The Police and Crime Bill: A Warning from History

John McDonnell MP explains his objections to the government’s Police Bill

This isn’t the democratic Parliamentary process generations before us fought for.

This Bill is the most significant threat to the right of assembly, the right to free speech and the right to peaceful protest we have witnessed in over a century.

The malign intent of this Bill is racist in its proposals effectively to criminalise the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community.

By placing an unwanted and un-implementable burden on the shoulders of police officers, it threatens to undermine the basic tenet of our system of policing, which is policing by consent.

And yet, the over 60 MPs who wish to speak on behalf of our constituents to oppose these appalling attacks on our rights and freedoms have been allocated by the Government only 2 hours in total to do so.

This is what it is to live under an elected dictatorship.

I support all those amendments that seek to remove these appalling attacks on our rights and freedoms.

I support all those that stand with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community.

The Prime Minister’s and the Home Secretary’s motives for this are blindingly obvious.

They know people are becoming tired of the lies and corruption and injustices under this regime and increasingly in the face of an 80 seat arrogant Tory majority, Parliament is becoming redundant in protecting communities and individual rights.

So all that is left is the streets and protest.

To deflect attention from their own failings, the Tories need a scapegoat.

It’s nothing but the same old story.

This time it’s the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community, which has now evidently become the last form of acceptable racism.

There is warning here from history.

Allowing this Bill to pass will cause such division within our society that it will provide this Tory government with the excuse for the next wave of the reactionary erosion of our rights and civil liberties.

We are on a dangerous path.

That is why continued opposition is the only response.

John McDonnell is MP for Hayes and Harlington and was Shadow Chancvellor from 2015 to 2020.

Image: John McDonnell. Author: Sophie Brown, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.