Labour MPs MUST Defy Starmer & Vote the Spycop Bill Down!

I stole my name from a dead baby, that’s how they described me. I’ll stand behind you til we’re all free, searching for conspiracy. I look for proof but that’s just me, I study and deceive Drug Bust McGee.

The best way out they told me was to blame it on insanity. To run away to my folks back home, who to all of you will remain unknown. It was you I came to investigate, I’m the one to watch, the one to hate. I rifled through your every room and I’m the one who stole your womb.

A selection of lyrics to the 2018 song Drug Bust McGee by The Levellers, so often politically on message in their music and extremely prescient given the legislation going through today, which would render the aforementioned insanity plea unnecessary by putting undercover cops like McGee above the law.

Today the Tories, after receiving little opposition to their Covert Human Intelligence Services Bill, better known as the Spycops Bill, or the Licence to Kill Bill, at second reading thanks to Keir the Abstainer, are planning on rushing through both committee and report stages in one day, before voting at third reading tonight — a process that normally would take weeks, scrutinising the bill line by line. I can’t imagine why the Tories are in such a hurry, can you?

Amendments have been laid down by Labour and other opposition parties as you would expect —amendments to rule out some of the worst crimes, to block some areas of infiltration, to stop agents having sexual relationships whilst undercover — again, something alluded to by the Levellers, but sadly it has come to light that Starmer, despite showing some nascent, fledgling opposition at last this week by ceasing to support the government's Covid crisis handling, has told his MPs that should their amendments fall, they shouldn’t vote the bill down. Well, it’s a stupid thing to announce really, since the Tories, already under little pressure to accept amendments with the majority they have, have even less need to do so now, knowing the Leader of the Appeasition will still support them anyway! Flagging polling figures and sinking personal ratings have failed to pressure Starmer into some semblance of actual leadership. The figures will go lower.

This bill is a massive threat to our everyday lives and Starmer’s failure to oppose again, doubling down and then doubling down again on his opposition to opposition has been, I think, his biggest failure to date. The famous human rights lawyer, failing to stand up for human rights.

Undercover cops will be above the law. They will be able to commit crimes without fear of recrimination to maintain their cover and there’s no limit at the moment on the crimes they can commit. Other countries have similar laws, it's true, but they draw the line at the likes of rape or murder. Not so with this Bill.

Nor is their any limit on who they can investigate. They will be able to legally infiltrate any company or representative body. The Tories could for example infiltrate the Labour Party. Those environmental groups that protest fracking and the like? They can infiltrate those. Trade Unions, your representatives in the workplace? They can be infiltrated too. No action will ever be made against these investigators, no matter what they do. Say somebody plants evidence of wrongdoing — perhaps right before an election — the Tories can capitalise on that and there’s no way of checking the truth, because the people involved will be protected from prosecution.

Now this is all hypothetical, but do you really think the Tories, in power as they are, wouldn’t stoop to this?

There’s no oversight here. The Human Rights Act and the European Convention of Human Rights don’t apply. There’s no safeguarding whatsoever. There’s no judicial oversight. Where it talks about specific points that CHIS would apply, it talks about national security, public safety, public health, but then dubiously says it would apply ‘for another purpose specified in the order’ which could mean anyone or anything.

You would expect such an order to concern the police, or the armed forces perhaps, but why do DEFRA need a licence to kill? Why does the Department of Health and Social Care need a spycop?

It should be obvious to everybody why this bill should be opposed. Our democracy relies on everyone being equal in the eyes of the law. This piece of legislation if it passes, tears that up. It’s a frighteningly big step on the road to authoritarianism and no Labour MP should be considering abstaining on this bill to just let it pass, let alone be whipped to do so by their weakling of a leader. Left wing groups such as Momentum have issued statements of opposition and 14 trade unions have done likewise.

Message your MP today, lobby them hard to oppose this — tell them, do not make yourself complicit in this attack on civil liberties and human rights, ask them to back the amendments and vote down the bill.

This article is dedicated to the memories of my fellow online activists, who have sadly passed away. Rest in Power Nathan Harmer Taylor and Rose Webster, taken from us far too soon x

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