Sunday, March 28, 2010

After 13 years, Labour realises that slavery is wrong

Now, your humble Devil had thought that Britain abolished slavery 177 years ago but, quite obviously, I was mistaken—because Labour are now claiming that they have abolished slavery with (guess what?) yet more new laws.
New laws which make it easier to prosecute those who exploit some of the most vulnerable people in society are about to come in to effect.

The new offence of holding another person in slavery or servitude, or requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour, is set out in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Those found guilty face a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Riiiiiight. So, let's think about this for a moment, because there are a number of points—both mildly facetious and entirely serious—to consider here.
  • If Labour believe that the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 did not, in fact, abolish slavery, then why has it taken them 13 years to make illegal one of the most fundamental of crimes?

  • If the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 did, in fact, abolish slavery then why the living fuck are Labour passing yet more laws duplicating the currently existing ones?

This is symptomatic of all governments these days—but especially NuLabour—and the answer is always the same: don't pass more laws, you stupid cunts, simply enforce the laws that we already have. If you cannot enforce the laws that we already have, then passing yet more unenforceable laws will not solve the fucking problem.

Of course, NuLabour like passing as many laws as possible—many, many thousands over the last 13 years, creating nearly 4,000 new criminal offences—for two main reasons.
  1. The first is that the government can embed mini-Enabling Acts into the statutes, thus ensuring that more and more of our rights can be circumscribed through Ministerial fiat, rather than having to go through the tedious business of having a vote in Parliament.

  2. The second is even more sinister than the above—although they are linked—and was articulated by the character of Dr Floyd Ferris in Ayn Rand's dystopian nightmare, Atlas Shrugged. I first quoted it almost exactly a year ago, in March 2009.
    However, it was a particular passage that I wished to quote; in it, one of the looters is threatening one of the "selfish" industrialists.
    "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against—then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.

    Please discuss this quote, with special reference to NuLabour's creation of an unprecendented number of new laws and criminal offences, and especially focusing on the particularly badly-drafted laws that make it almost impossible for said legislation to be codified—or "objectively interpreted", if you will.

    It is all about control, as any authoritarian tyranny always is. But NuLabour have gone about it softly, softly so as not to scare the horses voters. Just as people are not really that concerned about this recession because most have not felt the pain—that is being reserved for their children and their grandchildren in the form of colossal debt—most people have not yet felt the state's jackboot upon their throat.

    It's just here and there, and only very occasionally, that the media dare to report an isolated case of disgusting injustice—of the laws being used to punish people entirely unjustly, to bankrupt them and destroy their lives out of all proportion to their offence—and the general populace can afford to ignore such incidents. For the moment.

And it is only "for the moment": whilst Labour may be kicked out at the next election—and that is looking far from being a certainty—neither of the other two big parties have promised to repeal these assaults on our civil liberties. And it would be so easy for the Tories, for one, to pledge to do so: a cry for freedom would galvanise the people of this country in a way that Cameron's message of "more of the same" simply isn't doing.

So why are they not pledging to repeal all of these disgustingly authoritarian laws? Because they have absolutely no intention of doing so—they will use them as Labour has done. The last thing that the Tories are going to do is to remove the fenceposts of Absolute Government that Labour have put in place. The Tories are just the same as Labour, which is why the Tories are only 2% ahead in the polls.

Cartoon courtesy of Hoby. Click image for bigger version.

Returning, however, to Labour's "abolition" of slavery, Leg-Iron has come up with a rather splendid extrapolation.
Pub landlord Nick Hogan was prosecuted, fined more than the average baby-thumper and then sent to jail for far longer than a Labour peer who flattened someone with his car. For what exactly? Because he refused to act as an unpaid enforcement officer for a law he disagreed with. Note that he was not prosecuted for smoking - he was prosecuted for not stopping other people smoking.

Fresh from the unwiped bottom of MiniJust comes another dry clinker of wisdom. The same people who demand that all owners of private premises act as unpaid police and put themselves at risk so the Righteous don't have to, have come up with a new law to stop people forcing other people to do work they don't want to do... no, don't try to make sense of it, it will make your head hurt.
The new offence of holding another person in slavery or servitude, or requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour, is set out in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Those found guilty face a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

So, when the police charge you with 'allowing others to smoke', you can now immediately countercharge with 'requiring another person to perform forced labour' because that is exactly what they are doing. Act as an unpaid enforcer or face the wrath of the Righteous. Forcing landlords and other business premises operators to work for free as frontline law enforcers, at personal risk, is a direct violation of this new law.

You might get six months. They'll get 14 years.

Now, I am not sure that this will hold water—and certainly could not if we lived in a country that still acknowledged the Peelian Principles of policing. Said principles state the following...
  1. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

As such, it is incumbent on every citizen to uphold the law, regardless of whether they are being paid to do so or not: the police are simply people who happen to be paid to uphold the law full-time.

However, this new law might apply, in theory at least, to taxation. The text of the law appears here but, because it needs to be considerably cross-referenced with other parts of the Bill, it is easier to refer to the notes at the bottom of the MoJ press release.
  1. Forced or compulsory labour will require a level of coercion or deception between the employer and the victim, beyond that which might be expected in a normal employment arrangement.

Well, that would certainly apply to the government—except, of course, the government is not my employer. It might apply if I were any one of the 6 million or so people who are employed by the state though...
The employer must know that the arrangement was oppressive and not truly voluntary, or must have turned a blind eye to that fact.

A number of factors may point to forced or compulsory labour. The kind of behaviour that might, of itself, amount to forced labour includes (but is not limited to):
  • violence or threats of violence by the employer or the employer’s representative

Hmmm. So, were I employed by government, it is possible that this could apply to taxation—it's a little tenuous, but a case could be made. Oh, wait... [Emphasis mine.]
  1. In line with the European Convention on Human Rights, the offence contains exceptions for labour that may be necessary to ensure public safety and the rights of others. Those exceptions are: work done in the course of lawful detention; military service; emergencies or life threatening situations; and work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.

And—boom!—there's the get-out clause. Essentially, "normal civic obligations" is whatever the government say it is—and you can bet your last Rolo pound that "normal civic obligations" not only includes paying tax, but also upholding the smoking ban in a pub.

So, it's the same old story: slavery is wrong unless it is the state to whom you are indentured. And that compulsion is with you for all of your life and the amount that you must work is unlimited. We are slaves to the state forever, and we shall never, ever be free (not even after our deaths).

Truly, war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

UPDATE: Timmy concludes that the Act does make compulsory recycling illegal though.
These people aren’t entirely stupid of course. Normal civic obligations includes the unpaid time we must use to fill in tax forms, the unpaid time we must use to fill in the Census, the unpaid time ….well, you get the picture.

However, the requirement to sort your rubbish is not a normal civic obligation. It’s an attempt to create a new civic obligation. It’s also labour and it’s also performed under duress….don’t do it and they’ll arrest you, resist arrest and they’ll use violence.

And this would hold true for any new service which the government would force us to provide unpaid and with the threat of punishment if we don’t.

As Timmy says, isn’t that fascinating?


Jock Coats said...

Actually, I haven't followed the paper trail through the various stages of the Coroners' and Justice Act, but I found out about this claim that it was the first statute to make it a criminal offence to keep a slave (something to do with previous ones being about trading, or previous ones were about ownership and treating people as property, whereas the modern "slavery" that can come as a result of human trafficking or wealthy Arabs and their Philippino servants who have their passports taken away so they can't run off don't rely on these quaint contractual notions) from Ms Chakrabarti a few days after the bill got Royal Assent. And I am pretty sure that she said (heavily hinted anyway) that Section 71 was not a government measure, but a Lib Dem one (possibly Anthony Lester).

So I reckon you're probably slightly off on those two counts - the section is needed because previous statutes are insufficient to cover the sort of modern day "slavery" and "involuntary servitude" and that it was very possibly not Labour's doing.

But you are of course right on the main point - the government slavery get out clause, although I wonder in the case Legiiron was writing about - whether somebody should be forced to police something that might, in doing so, put them in danger of assault - whether putting yourself in such potential danger can be put down as a "civic obligation".

Anonymous said...

There's more tho'
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
Cooling is warming
Unemployment is Working
and yet more to come..

Dick Puddlecote said...

Great article, DK.

Or, to put your post pictorially.

bob the magic elf said...

In the case of the pub landlord, he was imprisoned for not paying the fine, not for what the fine was for (allowing others to smoke in his premises) - there is a big difference, and its the real scandal of NU Labour's approach to the law. Its the non payment of fines which gets you imprisoned - same as it ever was.
Where is it awful is that you get auto fines as a 'cheap' way of avoiding court, and the rights and laws that will still protect you.

Try taking an auto fine case to court and they will make damn sure that you know that they will use a sledge hammer - no intimidation you understand, but outside the courts the presumption of innocent doesn't work -and we are all a little scared to make too much of a fuss - just in case ... - and its exactly what Nu Lab want!

Anonymous said...

One of the troubles of being unemployed is that one has to work so hard...

Ian B said...

We are in the second progressive era (after the interregnum of the Kinda-marxist Era). Once you understand that these are Third Socialists- progressives, not communists, their actions tend to make more sense.

One of the characteristic drivers of the First Progressive Era was the White Slavery Panic- a myth that thousands, nay millions, of innocent nice white girls were being captured and forced to work in brothels in the big cities. It was the major justifying ideology of that Victorian Progressive invention, the war on the sex business.

Now that the Progressives are back in force, so are their old campaigns. Temperance is back, for instance, and so is the White Slavery Panic, except reconstituted for our age as, not nice white girls, but girls from e.g. Eastern Europe. The motivation is the same of course, a moralist hatred of the sex trade.

Harperson has recently announced that there will be a major puritan drive during the Olympics to prevent "trafficking", which actually just means preventing prostitution, under the pretence that any woman who crosses a border to sell sex has been "trafficked". Which is basically the same as saying that any Pole who comes to England to sell his kind of plumbing expertise has also been "trafficked".

So, what we basically have here is the New Puritanism, which is actually just the same as the Old Puritanism. Trafficking is the new name for an old, old idea. I daresay they'll be reviving the Contagious Diseases Acts soon too, as well.

To understand The Enemy, one must always keep in mind that they are not marxists (even the ones who call themselves marxists). Socialism in the Anglosphere- the kind which since the collapse of Marxism is rapidly developing globally from its wellsprings in the USA and here in Britain- is a moral crusade. Secularised missionary work, if you will. They use words like "slavery" to swing the body of the people behind their crusades, but their aim is neither freedom, nor communism, nor fascism. It is a world of absolute moral purity.

This Third Socialism- in fact chronologically it was the first- was invented here in Britain. Until we can overthrow this moralist ideological hegemony, we are all certain to be ever more enslaved. Because free people are immoral, you see.

Anonymous said...

A nation of law breakers not only gives the state more power it gives the lawyers more money.

Yes Cherie you know who we are talking about.

selsey.steve said...

I just wish that the government would get the fuck out of my life.

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