Saturday, 21 November 2009

Power Corrupts!

Updated Nov 26th 2009 to add: Today I'm an Independent, because today's Scottish National Party, financed by a homophobic religious fundamentalist, fails to convince me of its commitment to the separation of church and state - a commitment essential to the health and survival of our multicultural and multi-ethnic society.


That's the heading provided by Charlie Stross in his rantlet against the Digital Economy Bill published this week. But whilst that bill is certainly something to get worked up about, and for a host of reasons, Charlie on this occasion very wisely puts his health first; links to Cory Doctorow's exposition of the latest Mandelson scandal; and asks others to step up.

Well, this time I did. Firstly, by joining - at last! - the flood towards the Open Rights Group, and setting up a direct debit to support them. And secondly, by picking out what I regard as the single worst infraction of human rights contained in these proposals, and writing a letter to my MP:

Dear John Mason,

We have been utterly shocked and dismayed, almost beyond our powers of expression and protest, by the recently revealed ultimate form and content of the Westminster government's Digital Economy bill.

Can you please assure us that the SNP regards Internet connection as a basic human right, as do a growing number of European nations (Finland, Spain); that the Party in the House of Commons, with the vocal support of the Scottish Government, will not tolerate, nor indeed contemplate, for any reason whatsoever, the degradation of service and/or disconnection of an entire family from the full range of vital services provided by the Internet; that in particular, such or similar sanctions should never be countenanced on the basis of a copyright infringement or related accusation, against any one family member; and finally, that the Party's resolve on this issue stands ready to challenge the relevant provisions of the bill through, and to the exhaustion of, all possible available avenues of blocking and appeal, both in the UK and in a European context.

We write to you as long time active members and supporters of the SNP, both as office bearers and as canvassers / leafleters, who have worked hard over many years to help bring the Party to its currently successful milieu. Throughout all those decades of campaigning, the one indispensable principle of our activism, from before the Poll Tax to free prescriptions on the NHS and beyond, has been the fundamental and special humanitarianism, the blessed sense of fairness, of the Scottish people.

There is much that is rotten, corrupt and foul in the provisions of Mandelson's bill, but Internet disconnection surely rates as the most pernicious and abhorrent suggestion, an affront to the sensibilities of our national psyche.

I trust that we can count on your support against the despicable measures being considered in this proposition.

Yours sincerely,

John M. Kerr
Linda M.G. Kerr

Political corruption knows no bounds, and is more than happy to form opportunistic coalitions with apathy, gullibility, stupidity and his dog. Peter Mandelson has perhaps the most impressive record of aggressive impropriety and power grabbing avarice, of any UK politician active today. In his most brilliant and terrifying piece of duplicity to date, he recently indicated that he'd be equally happy to work with a Conservative government.

He is immune to the intentions of an electorate that never did vote for him, and never would.

Mandelson was a serially unelected minister, originally without portfolio, and as we now see, without loyalty to any party, or visible principles of any kind. Yet he wields such power at Westminster, in the House of Lords, wholly because of the extreme weakness of this Labour government. Having been repeatedly forced to resign over this and that scandal, nevertheless he has managed to find, in Gordon Brown's dismal desperation, a way to insinuate himself back into the centre of UK politics and power, and once there, to coat himself with Teflon.

This is a time for protest, but this time, your vote alone won't cut it. We need a new wave of activists, ready to go into battle with pens and voices raised. Fit and willing to engage the enemy in a dirty fight for the survival of intellectual and creative freedom, yes, and for basic human decency. We need you!

Because I'll only be 50 for another day or two, and this rousing blog article is the third activist-y thing I've done today. Seriously, I need to lie down now.

Please join the Open Rights Group. We have to start somewhere.

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