I’ve seen some disturbing things in my time, but the howling silence in most of the UK media about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, whose measures include stifling protest and legislative cleansing of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, is close to the top of the list.
We’ve all had the fantasy, right? About what we'd do if politicians here attacked democracy, seized dictatorial powers and introduced special laws against minorities? How brave and noble we are in these dreams! Now it happens, and we clear our throats and look the other way.
If you ever wondered how dictators come to power, this is how: through resistance melting away like summer snow, as journalists and other public figures suddenly discover they're late for an urgent appointment about something-or-other. Sorry, must dash! Toodle-pip.
I’ve learnt to set my expectations low, and to understand that the BBC, which to a large extent still sets the media agenda, is almost as compliant as the billionaire press. Even so, I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now. Or, rather, what I’m not seeing.
The BBC airs furious debates on “liberties” all right: about face masks and other issues that obsess the extreme right. But these look like chaff, being used to confuse us while far greater liberties are removed.
The BBC used to see the legitimate spectrum of debate as stretching from Blairites to Thatcherites. Anyone left of Blair was an “extremist” (as senior editors labelled me and others). Now the debates it highlights are those dividing mainstream Tories from the most extreme Tories.
The attack on democratic rights is going all the way now. Raab's announcement on the Human Rights Act is just the latest case. See also the voter suppression measures, the Nationality and Borders Bill, the extension of the Official Secrets Act and the proposed Interpretation Bill

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More from @GeorgeMonbiot

13 Dec
The sheer hypocrisy of these people, who are simultaneously pushing through a "papers please" clause (compulsory voter ID) that could disenfranchise 2 million people.
Not to prevent a virus from spreading, but to prevent the Conservatives from losing office.
The same "papers please" Conservatives have just voted for a measure (in the Nationality and Borders Bill) that could arbitrarily deprive 5 million people of their passports.
The Conservatives are now driving a measure through Parliament, without debate in the Commons, that will ban named people from attending protests, or even mentioning protests on social media, and force them to surrender themselves to police stations at the state's pleasure.
Read 6 tweets
12 Dec
How can we tell that the cleansing of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (#GRT) in the Police Bill has nothing to do with law & order and everything to do with prejudice? Because if the govt cared about law & order in the countryside, it would have other priorities:
1. The mass illegal dumping and burning of waste by organised criminal syndicates, causing an environmental catastrophe.
2. The mass dumping of farm manure and raw human sewage in rivers, causing another environmental catastrophe.
Read 11 tweets
10 Dec
The more I learn about complex systems, the less likely it seems that the current, incremental approach to climate mitigation could work. It's as if, during the financial emergency in 2008, governments had said "we'll supply the bailout money at 2% a year between now and 2050".
The financial sector would have collapsed many years before the rescue package was complete. To push the system back into a stable equilibrium state before it reached its tipping point, governments had to act immediately and decisively.
We don't know how close Earth systems are to their tipping points, but some of them could be very close. If these systems are approaching their critical thresholds, the only relevant action is sudden and drastic.
Read 8 tweets
8 Dec
It's happening in front of our eyes: the stifling of democracy in the UK, with even more dictator's powers being slipped into the Police Bill. Yet the entire Establishment looks the other way. We must fight this as if our lives depend on it. They might.
Parliament should be in uproar. The press should be in uproar. Yet you could hear a pin drop. There have been roughly as many stories in the UK press about Nestlé’s Quality Street chocolates as there have been about this massive attack on democratic rights.
Opposition is left to a few peers in the House of Lords, Liberty, alternative news sites and protesters coming together under the #KillTheBill banner. There’s a demonstration in London this afternoon:
Read 14 tweets
7 Dec
I’ve just finished my book Regenesis*: feeding the world without devouring the planet. I followed some astonishing people, read over 5000 papers, and questioned everything I believed to be true. The results, I think, are revolutionary. Published by @PenguinUKBooks in May.
I hope this book transforms our relationship with what we eat and with the living planet. What I’ve stumbled across has radically changed my understanding of our crisis and the possible solutions. We’ve made some terrible mistakes, but there are also some wonderful opportunities.
I don’t want to get my hopes up, or yours, as they might be wrong. But two of the expert reviewers who read it for me used the exact same words: “the Silent Spring of the 21st Century”.
Read 4 tweets
5 Dec
I don’t have to look far to see how much trouble the left is in, because I’m confronted with it almost every day.
Here’s a brief thread about my experience, and why we urgently need to get over ourselves and unite against our common threats.
In February 2020, I was asked on the BBC who I supported for Labour leader. I hadn't given much thought to it. I’ve never been a member of any party, and none of the candidates inspired me. I said something nice about Lisa Nandy, partly because no one else had mentioned her.
Almost every day since then, I’ve been attacked for it. It is flourished, on Twitter and elsewhere, as evidence that I’m an evil traitor. Here’s today’s iteration.
Read 18 tweets

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