The Intoxication of Power

The above in part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 which will be voted on in Parliament tomorrow (15th March). As you can see, it is deliberately worded so vaguely that it can and will be used to removes the right to peaceful protest from citizens of the United Kingdom. No doubt what currently passes for a Parliament will wave this Bill through without even reading it.

This comes just after the Metropolitan Police’s brutal suppression of a peaceful candlelit vigil on Clapham Common, the scene of the abduction and subsequent murder of Sarah Everard a crime for which a serving officer of the Metropolitan Police has been charged.

Here’s a view of the Police making social distancing impossible by kettling the participants:

Britain’s transformation into a Police State is proceeding even more rapidly than I feared, though the direction of travel has been apparent ever since the Brexit campaign 5 years ago. A far-right coup is taking place and it is succeeding against a spineless and ineffective opposition, its ringleader delighting in wiping out what remains of civil liberties and turning the media, especially the BBC, into a propaganda machine.

The future of Britain looks very much the one George Orwell foresaw in 1984:

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always— do not forget this, Winston— always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever

Still, blue passports eh?

25 Responses to “The Intoxication of Power”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    You have complained about inadequate enforcement of covid regulations often enough, but I agree that this is a horrible bill.

    • telescoper Says:

      The participants at the vigil last night were wearing masks and were practicing social distancing; until the Police decided to kettle them.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        It was still illegal under covid regulations which you have supported often enough. I think the vigil was perfectly reasonable in the circumstances; I am seeking consistency.

      • telescoper Says:

        I agree. There was a rather different approach to the Rangers fans celebrating a few days ago.

        I think in this case the Met could have worked with the organisers to facilitate the vigil.

        Apparently Kate Middleton was there too, earlier on, but for some reason she wasn’t arrested.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The Met can’t work with someone to break the law. Wisest would have been for them to absent themselves.

  2. Love it. This law makes brexit a crime

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Well David Cameron said that Brexit could lead to World War 3. How about a new round in a radio quiz show, to connect a random event with Brexit? This week, the fracas on Clapham Common…

      Come to think of it, why not blame World War 1 on Napoleon’s failure to unify Europe politically? Or the Thirty Years War on Charles V’s failure a century earlier? Or the Norman Conquest on the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West.

      • You see? Brexit has caused serious annoyance, as in article 59 2 (c). I rest my case. I could also have mentioned 1 (b) and 1 (c). And 2 (a) seems to cover the government’s initial pandemic response.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The UK was invited, Brexit notwithstanding, to join the EU in its covid vaccination response. It declined and as a consequence is well ahead in vaccination. That is not entirely due to supply problems; the EU negotiated so hard with the manufacturers that it caused a delay of several months and put it further back in the queue.

      • telescoper Says:

        This is not an accurate portrayal of the situation. AstraZeneca in particular did not negotiate in good faith with the EU. It knows it overcommitted and has been diverting doses made in the EU to the UK while pretending to be making “best efforts”. Note also that this company did not even apply for authorization of its vaccine in the EU until mid-January despite signing a contract with the EU many months before. Now use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been suspended in several countries, including Ireland, owing to suspicions over a link with blood clots. No doubt it will be reinstated shortly but I hope the EU will make up the shortfall from other suppliers, as AstraZeneca is the least effective vaccine currently available anyway.

        Nevertheless, despite AstraZeneca’s failings, the EU is ahead of the UK in fully vaccinating its people.

      • Everyone is glad about the vaccine progress. But do remember the 125,000 dead. One of my colleagues here, a solar astronomer, recently died. A friend who was in hospital said at the worst part if it was that the people next to her on the ward kept dying. The EU has done better than the UK. This is a human tragedy. I will remember the dead I knew, and regret the choices that made it so bad.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        If “the EU is ahead of the UK in fully vaccinating its people”, how do you account for the fact that as of yesterday 37.98% of the UK’s population had had at least one jab, whereas the highest proportion for any EU country is 29.5% in Serbia (while the major EU population centres of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland are all under 12%)?

        https://www.statista.com/statistics/1196071/covid-19-vaccination-rate-in-europe-by-country/

        Pascale Soriot of Astra Zeneca pointed out that the EU was three months behind the UK in signing a contract with Astra Zeneca:

        https://www.politico.eu/article/astrazeneca-ceo-eu-vaccine-contract-is-not-a-commitment/

        Would you clarify what you mean by ‘diverting’ in the statement that Astra Zeneca “has been diverting doses made in the EU to the UK”?

      • telescoper Says:

        Fully vaccinated means two doses, as per the manufacturers instructions. The UK has fully vaccinated only 2.3% of its population, whereas Ireland is 3.3% and other EU countries higher (e.g. Denmark).

        The UK’s contract with AstraZeneca was in fact signed the day *after* the EU’s and contains the same “best efforts” clause.

        AstraZeneca exported about 9 million doses of its vaccine in February to the UK. while pretending to be making best efforts to fulfill its contract. The UK has consistently refused AstraZeneca permission to export any doses to the EU.

        I’ll leave it to the courts to determine whether AstraZeneca is actually making “best efforts” but it certainly doesn’t look like it to me.

      • telescoper Says:

        P.S. You can find the EU countries, UK and USA information here:

      • telescoper Says:

        I notice you skipped World War 2, which was caused by a certain Nation’s descent into nationalism and fascism…

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Yes, Hitler wanted to rule Europe and Britain wanted to remain a sovereign nation.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Henry VIII engineered a spiritual Brexit, of course. On the continent the Reformation began as a spiritual movement and then became political; in England it was the other way round.

        I might have added something about the consequences of the failure of Charlemagne’s empire to hold up. I’ve long meant to visit his tomb at Aachen/Aix-la-Chapelle.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        What is your source for the claim that the UK’s contract with Astra Zeneca was signed one day after the EU’s, please? Here is an interview with the CEO of Astra Zeneca who states that “the UK contract was signed three months before the European vaccine deal”:

        https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2021/01/26/news/interview_pascal_soriot_ceo_astrazeneca_coronavirus_covid_vaccines-284349628/

        According to this news item the UK has not prevented the export of any vaccine but the EU has:

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56339188

        Even if you divide by two the number of vaccine doses per 100 of the population in the UK, which is the statistic quoted in the graph I cited, it will still be well ahead of the EU average.

      • telescoper Says:

        I’d like to see him repeat that claim under oath.

        In fact “the UK’s official contract is actually dated August 28, one day after the EU’s contract”. See e.g. here: https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/02/17/europe/uk-astrazeneca-vaccine-contract-details-intl/index.html?__twitter_impression=true&s=09

      • telescoper Says:

        Oh, and the BBC is parroting Raab’s statements as fact.

      • telescoper Says:

        It’s not a question of dividing the doses by two. It’s a question of giving two doses within the recommended time interval. The UK has given a large number of people one dose but only a very small fraction have received the second. As of last Friday Ireland had administered 606,904 Covid-19 vaccine doses, with 443,092 first doses and 163,812 second doses. Only 124,510 of these doses were AstraZeneca, less than a third of the doses expected under the EU’s contract.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The statistics I gave cited the number of jabs administered in the UK and normalised it by the UK’s population. As it takes two jabs for complete immunity, then assuming no persons have yet been jabbed twice you get half of that figure of 37.98, ie 18.99%, which is still well ahead of the figures for the EU nations of large population even if they have been jabbed twice. And that worst-case assumption is not true, for several percent of the UK population have had two shots, so the true figure is better. One might also discuss the differing strategies of delaying the second jab to give more people the first jab quickly. The UK thinks it is a good idea, the EU doesn’t. (I agree with the UK but this is a separate issue.)

        The website you cite itself admits that the UK is well ahead of the EU and lays the blame on the EU rather than on dirty tricks in the UK. The EU managed at one point to unite the governments of the Republic of Ireland and the UK in its response to the covid situation in relation to the border, which is a considerable achievement.

        The timing of the contracts is explained by this paragraph from

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/02/19/astrazeneca-vaccine-contract-did-not-give-britain-priority-eu/

        The UK’s contract is in fact dated Aug 28, one day after the EU’s, although an earlier licensing deal in May between the parties of Oxford University, AstraZeneca and the Government appears to trump the later purchasing agreements.

        (I know how to beat the Telegraph paywall for free.)

        Who knows whether Raab is telling the truth? He’s a politician, same as the EU’s. But if you accuse him of lying then you need to be able to make it stick.

      • telescoper Says:

        If nobody in the UK has been jabbed twice then nobody in the UK has been fully vaccinated and the percentage fully vaccinated would be 0%. The actual figure for the UK according to the data linked here to is 2.3% fully vaccinated whereas the EU is on about 3.5% (average). You can see the data as percentages of population here.

        Of course things vary from one EU member state to another, as you would expect within a diverse collection of sovereign nations. Hungary, for example, is using the Russian Sputnik vaccine.

        The existence of the earlier agreement (which I believe is not publicly available) supports the view that AstraZeneca did not negotiate in good faith with the EU. All this will come out in court in due course.

      • telescoper Says:

        I am agnostic about the correct strategy. I think giving one short of AZ to as many as possible may make sense in the light of the emerging evidence but Pfizer are firm that two shots separated by 3 weeks is the way to go so that’s what most EU countries are doing (including Ireland). AZ is largely irrelevant in the EU as the supplies are desultory.

        The question does arise how many first-shot jabs will turn out to be wasted if no second jab is ever given.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Have a look at Section 60 for further illiberal proposals.

    Click to access 200268.pdf

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