A chilling comment by British Prime Minister David Cameron suggests that even people who obey the law won’t be “left alone” by the state if they engage in anything the government deems to be “hate speech,” including “bigotry” and potentially criticism of homosexuality and feminism.
Preparing to introduce a new counter-terrorism bill later this month, Cameron laid the groundwork for the measures by remarking that the state not interfering with people’s lives if they “obey the law” was a “failed approach.”
“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance. This Government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach,” Cameron stated.
The London Independent branded the quote, “the creepiest thing David Cameron has ever said.”
According to BBC News, the new anti-radicalization laws could even ensnare those who voice politically incorrect opinions.
“Would those who oppose homosexuality or multiculturalism or feminism be accused of threatening values of tolerance and equality?” asks the BBC’s Mark Easton. “Could Russell Brand’s argument against voting be regarded as threatening democracy?”
The new measures are being introduced under the justification of combating Islamic extremism, a dubious claim given that Cameron’s government has repeatedly backed actual jihadist groups in the conflicts in Libya and Syria.
Civil liberties organizations fear the new laws will instead be used to silence dissent from legitimate protest groups, bracketing anti-government sentiment in the same context as jihadist rhetoric.
Indeed, during a speech in front of the United Nations last year, Cameron suggested that those who question the official version of events behind 9/11 or 7/7 were non-violent extremists on a par with ISIS sympathizers. Scotland Yard also warned that British citizens who merely watch ISIS beheading videos could be arrested under anti-terror laws.
The laws will also empower broadcast regulator Ofcom “to take action against channels which broadcast extremist content.”
“The plans would allow the police to ask the higher court to order extremists to be banned from broadcasting and send every tweet, Facebook post or other web communication to the police for approval,” reports the Independent. “That would include posts from users telling friends and followers that their communications were now being vetted, or ones denying the extremism claims that led to them being charged under such measures.”
What constitutes “hate speech” and “extremist content” is of course completely subjective, but judging by Cameron’s UN comments it includes those who express non-mainstream political opinions.
Now that Cameron’s Conservative government has secured a majority, with leftist parties that normally act as a check on civil liberties abuses losing influence, we can expect a new surge of authoritarianism to dominate British society over the next few years.