August 26, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — Only the dead could have missed the spectacular witch-hunt of leadership front-runner Jeremy Corbyn by both media and politicians. Britain’s submersion under a daily deluge of articles attempting to expose what’s at the bottom of Corbyn’s laundry basket has gone on for weeks, with no end in sight. Attempts to sabotage what is rapidly becoming a one horse race have included everything from Corbyn’s style evolution and the green jumper his mother knitted to claims he ”inadvertently” helped cover up child abuse scandals — and let’s not forget the brutal slurs of anti-Semitism which he has firmly denied.
Believe it or not, Corbynmania is not the only significant thing happening in the U.K. — and we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t draw some bits and pieces to your attention.
1. New fracking licenses. Last week, the government offered up to 27 licenses to fracking companies for the extraction of onshore oil and gas on blocks of land in the North East, North West and West Midlands. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) announced that assessments are taking place on a further 132 blocks of land, with results expected later in the year.
2. Social cleansing. It recently emerged that big name property developers are some of the biggest financial donors to candidates in the 2016 London mayoral election. According to Red Pepper, three Labour London mayoral candidates have received at least £46,500 between them. Donations from private developers come as no surprise to many, but do further implicate Labour politicians in the capital’s housing crisis, which has displaced thousands as a result of private sector expansion.
3. Councils are losing your data. As we hand over more personal information to local authorities, the more we become victims of breaches in security, as claimed in the latest report by Big Brother Watch’s “A Breach Of Trust.” The rising trend of of data breaches includes tartling and dramatic increases in loss of data and cases of unauthorised people accessing personal information. The astonishing investigation includes information on the blatant losses and theft of people’s personal equipment by local councils, letters sent out to the wrong people (including confidential information on children), bundles of sensitive data left on trains by social workers, and the inappropriate use of CCTV. Read the report — it will make your hair curl.
4. Speedy Removal of Migrants. The next stage of the Home Office’s attempt at “creating a hostile environment” for migrants slipped by unnoticed on Thursday as Teresa May announced that Britain would help fund“dedicated facilities” for those undergoing the asylum claims process. With 5,000 people camped out in squalid camps in Calais, plans by the Home Office to fly migrants back to their home countries as part of a £7 million deal between British and French authorities have been criticised by campaigners as a short-term solution that could lead to erratic decision making.
5. Dealing in death. With all eyes on Corbyn, the next two weeks will see London’s poshest venues play host to some of the world’s most prolific arms dealers as they eat vol-u-vents and sip Prosecco to wind down from a day of weapons shopping in the Docklands. Yes, folks, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs is coming to town. Co-organised by the UKTI DSO, a government department whose remit is solely to promote arms sales in the name of defence, “exhibits” will include everything from deadly drones and submarines to crowd control weapons, bullets, and rifles. If the list of countries invited to the 2013 fair is anything to go by, the capital will be facilitating blood-stained handshakes between war profiteers and some of the world’s most repressive regimes.
6. Government department admits lying to you. A petition calling for the resignation of Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith was signed by over 40,000 people in one week. The demand for him to throw in the towel comes after the DWP was caught red handed falsifying stories in an attempt to illustrate the positive side of benefit sanctions. The controversial and punitive sanctions regime has come under close scrutiny in the U.K. as the DWP continues to deny links between welfare reforms and deaths of claimants.
7. A failing justice system. After not eating for days, victim of benefit sanctions Louisa Sewell was fined £330 last week for stealing a packet of Mars Bars worth 75p. The breakdown of charges resulted in a fine amounting to over 438 times the value of the item she stole. The disproportionate charges are a snapshot of the system initiated earlier this year that introduced compulsory court fines and charges, which has led to magistrates resigning from the bench in principle.
8. Privacy is dead. The Wilson Doctrine was introduced by Prime Minister Harold Wilson to protect communication between constituents and MPs, but there have been fresh concerns that the doctrine is routinely undermined as a result of revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden. At a recent court hearing, government lawyers argued that the protection is no longer viable in an era of mass surveillance. Should you, as a constituent, want to blow the whistle on corruption, lobby your MP, or simply contact them in private, you will probably be subject to blanket surveillance.
9. Lack of confidence in sex abuse investigations. Public confidence in police investigations into a number of alleged high-profile paedophiles took a turn for the worst this week after the revelation that Wiltshire Police will take the lead on investigations into child abuse allegations by former prime minister Sir Ted Heath. The collective raising of an eyebrow that Wiltshire is spearheading the investigation comes as the force itself is investigated into how it has dealt with previous allegations concerning Heath.
10. Cannabis reform. The petition urging reform on cannabis legislation has reached over 200,000 signatures, double the number required for a debate to be considered in Parliament. The important word here is “considered,” as there may not even be a debate and many MPs will fight long and hard to make sure there isn’t. Campaign groups are urging supporters to lobby their MPs with personal stories of how cannabis has helped them or how they have suffered as a result of legislation.
This article (10 Things the Jeremy Corbyn Witch Hunt is Distracting You From) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email email@example.com.
Michaela Whitton joined Anti-Media as its first journalist abroad in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include human rights, conflict, the Middle East, Palestine, and Israel. Born and residing in the United Kingdom, she is also a photographer. Learn more about Whitton here!