THIS week, I reported on the new "WATT" campaign by People's Assembly Wales.

With WATT - which stands for "Wales Against Tory Tyranny" - the group is calling on the Welsh Government to not only oppose recent UK laws, but actively prevent them from being implemented.

The demand, made in reaction to the steady stream of controversial bills that have made their way through Parliament over the past two years, is also directed at councils, police and crime commissioners, and trade unions.

An online petition has been set up to support the campaign.

Cards on the table - I've signed it. 

I did this because I think it asks questions of us, and of our authorities, that sorely need asking.

For a start, we've just come out of a second set of election results that saw Labour votes surge and blue votes collapse.

Now, when this happens and people begin proclaiming a victory for true, radical socialism under Corbyn-supporting Mark Drakeford, I believe it to be a UK-wide gaslighting project aimed at annoying me specifically, but nevertheless, there is clearly a disconnect here worthy of inspection.

The question has to be asked: Does the UK Government represent us in any meaningful sense?

I'm a firm believer in separating what is legal from what is morally correct, and what is illegal from what is morally wrong.

Shooting up heroin, for instance, is illegal.

It's perhaps not a spectacularly wise or health-conscious choice, but I would argue that a person doing so is not behaving immorally.

Likewise, a government or a council in Wales - a self-professed "Nation of Sanctuary" - refusing to cooperate with a Home Office that would see refugees deported to an offshore detention camp, would not have me clutching my pearls.

At the other end of the scale?

The UK Government's recent Covert Human Intelligence Sources Act - a fairly transparent reaction to the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry - made it legal for undercover state operatives to commit violent acts in the course of their duties - including rape, murder, and torture.

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This applies to covert agents working in most public agencies, by the way, but while it might be legally above board for a Food Standards Agency spook to waterboard a person to discover their Chicken Secrets (it's been a long week), I wouldn't consider that morally upstanding behaviour.

This leads me to my next point.

For the past decade - and particularly the past two years - Parliament has acted as a conveyor belt for absolutely heinous legislation, always aimed at hurting the vulnerable and cementing the Conservatives' grip on power.

We have the Nationality and Borders Act, which enables the Home Office not only to enact its hideous Rwanda camp plan and prosecute asylum seekers more easily - but to strip dual nationals of their British citizenship without warning.

Lesser-discussed features of the Policing Act, meanwhile, include the expansion of stop-and-search through Serious Violence Reduction Orders and the legal requirement for public services to pass information to the police* - both policies which will disproportionately impact on BAME people and women - alongside introducing new sanctions for simply existing as a Gypsy Roma or Traveller.

*This is devolved, but that's not stopping anyone.

Then there are the protest elements of that act - a potential prison sentence for being noisy or causing "serious annoyance", restrictions on even one-person protests, ten-years' imprisonment for defacing a statue - all clearly designed to further crush any public opposition to the government.


More extreme protest-related elements of the Policing Act, previously cut out in the House of Lords, are returning in the Public Order Bill, as announced last week. My deep-dive on that is here, but to cut a long-story short on that one - it'll make it even easier to jail protestors for longer periods of time, and will allow courts to ban some activists from seeing certain friends or using the internet.

Pair this with the Elections Act, which introduces mandatory voter ID and gives the UK Government executive control over the Electoral Commission - the formerly independent body charged with ensuring our elections are conducted legally - and you'd be forgiven for thinking Westminster might have a specific goal in mind.

We already live in a desperately unequal country. 

These laws are designed to create a society entirely based on cruelty and fear, with the UK Government empowered to do whatever it likes to whomever it likes, and people too afraid and/or hopeless to oppose it.

I know many people would argue we've been there for a good while already. 

While we in Wales might think we're shielded from the worst excesses of this, we're really not. The UK Government and its "muscular unionism" stance is, at best, dismissive of the notion that the Senedd holds any real power. At worst, it's actively hostile, and I don't see their touch getting any lighter as time goes on.

How much more are we willing to take? 

What are we willing to participate in?

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