Note: This was not intended to be a political blog but rather a changelog for extensions/projects I work on.
But this news item from last week received remarkably little press. While several publications covered the initiative to amend the Official Secrets Act on its outset, only a couple wrote about its defeat. Furthermore, the best writeup has been been unavailable with site issues, so I thought I’d log it here on fixpunk.
UK Parliament voted 295 to 233 to block a move that would prevent those who provide evidence to child sex abuse investigations from being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act.
One must ask: how is protecting whistleblowers who expose child rape rings a partisan issue?
(mirror because the site has been up and down: http://i.imgur.com/2i3xBLa.jpg)
The vote came amidst the backdrop of major scandal in the UK. Associated Press: Britain’s Shame: Evidence Mounts of Child-Abuse Cover-Up
And let us not forget last year’s scandal, where the UK advisor to Cameron on the nationwide porn filter was arrested for charges related to child pornagraphy.
From one of the few articles covering the story (from Exaro): “The amendment was defeated by 295 MPs to 233. The move was opposed by 254 Conservatives and 40 Liberal Democrats, suggesting a whipped vote. But Mann’s proposal was supported by 233 MPs in the 9.15pm vote on February 23, including 207 from Labour , as well as 8 Conservatives and 3 Liberal Democrats.”
“Mann said: ‘My amendment would have given immunity from prosecution only in relation to historical incidences of child abuse. It was very clear, targeted and concise.'”
Perhaps this amendment is misguided or a bad idea, but the vote effectively states that the UK legislative body sees protecting its child rapists from prosecution integral to its national security interests. Protecting its children from rape is not as important as reserving the right to prosecute anyone under the OSA.
Remember the “but, think of the children” line, oftentimes used to bolster arguments for overbearing measures taken in the name of national security… It takes on a whole new meaning in this context.
The Public at large must understand that any government is made up of normal people–some with good / others with bad intentions–and, without *reliable*
avenue avenues for transparency, injustices will be perpetrated with impunity, ad infinitum.
edit: *reliable avenues*. Redundancy is needed, because any law can be amended (in committee at the 11th hour or after-the-fact with a new vote) or repealed, policy changed with a new administration, or law reinterpreted by a new justice. Multiple avenues for transparency are required for a cultural shift inside the halls of power.