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David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK

I don’t pay attention to the domestic affairs of other countries as much as I should, admittedly, but every now and then, something snags my conscious and forces me to take notice. Plus, I’m sure I have some a meandering, small amount of readers from across said pond…

Anyhow, such an awakening of conscious is the case with Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK and the Conservative Party, led by such great free speech advocates, like Theresa May (sarcasm alert). For some context…

From The Guardian, “David Cameron to unveil new limits on extremists’ activities in Queen’s speech,”:

A counter-terrorism bill including plans for extremism disruption orders designed to restrict those trying to radicalise young people is to be included in the Queen’s speech, David Cameron will tell the national security council on Wednesday.

They would include a ban on broadcasting and a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media or in print. The bill will also contain plans for banning orders for extremist organisations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but it will fall short of banning on the grounds of provoking hatred.”

If that doesn’t make you recoil, then may listening to Theresa May lay it out (or try to, anyway) in an interview here.

Notice, she doesn’t actually define the parameters of extremism, i.e., what would cause the hell-fire of the government to rain down upon those that “cross the line.” Laws like these, as they are in the States, are intentionally vague to allow for wide latitude for enforcement, making abuse inevitable.

And it’s not just across the pond. Our neighbors up north are knee-deep in some shit, too, regarding free speech. From The Intercept:

The Harper government is signaling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.

Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions.

If carried out, it would be a remarkably aggressive tactic, and another measure of the Conservative government’s lockstep support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. . . .

Cameron and Harper (along with their respective Conservative Parties) are quite the one-two punch against free speech from Western governments…supposedly defending free speech. Yikes.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

One thought on “Troubling Free Speech Issues Across the Pond

  1. Hmm, over here it doesn’t really matter what party is in power, they all seek to restrict you in some way and all parties are as bad as each other. I am a conservative with a small ‘c’ – my beliefs: personal responsibility, working hard, supporting those in genuine in need – basically common sense. (But that is something I can rarely say as I am automatically declaimed as being evil(!) and the vilification of those who vote this way in the country is extreme at times.) I’ve learned in general that whatever is mentioned in the press, whether by the left (Guardian) or right (Daily Mail) you take with a pinch of salt.

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