Tuesday, 1 April 2014
UK Apocalypse: Disappearing freedoms
Once upon a time, the UK was a country in which its citizens had certain freedoms; however, those freedoms are under attack by one of the most pernicious governments it has ever given birth to.
One of those disappearing freedoms is the right to free speech. No longer do people have the right to criticise the Government of the day openly without said Government taking action against the individual or organisation involved. No longer are individuals and organisations allowed to campaign on issues of national public interest in the lead up to an election if they conflict with the views and future policies of the administration in situ, thanks to the new ‘Gagging’ Law that was passed.
In fact, it is the ‘Gagging’ Law that is the most open attack on the freedom of speech because it prevents people from campaigning on issues of public interest. The reasoning behind the ‘Gagging’ Law was supposed to be that it stopped political lobbying from large corporations and therefore was supposed to stop their undue influence on national policy. This kind of lobbying is, however, not addressed by the ‘Gagging’ Law and its real target is the smaller campaigning organisations and individuals who wish to campaign against harmful legislation especially in the lead up to a General Election.
The current Government, however, don’t like opposition and have ruled that ‘political’ issues cannot be raised in the lead up to a General Election and have reduced the amount an individual or organisation can spend in campaigning on such issues. The problem is that every issue has or could be deemed as having a political component and, therefore, becomes subject to the ‘Gagging’ Law. This means that small one-issue political parties, campaign groups and individuals are being rendered voiceless at a time when those voices should be heard.
Freedom of speech is supposed to be a basic Human Right as long as such free speech is not used to incite hatred or violence and, with those sensible restrictions in place to protect people, free speech is the cornerstone of a truly democratic society. We in the UK, however, don’t live in such a democratic society anymore because, although the current Government can incite hatred against whole swathes of vulnerable groups of citizens at leisure for their own disgusting political purposes, the public are having the right to fight on issues of real importance taken away from them (for the current Government’s own political purposes, it has to be said).
The ordinary person in the street is now deemed by the current Government as either too dumb or too dangerous to be allowed such basic Human Rights as freedom of speech. They believe that only they and their rich buddies have the right to free speech and have, therefore, de-democratised the country.
The bigger problem is that the current Government also wish to take away even more of the person in the street’s basic Human Rights because they get in the way of their illegal or potentially illegal policies. That, however, is a subject for another posting.