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What’s Gone On This Week: 15 Activists Have Been Punished for Peaceful Protest

Welcome to “Pub Notes”, a column where NEO – AKA @WELCOME_ZIDANE – spoon-feeds you opinions about the three biggest UK stories of the week, so you don’t miss any heated debates down the pub or around the coffee table at 4AM tomorrow.

THE CURSÈD MACE

PANTO-SEASON IS IN FULL FLOW, BUT WHY GO SEE NEIL MORRISSEY PLAY “BUTTONS” IN CINDERELLA WHEN YOU CAN WITNESS INSTANTLY BETTER COMEDIC ENTITIES IN PARLIAMENT FUCKING UP EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH LIKE A REVERSE MIDAS. I’M STARTING TO THINK EVEN HAVING MR PUNCHINELLO AS PRIME MINISTER WOULD BE LESS CHAOTIC.

BREXIT FURORE PEAKED THIS WEEK AS LLOYD RUSSELL-MOYLE, WHO RECENTLY BECAME THE FIRST MP TO ANNOUNCE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS THAT HE IS HIV+ IN THE HOPE OF MAKING LIFE BETTER AND EASIER FOR THE THOUSANDS OF OTHERS LIVING WITH THE VIRUS, WALKED FORWARD IN PARLIAMENT AND HELD ALOFT THE CEREMONIAL MACE IN PROTEST OF THE GOVERNMENT FORMALLY DELAYING THE BREXIT VOTE. HE WAS PROMPTLY LABELLED A “DISGRACE” BY OUTRAGED CONSERVATIVE MPS TO CRIES OF “EXPEL HIM”. NOT HARD TO WORK OUT WHO THE GRASSES WERE AT SCHOOL IS IT.

TO THE UNTRAINED EYE THE FIVE-FOOT GOLDEN SCEPTRE MIGHT LOOK LIKE SOMETHING SOME FORMULA 1 CUNT WOULD HOLD ALOFT AFTER WINNING A GRAND PRIX IN ABU DHABI, BUT FOR 500 YEARS IT HAS REPRESENTED THE MONARCH’S AUTHORITY IN PARLIAMENT. WITHOUT IT, PARLIAMENT CANNOT MEET OR PASS LAWS, AND IT’S LITERALLY ILLEGAL TO CARRY OUT A DEBATE WITHOUT IT. THE BRIGHTON KEMPTOWN MP SAID THAT WHILE HE WAS AWARE THAT GRABBING THE MACE MAY SEEM STRANGE, HE CONCEDED HE WORKS “IN A VERY ODD PLACE, WHICH RESTS HEAVILY ON SYMBOL AND RITUAL.”

IT COULDN’T BE A BRITISH DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM IF IT WASN’T UNDERPINNED BY SOME OLD CUNT COVERED IN DIAMONDS WHO ISN’T SUBJECTED TO “EARTHLY AUTHORITY BY THE GRACE OF GOD” GRANTING US THEIR PERMISSION IN THE FORM OF IMPERIAL INSIGNIA TO LIVE OUT OUR PATHETIC LAW-ABIDING LIVES. OF COURSE, MPS RUNNING UP MILLIONS-OF-POUNDS ON THE BEER TAB IN ANY OF THE EIGHT BARS INSIDE PARLIAMENT AS PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY RIFLE THROUGH BINS IN ORDER TO EAT IS CONSIDERED NORMAL AND RATIONAL. BUT A CEREMONIAL MACE THAT LOOKS LIKE A GIANT GOLDEN VIBRATOR DESIGNED BY VIVIENNE WESTWOOD IS CONSIDERED SACROSANCT.

I’VE SAID IT BEFORE BUT I’LL SAY IT AGAIN: IF YOU WANT ANY SEMBLANCE OF CHANGE, TAKE PARLIAMENT OUT OF CENTRAL LONDON AND PLOP IT IN AN INDUSTRIAL ESTATE OUTSIDE A SHIT HOLE TOWARDS THE MIDDLE OF BRITAIN.

THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT ROLL-OUT IS A FUCKING DISGRACE

AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, MANY PEOPLE IN THE FIRST WORLD COUNTRY OF GREAT BRITAIN ARE SO POOR THEY’RE LITERALLY FORCED TO SCAVENGE FOR FOOD.

THE HUMAN FALLOUT OF THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT ROLL-OUT HAS BEEN CONDEMNED IN A NEW REPORT BY DEBT CHARITY “CHRISTIANS AGAINST POVERTY”. THE TORTUOUS SIGN UP PROCESS FOLLOWED BY THE INTERMINABLE WAIT WITHOUT MONEY IS LEAVING PEOPLE IN DESPERATE SITUATIONS.

WHILE THE IDEA OF HAVING A SINGLE BENEFIT PAYMENT, RATHER THAN SIX SEPARATE ONES, SEEMS LOGICAL IN THEORY, THE CHARITY POINTS OUT ISSUES WHICH TRIP UP THE MOST VULNERABLE APPLICANTS. THESE INCLUDE THE APPLICATION NEEDING TO BE FILLED IN ONLINE – WITH NO PAPER-BASED EQUIVALENT AND NO SAVE OPTION – MEANING YOU HAVE TO DO IT IN ONE SITTING. ONE WOMAN WHOSE CLAIM WAS GREATLY DELAYED BECAUSE OF PROBLEMS COMPLETING HER APPLICATION DID NOT HAVE ANY SUPPORT BECAUSE THE SET NUMBER OF WEEKS THE “SUPPORT WORKER HAD BEEN ALLOCATED TO HELP HER HAD BEEN EXCEEDED”, THE CHARITY EXPLAINED. THEN, ONCE HER EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT ALLOWANCE CLAIM WAS CLOSED, THERE WAS THE OFFICIAL FIVE-WEEK WAIT FOR THE FIRST UC PAYMENT. “SHE CONTINUED WITHOUT INCOME FOR, IT SEEMED TO HER, AN UNENDING AMOUNT OF TIME… SHE HAD BEEN GOING THROUGH BINS AT NIGHT TO FIND FOOD”. IT’S NO SURPRISE THE USAGE OF FOOD BANKS NEARLY DOUBLES IN AREAS WHERE UNIVERSAL CREDIT HAS REPLACED THE PREVIOUS SYSTEM.

THESE HUGE WAIT TIMES FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT MEAN, IN SOME PLACES, “OVER 50 PERCENT” OF CLAIMANTS ARE IN RENT ARREARS. WITH OUR CIVIL SERVICE SEEMINGLY UNABLE TO COMPREHEND THAT NOT EVERYONE’S DAD IS A HEDGE-FUND MANAGER FROM SURREY, APPLICANTS ARE OFTEN BEING ADVISED TO BORROW FROM “FRIENDS, FAMILY OR A COMMERCIAL LENDER TO COVER THE GAP”. ONE PERSON TOLD THE CHARITY THE COUNCIL THREATENED TO START EVICTION PROCEEDINGS IF THEY DIDN’T PAY RENT WHILE AWAITING UC PAYMENTS TO BEGIN.

IF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT LANDING KIDNEY SHOTS LIKE A PRIME GEORGE FOREMAN WASN’T ENOUGH TO CONTEND WITH, YOU HAVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOOTING FUCK OUT OF YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN. I THINK THE CIVIL SERVICES’ MARIE ANTOINETTE HOMAGE OF SPENDING £1,125 ON CAKE TO CELEBRATE THIS CRUEL SYSTEM JUST ABOUT HIGHLIGHTS HOW INSENSITIVE THE BODIES THAT ARE MEANT TO OFFER US A DUTY OF CARE HAVE BECOME.

PEACEFUL PROTEST CAN NOW GET YOU PRISON TIME IN THE UK APPARENTLY

LAST YEAR, 15 ACTIVISTS CUT A HOLE IN A PERIMETER FENCE AT STANSTED AIRPORT AND BLOCKED THE TAKEOFF OF A DEPORTATION FLIGHT THAT HAD BEEN CHARTERED BY THE HOME OFFICE.

THIS WEEK, THE GROUP WERE FOUND GUILTY UNDER “THE 1990 AVIATION AND MARITIME SECURITY ACT”, A LAW PASSED IN RESPONSE TO THE 1988 LOCKERBIE BOMBING. THE CONVICTION HAS BEEN CALLED A “CRUSHING BLOW FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” BY AMNESTY. EVEN IF YOU ARE A BOOTLICKING CUNT, THE THOUGHT OF A LAW BORNE OUT OF A TERRORIST ACT BEING USED TO CONVICT NON-VIOLENT PROTESTS SHOULD BE DEEPLY WORRISOME.

WHAT MAKES THIS CONVICTION EVEN MORE ORWELLIAN IS THAT THESE ACTIVISTS WERE INITIALLY ACCUSED OF AGGRAVATED TRESPASS, THE TYPICAL CHARGE, BUT THE CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE THEN UPGRADED THIS TO “INTENTIONAL DISRUPTION OF SERVICES AT AN AERODROME” BY MEANS OF “A DEVICE, SUBSTANCE OR WEAPON”. WHICH SOUNDS LIKE POSH CUNT SPEAK FOR, “YOU’RE GETTING FUCKED OVER, PAL.”

THE CPS MAINTAINED THE GROUP PLACED “THEMSELVES, THE FLIGHT CREW, AIRPORT PERSONNEL AND POLICE AT SERIOUS RISK OF INJURY OR EVEN DEATH”. THEIR “DEVICES” IN THIS INSTANCE WEREN’T EXPLOSIVES, BUT “BOLT CUTTERS, CHAINS, EXPANDING FOAM, SCAFFOLDING POLES AND LOCK BOX DEVICES”, WHICH WOULD MAKE EVERY WHITE-VAN-MAN IN BRITAIN A POTENTIAL TED KACZYNSKI.

THE PROTESTORS WERE HIGHLIGHTING A HARSH AND PUNITIVE SYSTEM WHICH MANY PEOPLE ARE INCREASINGLY ILL AT EASE WITH. EVEN VIRGIN ATLANTIC SAID THEY WOULD NO LONGER HELP DEPORTATION, AND WITH NEARLY HALF OF IMMIGRATION DECISIONS MADE OVERTURNED ON APPEAL, THE BEST RESPONSE WOULD PROBABLY HAVE BEEN TO DO AWAY WITH SUCH A CRUEL POLICY.

THANKS TO THE ACTIVISTS’ BLOCKADE THAT DAY, MANY PEOPLE ON THAT FLIGHT – SOME OF THEM VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING RECOGNISED UNDER THE “MODERN SLAVERY ACT” – ARE STILL IN THE UK WITH THEIR FAMILIES, AND TWO PEOPLE HAVE SINCE BEEN PROVED TO HAVE BEEN RIGHTLY SAVED FROM WRONGFUL DEPORTATION. WHEN I LOOK OVER TO OUR COUSINS PROTESTING IN FRANCE, I CAN’T HELP BUT FEEL IF MACRON’S GOVERNMENT TRIED THIS SHIT, YOU COULD SET YOUR WATCH TO HIS HEAD DEPARTING HIS BODY ON THE PLACE DE LA CONCORDE WITHIN THE HOUR.

WHILE, TO MOST OF US, PROTESTING EQUATES TO HELPING CROWDFUND A “FUNNY” BALLOON ONCE A YEAR, NON-VIOLENT PROTESTERS WHO ARE ACTUALLY SAVING LIVES COULD BE SENT TO PRISON FOR THEIR REAL “CRIME” OF EXPLICITLY CHALLENGING THE PRACTICES OF THE GOVERNMENT. PATHETIC.

@WELCOME_ZIDANE

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

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