Silenced in Court


The Torygraphyesterday reminded us that the Conservatives may be in coalition with the Liberal Democrats but they are far from being liberal.  (Democracy isn’t often their strong point either.)

Theresa May’s proposal for ‘Extremism Disruption Orders’ could see courts banning speech that’s judged to be a bit too free.  George Osborne has described this new tool as a means to deal with those who don’t break any laws.  Yes, he did.  We can’t have folk running around doing stuff that’s legal.
You could of course join Labour.  Where you’ll find Jack Straw arguing that Scotland’s ‘No’ vote justifies a declaration that separatism is now unconstitutional.  He hasn’t explicitly said he’d like to ban the SNP but that’s the direction of thought.  Fortunately, it’s not the direction of Scottish politics.
Won’t the European Convention on Human Rights come to our defence?  No.  Article 10 (freedom of expression) is “subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”  There’s not a lot left once you’ve deducted all that.  Note that ‘the interests of territorial integrity’ are more important than freedom of expression.  Jack Straw couldn’t have put it better.
As Joseph Stalin did put it, ideas are more powerful than guns; we would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?  In Wessex, we’re used to seeing things being banned and we’ll be ready.

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