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UK Politics VI - Will Britain Steir to Karmer Waters?

Arakhor

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US blocks British court from British territory

The US government has blocked a British court hearing from taking place on a British territory, citing security concerns, according to court documents.

The supreme court of British Indian Ocean Territory (Biot) was due to hold a hearing this week, attended by the BBC, on whether a group of migrants was being unlawfully detained on the island of Diego Garcia.

The island hosts a secretive UK-US military base and access is heavily restricted.

The US last week said it was “withdrawing its consent” for lawyers representing the migrants and “members of the press” - the BBC - to access the island, according to court documents.

It said it would not allow participants of the hearing to board US military flights to Diego Garcia, and would not provide transport, accommodation or food on the island until its “security and operational concerns are adequately addressed”, a witness statement from Biot’s deputy commissioner, Nishi Dholakia, says.

Dozens of Sri Lankan Tamils landed on the island in October 2021, becoming the first people to file asylum claims on Biot. Around 60 people, including at least 16 children, remain there as complex legal battles are fought over their fate.

They are housed in tents in a fenced camp, guarded by private security company G4S.

There have been multiple suicide attempts on the island, and reports of sexual harassment and assaults allegedly committed by migrants within the camp.

Some migrants have been flown to Rwanda for medical treatment following self-harm and suicide attempts, and those with successful claims are waiting for a “safe third country” to be identified to resettle them in.

Late last Thursday night - hours before the judge, UK government lawyers and those representing the migrants, and the BBC were due to board flights for the first leg of the journey - the court shared an order cancelling the hearing.

United Nations representatives visited the camp late last year and reported that conditions there amounted to arbitrary detention.

In interviews with the BBC, migrants have described conditions on the island as hellish.

"We are the parrots, we are in a cage," one said last year of the lack of freedom.

During Tuesday’s virtual hearing, one of the migrants on the island appeared to collapse.

 
And in a completely different context, what is it with professional journalists and their inability to write normal, sensible things about Starmer? Shout out to @Bonyduck Campersang for the previous piece here.

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It's behind a paywall :blush:

Archive is my currently favoured solution to these problems, so their captcha can be awful.

Fair enough for her and all, but I feel that might be over sharing. No one has to read anything online though, and I have seen worse oversharing on the internet.
 
Wow, it really is dreadful

“On the morning after the election,” one of my friends whatsapped, “I realised I’d got up and shaved my legs, put on a face mask and blow-dried my hair. Like I was subconsciously preparing for a date.”
And whom was that date with? As we spent an enjoyable hour analysing her subconscious, we concluded it wasn’t specifically with Keir Starmer, or even a new Labour government, but with competency. There is nothing more erotic to a middle-aged woman than competency. It is the quality we value above all others. As we age, our preferred language of love shifts from, “I would die for you,” to, “I will stay alive and do your VAT return for you.” The single most sexual phrase we can hear is, “I’ll take care of that.”
Or — the best — the one that makes us start taking off our nicely ironed blouses and carefully putting them on a coat hanger: “I’ve taken care of that.”
 
Ireland won't say it out loud but the government and opposition are all happy the Tories are gone.
 
It only took 14 years and the perilous descent of almost every socioeconomic metric!
 
Well the new thread title clearly looks forward to the future,
but in my opinion too many posts here look towards the past.

The question to me is what will the new Labour government achieve?

As said before:

(a) abandonment of Rwanda scheme
(b) permitting resumption of onshore wind development
(c) ending partisan legal support for Israeli government

all seem good.

But there are other questions that spring to my mind:

Will the Labour government:

(a) end triple lock on state pensions
(b) mitigate the two child benefit limit
(c) defeat the NIMBYs and get house building going
(d) abolish the no fault eviction clause
(e) implement a staggered smoking ban.
(f) manage the prison crisis without releasing the wrong prisoners
(g) rebuild the UK military

And what will be the impact on human rights of having Sir Keir Starmer
(human rights is apparently on his CV) be for demonstrators/refugees.

Will his attempts to re-engage with the EU go anywhere useful?
 
about that prison crisis:

UK's overflowing prisons present PM Starmer with early crisis​


LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - The scale of the challenge facing Prime Minister Keir Starmer's new government is writ large in Britain's prisons, which are within weeks of being too full to accept new inmates, leaving the government with unpalatable and costly choices.
Britain has western Europe's highest rate of incarceration, according to the World Prison Brief database and faces a crisis after a new building programme failed to keep track with tougher sentencing laws that have fuelled a growing prison population.

Already many prisons are housing two inmates in cells built for one, and emergency measures triggered by the previous Conservative government mean some offenders have been released early and court cases delayed to avoid new arrivals.
The head of the body representing prison governors has warned that unless a solution can be found, offenders will soon have to be held in police cells - constraining officers and disrupting the wider judicial system.

Labour leader Starmer has described the state of Britain's prisons as a "monumental failure" of the last government, but like other challenges - from sewage in rivers to strikes at the National Health Service - that stance may only hold for so long.
He also has little financial room to manoeuvre. According to the Institute for Government (IfG) think tank, spending on prisons is set to fall by 5.9% each year relative to demand over the coming years.

Tom Wheatley, president of the Prison Governors Association, said the new government had no time to waste.
"I think they can (act quickly enough), but only just. It's going to be touch and go," he told Reuters.
"We're nearing the line on what can be safely accommodated, even in overcrowded conditions."

HIGH IMPRISONMENT RATES​

As of July 5, England and Wales had 87,453 prisoners - up from 86,035 a year earlier and within a whisker of what prison governors see as a maximum capacity of 88,864.

That equates to around 144 prisoners per 100,000 in the population. Imprisonment rates are around 25% lower in France, Spain and Italy and less than half in Germany and the Netherlands. The United States, however, has a far higher rate at 531 prisoners per 100,000.
Options to tackle overcrowding include releasing more offenders with electronic tags or giving people suspended sentences, meaning they would only be jailed if they were to reoffend again within a certain timeframe.

Starmer has promised to get to grips with the problem but warned it would take time. "We can't fix it overnight. Therefore, it is impossible to say we will stop the early release of prisoners," he said in his first press conference after his party won a landslide victory in last week's election.
Starmer was previously the chief prosecutor for England and Wales and his longer-term thinking may be detected by his choice of new prisons minister: businessman James Timpson, whose shoe-repair and key-cutting firm employs ex-offenders and who is known for his belief in rehabilitation.
Britain's Ministry of Justice said a third of former prisoners were proven to have committed another offence within 12 months of release, rising to more than half of those who had served less than a year behind bars.
Any attempt to improve that would take time, and money.

TALKING TOUGH ON CRIME​

It is a crisis that has had a slow and steady build-up. Britain's parties have long fought election campaigns on tackling crime with harsher sentences, tapping into the demands of some of the country's newspapers and voters' fears.
Starmer's Labour was no different, promising "tough new penalties for offenders".
And that has had an impact on prisons.
Government data shows that average sentence length, excluding life sentences, increased from 14.5 to 20.9 months between 2012 and 2023.
In 2020 and 2022 the Conservative government also moved to make those convicted of more serious crimes serve at least two thirds rather than half their sentences behind bars.
As a result the IfG says the prison population has doubled over the last 30 years, even as crime rates have fallen substantially. The population is now forecast to balloon to more than 100,000 by 2026.
There is little new accommodation. The building of three new prisons has been thwarted by planning rejections and the closure of prisons built in the 19th century has been delayed.
Wheatley, who has run several jails, said the prison estate in England and Wales was only built to house about 79,000 people, not the nearly 88,000 people it has now. He said switching to more tagging may require legislation, but he expects a government decision soon.
The IfG said the previous Conservative government's programme to build 20,000 prison spaces by the mid 2020s was significantly behind schedule, with fewer than 6,000 built. It was only likely to hit 10,000 by the end of 2025.
Before the election, Labour pledged to deliver the remaining 14,000 new prison places.
However, early intervention will be needed before prison building programmes are completed.
"They are going to have to take some further emergency steps in the short term to reduce demand on prisons," said Cassia Rowland, a senior researcher at the IfG.
 
(a) end triple lock on state pensions
(b) mitigate the two child benefit limit
(c) defeat the NIMBYs and get house building going
(d) abolish the no fault eviction clause
(e) implement a staggered smoking ban.
(f) manage the prison crisis without releasing the wrong prisoners
(g) rebuild the UK military

a. A dangerous, but I think needed move. Pensions need a shake-up. Certainly we cannot afford to keep things as they stand
b. My understanding is that it affects remarkably few, and in such a cruel way.. all in a time we probably are desperate to increase births. I think it was more political appeasement than economic sense.. so easily removed.
c. Essential. BANANAs have choked this country. Even in my city, a a huge disgusting ex-gasworks that would have been 500+ homes got blocked by them. They need to ensure it isn't seen as simply a huge wealth transfer though.
d. Fluffy and difficult. I am a LL myself. Unless there is huge change, there will be other wiggle room for evictions and I really think they are the boogeyman of a failed homebuilding plan. We need council housing that doesn't come with stigma.
e. The ban was dropped due to lobbying via smoking companies.. did they line the pockets of labour too? An easy win.. but is smoking dying out naturally anyway? Vape use and e-waste is my bugbear. If we ban cigs, I want high tax on vapes to make them unobtainable for kids too.
f. Kier is a bit of a foslle when it comes to drugs. Legalise weed, use the money to improve prisons to detain the actual criminal and violent.
g. Needed to be relevant on the international stage.
 
d. Fluffy and difficult. I am a LL myself. Unless there is huge change, there will be other wiggle room for evictions and I really think they are the boogeyman of a failed homebuilding plan. We need council housing that doesn't come with stigma.
There still being wiggle room doesn't mean we shouldn't get rid of no fault evictions. Landlords should 100% need a reason to evict.
 
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