Anne Marie Waters
Tuesday 2nd March 2021
In the United Kingdom in 2021, citizens do not have freedom of speech. That is not a matter of debate, that is a statement of fact. It may not be that we are imprisoned for opposing the government overtly, but it is the case that we are a frightened society, afraid to express our true opinions. The situation has been created through a variety of means; legislation, social conditioning, and public humiliation and bullying.
Let us start with legislation.
Statutory limits on free speech are varied. They include the Public Order Act and its amendments. These place infringements upon “stirring up racial hatred”. This of course sounds laudable, but the fact remains that it does limit what we may or may not say.
The legislation limits speech if such speech is intended to create “racial hatred”. The problem is, “hatred” is not defined, and so it is left for others – police or the courts – to determine. It could very easily prevent people calling for an end to mass immigration.
Furthermore, by virtue of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, the same principles apply to religion as well as race. Thereby it becomes an offence to “stir up religious hatred”. Once again, there is no definition of “hatred”, and once again, the law is vague enough to be applied by police and the courts in a manner which is overtly political. For example, any objections to immigration on the basis of the religion of those migrating.
If people bring certain religious beliefs with them when they migrate to the UK, these may not be compatible with wider society and therefore people may object to such beliefs becoming a part of British society.
Despite the denials, female genital mutilation (FGM) for example is justified in religious texts and by religious leaders. So in theory then, objection to FGM, or immigration of FGM practicing cultures, could, if convenient, be considered religious hatred. It depends on the political whim of the time.
The danger with this kind of legislation is that it creates fear. People are unclear as to exactly what they are allowed to say or not to say. This includes the police, who may enforce these laws incorrectly, unsure of exactly what their parameters are.
Social conditioning stems partly from legislation, and specifically from the vague nature of this legislation. If people are unsure what they can say, they’ll err on the side of caution and say nothing.
A great deal of social conditioning in this regard occurs through the media and in the workplace. Employers frequently introduce ‘training’ on ‘sensitivities’ which have the effect of silencing opinion – people fear for their jobs should they express the ‘wrong’ one. This has a chilling and widespread effect.
In the media, there is near-total conformity. Television presenters, journalists, advertisers, soap operas and dramas collectively promote specific views on migration, or religion, or transgenderism etc. The media pushes the narrative that only one view on these issues is ‘allowed’ and so the viewer or reader, through repeated exposure to the uniform views expressed, begins to change their own views (even subconsciously) in order to conform. If they do not conform, they pretend to, and keep their alternative views to themselves.
Finally, and importantly, we are subjected to public humiliation if we dare to express a view outside of that promoted in the mainstream. Social media plays a huge part in this. If for example a person expresses a view on social media that men cannot ‘become’ women (or vice versa) merely by stating so (self identification), that person may well be ridiculed by other users, or even have their social media accounts closed or their jobs threatened by public denouncements. They could even be visited by police.
Beyond social media, the mainstream press and television will also engage in the public humiliation of those who dissent. People in politics for example who oppose mass migration or who speak out about the dangers of various cultural and religious practices, can expect to be publicly labelled “racist”, “fascist” or “far right”. The implications of this are obvious.
It is clear that our politicians, largely as a result of media treatment, will not speak up in favour of our freedom of speech. They cannot be trusted to protect this most fundamental of our liberties. Parliament is supposed to protect our freedoms, but it is Parliament that is instrumental in taking them away.
In the United States, the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the free speech rights of citizens. This means that any legislation – either at state or federal level – can be struck down as unconstitutional and prevented from becoming law. Ultimately, this means that politicians in the United States do not have the ability to remove free speech rights in the way that Parliament can (and has) in the United Kingdom.
For Britain believes we need similar protections here in the UK. We propose a UK Constitution that would have a similar effect. It is true that there are ‘constitutional’ historical documents, such as the Magna Carta, in the UK which in theory protect our rights, but in practice they do not. The Magna Carta has not protected our rights so far, so it must be accepted that it cannot protect our rights as things stand.
We need to start afresh. We need robust and fundamental protections of our rights that we can easily enforce, and that cannot be taken away by Parliament.
We must begin to put these building blocks in place while we still can.
Anne Marie Waters
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