At the weekend, as a culmination to campaigning against sections of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, thousands took to the streets across the UK.
On Monday evening, the House of Lords voted down new amendments that would have criminalised many forms of meaningful protest, and this was seen as a partial victory.
But as several speakers at the London rally pointed out, the rest of the Bill will still go forward, with its attack on the way of life of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and new police powers to tackle knife crime which are likely to weaponise institutional racism in the police.
But the Police Bill is just one of many authoritarian power grabs going through parliament at the moment.
The Elections Bill has had its final reading in the Commons, and is now proceeding through the Lords. It introduces the requirement for photo ID to vote. Analysts believe this will disenfranchise the marginalised and poorest in society and the government’s own commissioned research shows that millions won’t have the necessary photo ID and will be put off voting.
Then there’s the Judicial Review and Courts Bill gives the government new powers to prevent legal challenges to its decisions and will deny an important recourse to justice we presently have (albeit if we can raise the necessary funding and assistance).
Among other worrying legislation is the further eroding of of our free public National Health Service through the Health and Care Bill, which in the guise of ‘integrating services’ opens the doors to further privatisation by stealth.
It’s a worrying sign of the times that our right to legally protest some of these draconian power grabs was saved on Monday evening by a couple of hundred unelected elite Lords.
Democracy would be a wonderful thing.