Ok
            “Slave trading was a major feature of Jewish economic life in Surinam which as a major stopping-off point in the triangular trade. Both North American and Caribbean Jews played a key role in this commerce: records of a slave sale in 1707 reveal that the ten largest Jewish purchasers (10,400 guilders) spent more than 25 percent of the total funds (38,605 guilders) exchanged.”

            John is that book full of lies?

            “a long established anti-Semitic trope within the Afro Caribbean and communities.”
            Woah down John. You can’t say things like “Afro American” John. An afro is a hair style, you meant to say African American, surely?
            Ok we’ll let that one go this time but it hasn’t gone unnoticed that your main point has a racial undercurrent?
            I think it’s a bit cheeky playing the anti-Semitic card with the inhabitants of the Caribbean considering what the Jews got up to with the the slave trade and all.
            John you’re on a road to nowhere pretending that Jewish people don’t do shit things the same as everybody else and when they do they will be called out for it, like the carnage the Jews in Israel are perpetrating on the indigenous Palestinians.

            “And in its particular context is just a lazy way to disregard the awful reality of the Jewish Holocaust – as a real historical reason for the migration of millions of homeless Jewish survivors of the Holocaust post 1945 , to Palestine.”
            What?!! Just because some shit happens to someone it doesn’t give them the right to perpetrate the same on innocent others.
            The Palestinians didn’t do the holocaust John, now did they? I think you know that John.
            What the Israel Jews are doing to the Palestinians is a 70year holocaust. You know as well as I do the Israelis have no intention of ever conceding anything to them. Come on John, it’s obvious what’s going on – It’s the annihilation of the Palestinian people 🙁

            “Holocausts are not some sort of “Top Trumps” competition.”
            Haha try telling that to the ‘Holocaust Industry’ (Norman Finkelstein) Oh I suppose Norm’s an anti-Semite now? Well his parents were in the holocaust. Have you read his book?

            “Do you seriously think, Rob, that your reply to my statement… is acceptable for a supposed socialist ?”
            Hey don’t put yourself down John, who am I to say what is acceptable to you? As long as you can see the on going injustice suffered by the Palestinians you can be a socialist in my book.

            Lastly why did you try to smear me with the BNP insult, when you’re the one supporting the murder of non-whites by white Israeli Europeans?

  9. Bazza says:

    As a Momentum member from the cases I can remember all those under investigation for ‘anti-semetism’ may be guilty of poor academic standards – things like: not backing arguments up with evidence, treating groups as though they are homogenous, a pointless focussing on one group amongst many, making sweeping statements, or jumping to conclusions from flimsy evidence.
    But of the ones I remember none should be expelled although Jackie would have to resubmit her work paying more attention to the global and diverse chain of slave trade barbarians.
    Because of basic academic weaknesses they have been simply wrong but if these were students they would be given feedback to improve their work.
    But Labour members reflect the population and are being held to high academic standards.
    Perhaps we can all get a positive out of this for the future by adopting good practice.
    Wonder if Tory MPs and members (those champions of the oppressed) will face such rigorous academic scrutiny?
    The only anti-semetism I have heard in Labour was about a year ago and it was from a new member who can be left but can also be all over the place and he bloated out the Jewish World Conspiracy theory but I put him straight telling him that this is what Fascists say; his face was a picture as his left-wing wife laughed at him as he shot himself in the foot!
    I said I have no time for the rich and powerful because of what they do and I don’t care what their background is.
    I am for diverse working class/working people in the World whatever their backgrounds are.
    Solidarity!

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