Immigration detention conditions slammed. Larne plans move ahead.

With the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) moving ahead with plans to open a short-term “immigration removal centre” in Larne, concerns were heightened today with the publication of a damning report by HM Inspector of Prisons into Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre and Short Term Holding Facility near Heathrow. Colnbrook is operated by private company Serco on behalf of UKBA and is just the latest such centre to be the focus of significant criticism in a HM Inspector of Prisons report. A whole series of reports … Read more

False Economy: a change-up for the left

The new False Economy website (building on the success of The Other Taxpayers’ Alliance and the MyDavidCameron sites) marks something of a change-up for the left, not least because it it something of a tribute to the strategic successes of the right over recent years. Watching the student protests throughout the UK and Northern Ireland, alongside the GPO rally in Dublin last Saturday, it’s hard to see what the political utility of street-protest really is. We may have an answer … Read more

Oppression through the policing of clothing

France’s lower house of parliament recently approved a bill to ban the wearing of a burqa or niqab in public. People caught wearing garments “that hide the face” will be fined 150 euro and those who force women to cover up could be fined up to 30,000 euro and face a one-year jail term. Some of those in favour of the ban say it stems from the French concept of laïcité, a model of secularism which upholds freedom of and … Read more

Your outrage must endure another 37 days…

Outraged at Israel’s violent attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla? Outraged at those who are outraged? Either way, you may have to wait 37 days the next time you want to join your international peers in demonstrating your anger. Something that should’ve been obvious from yesterday’s City Centre vigil for the flotilla, but was rarely mentioned: If the Public Assemblies Bill passes, yesterday’s demonstration would have been illegal. The organizers and everyone there could have been subject to six months in … Read more

DUP/Sinn Fein’s 37 day plan for public protest..

Interesting that just as a coalition between the Lib Dems and Conservatives with civil liberties being one of the key issues takes power in Westminster the joint DUP/Sinn Fein committee report on what replaces the current parades commission, is being chewed over in public (the report was delivered during the election campaign period). Eamonn McCann: “Public meeting” is defined as “a meeting of 50 or more persons held in a public place to which the public or a section of … Read more