MPs’ only amendment to Snoopers’ Charter? Don’t spy on MPs!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was famously unconcerned about Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations, until she discovered that the NSA had being spying on her phone conversations. Cue outrage.

With the Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snoopers’ Charter), the UK government intends to formalize what has been happening in the shadows for years, providing a legal basis on which the UK’s answer to the NSA – GCHQ – can spy on just about everybody with almost no meaningful oversight.

Despite widespread and vocal concern among MPs over the scale and scope of the provisions outlined in the Bill, the leading opposition parties chose to abstain from the vote last month, allowing the Bill to pass easily.

At the time, Labour did propose some (modest) changes aimed at bringing at least some proportionality and accountability to the legislation, but in the month since the Bill passed, the only actual amendment submitted asks for additional safeguards against MPs being spied on.

The proposed law would require that in addition to the Prime Minister being consulted before an MP can have his or her communications spied on, the Speaker of the House of Commons must also be consulted.

As the popularity of left-wing “outsider” UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (mirroring the popularity of Bernie Sanders, and even ultra-right-wing Donal Trump in the US) demonstrates, democratic electorates are becoming ever more disillusioned with mainstream politics, whose only purpose seems to be to benefit greedy and self-serving political elites.

That the only formally proposed changes to the terrible assault on British democracy that is the Investigatory Powers Bill are designed to protect MPs own privacy, with nary a word about the privacy of those they are supposed to serve, yet again to shows the utter contempt our politicians have for their electorate.

And as the disjunct between ordinary citizen’s best interests (the Snoopers’ Charter is most certainly not in the interests of the British public!) and those of MPs widens, is it any surprise that fewer and fewer people bother turning up to vote?

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

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