Democratic Rights in Britain

UK: Labour saves Conservative government from defeat on EU referendum bill

By Jordan Shilton, 19 June 2015

The Labour Party demonstrated its readiness to form an alliance with the Cameron government over British European Union membership.

UK government, Murdoch press smear of Edward Snowden unravels

By Chris Marsden, 16 June 2015

Smearing Snowden is aimed at creating a climate of fear to justify state surveillance and repression.

UK Conservatives plan to scrap Human Rights Act

By Jean Shaoul, 22 May 2015

The act is to go the same way as other key elements of international law over which successive governments in the last 15 years have ridden roughshod.

Britain’s anti-terror law and the global assault on democratic rights

By Jordan Shilton, 21 May 2015

There is no serious opposition within the ruling elite internationally to the abandonment of democratic procedures and implementation of police state measures.

UK government counter-terrorism bill would criminalize speech, political activity

By Jordan Shilton, 18 May 2015

The proposed legislation would give the state the power to require an “extremist” group or individual to submit any written publication to the police before it is printed.

Defend migrants and refugees! Oppose British imperialism!

By David O’Sullivan, 25 April 2015

The following statement was issued by David O’Sullivan, Socialist Equality Party candidate for the London Holborn & St. Pancras constituency.

UK welfare benefit sanctions hit the homeless

By Dennis Moore, 20 April 2015

Sanctions affect one-third of homeless people claiming Job Seekers Allowance.

UK police watchdog justifies killing of Mark Duggan

By Robert Stevens, 26 March 2015

Duggan, a 29-year-old father of six, was unarmed when he was shot twice in Tottenham, north London by an armed police officer on August 4, 2011.

Whistleblower from UK covert police unit reveals spying on workers

By Harvey Thompson, 25 March 2015

The covert Special Demonstration Squad monitored hundreds of political groups between 1968 and 2008.

UK government pledges further spying powers and to “move on” from Snowden

By Chris Marsden, 14 March 2015

Hammond’s speech was meant to reassure Britain’s spies that they will be protected from any possible fall-out, and that their criminal actions can continue.

UK parliamentary committee justifies mass spying on e-communications

By Paul Mitchell, 14 March 2015

The Intelligence and Security Committee report is a whitewash, aimed at legitimising the spy apparatus exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

Irish police clamp down on water charge protesters

By Dermot Quinn, 25 February 2015

There is widespread opposition from working people to the water charge, which is seen as an attempt to make them pay for the economic crisis.

UK Police Federation votes for all police to be given access to Taser guns

By Margot Miller, 11 February 2015

The vote by the Police Federation is part of the move to authoritarian forms of rule in Britain.

US official admits to UK role in rendition to Diego Garcia

By Jean Shaoul, 9 February 2015

Britain colluded in the use of the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia by the US for its criminal activities.

UK: Blair government colluded in extraordinary rendition of Libyans

By Jean Shaoul, 2 February 2015

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote to then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that he was “disappointed” that Britain was unable to send more regime opponents back to Libya.

Europe faces political “earthquakes,” BBC warns on Democracy Day

By Paul Mitchell, 24 January 2015

A report commissioned by the BBC states that the rise of populist anti-establishment parties is set to cause political earthquakes across Europe in 2015.

UK to launch enhanced “anti-terror measures” and domestic use of troops

By Julie Hyland, 20 January 2015

Since 9/11, successive UK governments have introduced a series of “anti-terror” measures, each more draconian than its predecessor.

Police crackdown after Charlie Hebdo attack spreads across Europe

By Kumaran Ira, 19 January 2015

Security forces have been deployed across Europe in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

US drug enforcement agency acknowledges longstanding warrantless wiretapping program

By Thomas Gaist, 19 January 2015

The US Drug Enforcement Administration carried out mass surveillance of US telephone data over a period of more than a decade.

Obama, Cameron discuss war and state repression following Charlie Hebdo attack

By Chris Marsden and Jerry White, 16 January 2015

The two heads of state—whose countries have carried out a sustained attack on democratic rights—issued a jointly authored comment Thursday: “We won’t let the voice of freedom be muzzled.”

FBI accuses Ohio man of terror plot to attack US Capitol

By Niles Williamson, 16 January 2015

The FBI disclosed that the alleged plot did not represent a real threat as it had been developed with the direct participation of an undercover informant.

UK uses Charlie Hebdo attack to justify repressive powers

By Chris Marsden, 13 January 2015

In the aftermath of the attack in Paris, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to give the security services more powers to intercept the private communications of individuals.

Millions in Britain cannot afford to eat properly

By Dennis Moore, 12 January 2015

The figures from a government report are corroborated by the increase in the numbers of people using food banks.

BBC attacks Russell Brand to defend a discredited political setup

By Julie Hyland, 8 January 2015

The BBC’s Nick Robinson denied that his comments breached his professional obligation to political impartiality.

Mass surveillance ruled legal in UK

By Robert Stevens, 17 December 2014

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has sanctioned the Tempora program, which captures the data from all fibre optic cables entering or leaving the UK.

Rolling Stone magazine and the University of Virginia rape allegations

By David Walsh, 11 December 2014

The unraveling of the Rolling Stone feature story sheds a good deal of light on the upper-middle class individuals and groups obsessed with identity politics.

UK: Police use tear gas to repress student sit-in at Warwick University

By Joe Mount, 8 December 2014

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, police brutality against young people has become ever more ferocious.

UK report on murder of soldier drives calls for deeper state repression

By Robert Stevens, 27 November 2014

The report into the murder of soldier Lee Rigby is being used to introduce new draconian "anti-terror" legislation.

Tories and Labour compete to scapegoat migrants for British social crisis

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 21 November 2014

The anti-immigrant stance being taken by all the bourgeois parties is aimed at further curtailing the democratic and social rights of working people as a whole.

Cameron announces plans to remove British passports from suspected terrorists

By Julie Hyland, 18 November 2014

The home secretary will have the power to cancel passports and impose a “temporary exclusion” order for two years.

UK parliament backs anti-democratic European Arrest Warrant

By Julie Hyland, 13 November 2014

It was Labour that effectively shut down any discussion on the EAW and ensured its passage.

New head of Britain’s GCHQ demands Internet companies act as state informers

By Robert Stevens, 12 November 2014

Within hours of Robert Hannigan becoming the new director of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters spy centre, he demanded it be allotted greater powers.

UK teenage killer named publicly and sentenced to 20 years

By Julie Hyland, 8 November 2014

Having successfully petitioned for the overturning of his anonymity, much of the media have used Cornick’s case as an occasion for prurient coverage and demands for retribution.

Britain begins bombing in Iraq

UK Conservatives pledge further attacks on democratic rights

By Robert Stevens, 2 October 2014

Home Secretary Theresa May announced that if the Conservatives are returned to power in 2015, they will fully implement the “snoopers charter.”

Report exposes impact of tax hikes on London poor

By James Hatton and Paul Bond, 8 September 2014

Last year’s elimination of the council tax benefit has raised local taxes for over 300,000 poor residents of London.

Britain outlines new “anti-terror” laws

By Robert Stevens, 3 September 2014

Fundamental democratic norms are being obliterated in a manufactured atmosphere of fear.

Poorest in the UK less healthy and dying younger

By Dennis Moore, 2 September 2014

The UK has one of the worst rates for early neonatal deaths in Western Europe.

UK undercover police escape prosecution for abusing women

By Julie Hyland, 26 August 2014

More than 10 women are taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police, after finding out that their former partners were part of an undercover police unit.

UK joins US military offensive in Iraq

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 20 August 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise that “Britain is not going to get involved in another war in Iraq” is worthless.

Assange says he may soon leave Ecuadorian embassy

By Robert Stevens, 20 August 2014

Assange was first arrested in London in December 2010 under a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden.

Business leader selected as new chair of UK schools inspectorate

By Tania Kent, 7 August 2014

New UK schools inspectorate head David Hoare specialises in taking over failing enterprises, sacking workers, imposing cuts and restructuring work practices.

Video blog on Gaza devastation by British Channel 4 News presenter attracts wide audience

By Julie Hyland, 2 August 2014

News presenter Jon Snow: “If you decide to throw missiles, shells ... then you will undoubtedly kill children. And that is what [the Israeli government] are doing.”

British court to hear bulk of terrorism trial in secret

By Jordan Shilton, 30 July 2014

Britain’s ruling elite are working to put a system in place that would permit people to be locked up for life without anyone knowing about it.

Action “unlikely” against police officers involved in UK secret spying operation

By Julie Hyland, 29 July 2014

Special Demonstration Squad operatives infiltrated hundreds of organisations, concentrating on “extreme left-wing/extreme right-wing” groups and “animal rights/environmental” activists.

British government rushes through emergency surveillance legislation

By Richard Tyler, 14 July 2014

Once again, the so-called “war on terror” is being employed to abrogate civil liberties and strengthen the repressive powers of the state.

UK police make one million stop and searches of young people

By Robert Stevens, 5 July 2014

Only 10 percent of searches lead to an arrest and black people are six times more likely to be stopped than whites.

UK journalist threatened with arrest under Terrorism Act for filming protest

By Harvey Thompson, 30 June 2014

Alex Evans from the Sheffield Star was at the city’s train station filming a pensioners’ protest when he was ordered to delete his footage.

Every Internet user in the UK can be spied on without a warrant

By Robert Stevens, 23 June 2014

Tempora operates on a similarly massive scale to that of Prism and is able to record 600 million “telephone events” per day.

UK schools witchhunted by government to foster anti-Muslim sentiment

By Robert Stevens, 12 June 2014

The witchhunt began in November when an anonymous letter, now widely accepted to have been a hoax, was sent to the media.

Britain: Anti-terror legislation used to pursue whistleblower

By Ben Trent, 10 May 2014

Since the legislation was enacted in 2000, Britain’s tax authorities have used it tens of thousands of times to snoop through phone and email records.

Cuts to legal aid in UK will deny thousands the right to a fair trial

By Tony Robson, 15 April 2014

The dismantling of legal aid is bound up with the drive by the British ruling elite to eliminate the last vestiges of the welfare state.

UK High Court backs government imposition of fees for workers’ claims

By Tony Robson, 8 March 2014

Workers are compelled, for the first time in the history of the Tribunal system, to pay upfront to bring a claim against mistreatment by an employer.

UK: Families of Hillsborough disaster victims placed under police surveillance

By Barry Mason, 4 March 2014

Hillsborough family campaigners strongly believed their phone calls were being monitored in the aftermath of the football stadium disaster.

Snowden documents show US, UK spy agencies infiltrate online groups

By Nick Barrickman, 27 February 2014

The NSA and GCHQ are employing deceptive tactics to monitor, manipulate and subvert online activities.

Partner of Glenn Greenwald was held at London airport

UK ruling against David Miranda escalates assault on democratic rights

By Robert Stevens, 20 February 2014

The High Court judgement against David Miranda gives legal sanction to the police state apparatus built up by successive British governments on the pretext of the “war on terror.”

Alzheimer’s sufferer died in handcuffs at UK immigrant detention centre

By Ajay Prakash, 18 February 2014

Every year, around 30,000 asylum-seekers are detained in Britain, nearly one-third of them women and children.

Democratic rights under attack in Scotland

By Steve James, 6 February 2014

Last year there were 700,000 police stops and searches in Scotland.

Guardian reveals threats of imprisonment and closure over Snowden leaks

By Robert Stevens, 4 February 2014

On July 20 last year, the British government sent two security service agents to the Guardian’s London office to oversee the destruction of hard drives and memory cards containing encrypted files from Edward Snowden.

UK police demand water cannon to suppress austerity protests

By Robert Stevens, 24 January 2014

A police briefing paper explicitly links access to water cannon to combating protests against the government’s austerity programme.

UK police demand Channel 4 hand over whistle-blower’s footage

By Robert Stevens, 18 January 2014

The moves against Britain’s Channel 4 are part of an unprecedented campaign by the UK government to silence disclosures about state surveillance operations.

Inhuman treatment of UK woman in privately-run prison

By Dennis Moore, 11 January 2014

After receiving no medical attention during her miscarriage in the cell, Nadine Wright was allegedly ordered to clean up the blood by prison guards.

UK police get away with killing of Mark Duggan

By Julie Hyland, 10 January 2014

Duggan’s killing in north London was the spark for riots that quickly spread across the country in 2011.

Treatment of political activist Trenton Oldfield shows criminalization of protest in UK

By Allison Smith and Paul Bond, 3 January 2014

There was an outpouring of sympathy for Australian immigrant and political campaigner Trenton Oldfield during his trial and deportation ordeal.

Crackdown on UK student protests

By Joe Mount, 24 December 2013

The ramping up of state repression is part of an effort to stamp out political opposition amongst youth.

UK reneges on promised independent inquiry on rendition, torture

By Paul Mitchell, 21 December 2013

Instead of an independent inquiry, Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee will hold its own inquiry.

Facing threat of prosecution, Guardian editor testifies before UK parliament

By Chris Marsden, 4 December 2013

British officials are threatening the Guardian over its decision to publish exposures of intelligence agencies’ electronic spying against the people.

UK Prime Minister Cameron plays the anti-immigrant card

By Robert Stevens, 29 November 2013

UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s measures were greeted with rapture by the most right-wing sections of the British media.

UK government moves to clamp down on Internet, citing child pornography

By Julie Hyland, 25 November 2013

Google is planning to target 100,000 search terms, with restrictions applying first in English-speaking countries and then expanded to all other languages over the next six months.

Former UK Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett’s anti-Roma rant

By Liz Smith, 21 November 2013

David Blunkett’s provocative remarks attacking Roma in Sheffield is reminiscent of Conservative MP Enoch Powell's notorious anti-immigrant “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968.

Cuts to legal aid deny hundreds of thousands access to justice in the UK

By Dennis Moore, 20 November 2013

A statement by Tooks Chambers, a leading law firm forced into dissolution, said that government policies on legal aid “are cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law.”

Britain accused of collusion in torture in Somalia

By Robert Stevens, 19 November 2013

To conceal its role in the alleged torture and abuse of a British citizen, the UK government is utilising the Justice and Security Act, passed earlier this year.

British MP presses for criminal charges against the Guardian newspaper

By Julie Hyland, 13 November 2013

The British government is stepping up attacks on the Guardian newspaper for its publishing of revelations of mass surveillance by US and UK spy agencies.

The NSA spy scandal and the attack on press freedom

By Chris Marsden, 6 November 2013

The capitalist oligarchy, terrified of popular opposition to attacks on democratic rights and its policies of obscene self-enrichment, sees press freedom as an unacceptable threat.

New threats against the Guardian newspaper and Snowden in Westminster debate

By Chris Marsden, 2 November 2013

Following UK Prime Minister David Cameron's threats against the Guardian this week, further parliamentary debate has made clear that the three main parties are intent on suppressing evidence of mass surveillance.

The witch-hunt of Britain’s Guardian newspaper

By Julie Hyland, 22 October 2013

The concerted campaign by the British government to silence the Guardian newspaper, due to its publication of the Edward Snowden revelations, is indicative of the move toward dictatorial forms of rule by the ruling elite.

UK’s “Plebgate” scandal: Police go unpunished for set-up of Conservative MP

By Julie Hyland, 19 October 2013

The British “Plebgate” scandal testifies to the enormous powers accrued by the police over the last decades.

UK unions colluded with police and employers in construction blacklist

By Paul Bond, 17 October 2013

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report has confirmed that police provided information to firms for a blacklist of construction workers.

Main UK parties agree on statutory press control

By Julie Hyland, 16 October 2013

The measure has been denounced by the Newspaper Society as an “unacceptable degree of interference” and “state-sponsored regulation.”

UK government and media demand measures against Muslim face veil

By Chris Marsden, 20 September 2013

A British judge’s ruling has become the occasion for a campaign demanding additional measures to curtail democratic rights and to whip up hostility to Muslims.

Senior political figures demand second vote in UK parliament on Syrian attack

By Julie Hyland, 3 September 2013

Leading figures in the UK government and opposition Labour Party are set on overturning last week’s parliamentary vote against British involvement in a war against Syria.

A letter from film producer Tony Garnett

“Edward Snowden has shone a light into the secret activities of the State”

2 September 2013

The following comment in defence of former National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by film producer and author Tony Garnett.

Britain: Police justification for Taser killing in Manchester unravels

By Tony Robson, 27 August 2013

Jordan Begley was tasered inside his mother’s home and died within hours.

David Miranda’s detention and the raid on Britain’s Guardian newspaper

By Julie Hyland, 24 August 2013

Events of the last week provide chilling confirmation of the police state apparatus built up by successive British governments on the pretext of the “war on terror.”

UK High Court allows police to investigate documents illegally seized from David Miranda

By Robert Stevens, 23 August 2013

The detention of David Miranda was a blatant act of political intimidation, sanctioned at the highest levels by London and Washington.

Detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner approved at highest levels of US and UK governments

By Thomas Gaist and Joseph Kishore, 21 August 2013

A US security official has acknowledged that a central purpose of the detention of David Miranda was to send a message to all those seeking to expose evidence of government spying programs.

UK detains Glenn Greenwald’s partner under terrorism law

By Barry Grey and Thomas Gaist, 19 August 2013

Greenwald is absolutely justified in alleging US collusion in the detention of David Miranda, his partner, by British authorities.

UK Labour Party whips up anti-immigrant sentiment

By Robert Stevens, 19 August 2013

The Labour Party continues its shift to the right, embracing anti-immigrant chauvinism, support for the free market and condemnation of what remains of Britain’s welfare state.

NSA funds UK’s spying operations

By Robert Stevens, 10 August 2013

America’s National Security Agency has funded Britain’s intelligence gathering service to the tune of at least £100 million over the past three years.

Inquiry into police killing of Mark Duggan to report no evidence of police criminality

By Robert Stevens, 8 August 2013

The Independent Police Complaints Commission report found no evidence of criminal offence being committed by the Metropolitan Police in the killing of Mark Duggan.

British government introduces Internet censorship filters

By Mark Blackwood, 7 August 2013

Under the fraudulent pretext of protecting children, the British government is introducing censorship of the Internet.

European Union seeks drone and spy satellite network

By Chris Marsden, 6 August 2013

The European Union has proposed the creation of what amounts to a pan-European equivalent to the National Security Agency, armed with a European drone programme and a spy satellite network.

UK government mounts racist “Go Home or Face Arrest” campaign

By Ajay Prakash, 6 August 2013

The British government has launched a racist campaign against immigrants as a diversion from deepening austerity measures.

New attacks on civil liberties set to be passed in British parliament

By Robert Stevens, 6 August 2013

The UK government's proposed Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill is the culmination of more than a decade of attacks on democratic rights.

Britain’s Royal birth: Media frenzy amid public indifference

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 27 July 2013

The birth this week of the son of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Britain’s Prince William, occasioned a media frenzy.

British police stole IDs of dead children to infiltrate political organisations

By Steve James, 27 July 2013

British police appropriated the identifies of dead children to infiltrate political and campaigning organisations.

UK: The unlawful killing of deportee Jimmy Mubenga

By Barry Mason, 25 July 2013

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, deportation officers working for G4S “are incentivised to ensure that deportations are completed regardless of the level of resistance from the person being removed.”

Young man dies after being shot by police Taser gun in Manchester, England

By Dennis Moore, 25 July 2013

Jordan Begley, a 23-year-old factory worker from Manchester, is the tenth person in the country to die as a result of Tasering.

Parliamentary intelligence oversight body whitewashes mass surveillance by UK and US

By Julie Hyland, 23 July 2013

The UK parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has whitewashed allegations of mass illegal spying by GCHQ and the US National Security Agency.

Britain to use secret evidence in court

By Jordan Shilton, 15 July 2013

The Justice and Security Act 2013 (JSA), which came into force this month, creates a new judicial procedure which will permit the use of secret evidence in any civil trial in the UK.

British government calls for more repressive powers following deportation of Abu Qatada

By Jordan Shilton, 12 July 2013

The deportation of Muslim cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan illustrates the complete disregard for basic democratic and legal principles within Britain’s ruling elite.