Will This Government Criminalise Legitimate Dissent?

A recent article, published on the 7th of October, includes these words:

The government has unveiled plans to ban anyone who criticises it from appearing on TV or protesting.

Under the new law, and according to David Cameron’s own definition, anyone who criticises the functioning of the government or the official version of events could be subject to laws which severely restrict their freedom of speech and movement. Theresa May also stressed that you do not necessarily have to have committed a crime to be subject to these new orders.

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Another article on the same topic by Dr Nafeez Ahmed, an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar, includes these words:

Aimed at groups and individuals undertaking activities "for the purpose of overthrowing democracy," the new Tory counter-terror strategy calls for banning "non-violent extremist" organisations and restricting associated individuals from appearing on TV, social media, or other public platforms. But as the incompetent treatment of Begg illustrates, Tory plans represent a worrying Orwellian turn that, if implemented, could effectively criminalise legitimate dissent

More than any other British entity, the Conservatives have turned "overthrowing democracy" into a veritable art form. As Tory insider Sir Ferdinand Mount catalogues eloquently in his seminal book, The New Few: Or a Very British Oligarchy, Cameron and his predecessors have "wittingly, or unwittingly" managed the "corrosion of capitalism" and the "erosion of democracy" in the name of market fundamentalism - chiefly by helping to concentrate economic power amongst an increasingly tiny oligarchy while neutering the capacity of the state to restrain that power.

Read the full article here:

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Here we go again. Freedom shackled by the people who claim to be upholding it.

It's not new - "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary" (HL Mencken).

"Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we've got to keep generating it or the lights go out." (Wayne Le Pierre) 

We need dialogue to reach understanding. I'd love to not hear anything said by May and Cameron (which is why The Simpsons runs at the same time as the news) but won't deny anyone else's right to listen to them. If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty we're going to be facing these attempts to muzzle dissent forever. Another one for 38 Degrees? 

More of the slippery slope. I've no doubt that the government will use legitimate concerns about actual terrorist threats here in the UK, whether realistic or fantastic, to incrementally limit dissent and freedom of speech that opposes their project for us all. This is likely to apply to a labour government as much as to a tory or coalition government. Remember the old adage that the parties at Westminster are closer to each other than they are to the rest of us. The only defence against this assault is the strength and collective action of our own independent groups in the 'ungoverned space' of civil society. The government of whatever colour is not going to stop all this and we can be sure that neither will the 'market' nor the global corporations that dominate it. That leaves us!

Keep on keeping on,

Andy Benson

In Spain they've recently outlawed* many democratic things, including certain protest hashtags, or taking photos of cops - no state that I'm aware of condemned these measures, otherwise it'll be harder for them be able to introduce them in the future....!!??

* not strictly speaking made a criminal offence, just high fines and little proof needed to find you 'guilty'.

Not happy about this at all.  More like living in China / Russia.

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