Yesterday the new Government published a press release about the forthcoming first meeting of the new National Security Council (NSC). That meeting was due to discuss the Tory administration’s plans for a new Counter-Extremism Bill. The press release includes the following extraordinary statement which is attributed to the Prime Minister:
“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. “
Forgive me, but what exactly is wrong with that view? Personally I think it admirable that we live in a tolerant society (“passive” or not). Certainly I believe that tolerance of difference, tolerance of free speech, tolerance of the right to hold divergent opinion, and to voice that opinion, is to be cherished and lauded. And is it not right and proper that a Government should indeed “leave alone” any and all of its citizens who are obeying the law?
Clearly, however, our Prime Minister disagrees with me and believes that a tolerant society is not what we really need in the UK because the press release continues:
“This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. “
If tolerance is a “failed approach”, what are we likely to see in its place?
What’s going to take its place? Snooping and control.
Despite all the stuff from Tories about how labour is the nanny state party, they can’t help themselves either. It sucks and we’ve five years of it, at least.
Sadly slef, I agree with you. Whilst the Blair administration were much to blame for the initial clamp down on civil liberties, this new administration, unfettered by the brake of the Lib Dems, look set to go even further than Blair dared to try. Whilst there is much talk of “fighting extremism” or “banning extremists”, nowhere do I see a legal definition of either. And without such a definition we may be left with decisions by Ministerial fiat, subject only to later Judicial decision. Take a close look at the early “100 days” agenda. All I see is restrictions on the sort of freedoms I cherish and attacks on the poor, the weak, the disposessed and the powerless.
Indeed it sucks. And if the new administration get away with the changes to the parliamentary structure they want (loss of 50 seats with boundary changes) we may be faced with an effective one-party state for some time to come.