It's really one of the baldest assertions of thought control any politician in an ostensibly "free" country has uttered in the last, oh, hell, don't want to get too hyperbolic, let's say couple of years. Re-minted British Prime Minister David Cameron told his national security council today that he was proposing new laws (actually, he's re-proposing them in the freshly-elected, more Conservative parliament) to crack down on "extremist" speech and activities. "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," he reportedly said.
In a grave in Oxfordshire, George Orwell could be heard yelling, "Told you so! Hello? I'm reanimated! A little help?"
Now you, dear American obesely engorging a sack of fries and a bucket of Coke, may think to yourself, "Um, if someone's obeying the law, you should leave them the fuck alone. Well, God bless the USA, right?" before you make a phone call that's logged by the NSA and send an email that's collected and use your Costco card to get more fries and more Coke by the pallet, the information all uploaded to a profile of you that says whether or not you're getting a little too cozy with some Muslim or other.
If nothing else, at least Cameron is being honest. "We want you to only believe in the right things," he's saying. Actually, the laws themselves really do pretty much say that. As Home Secretary Theresa May explained about the proposed laws, one of the things that they target is anyone who is "vocally or actively opposed to fundamental British values." Now, the Rude Pundit knows a thing or three about British history, and he's pretty damn sure that fundamental British values have changed a great deal, even in his lifetime. Who knows? Maybe they'll return to abusing the Wogs. Either way, it sounds like squelching minority viewpoints when necessary.
Not all Conservatives support Cameron on this. For one thing, the definition of extremism is squishy not just when it comes to Muslims. The idea is to limit the "harmful activities" of extremists. "Harmful" includes a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy." So, basically, anyone not jolly well delighted with the state of things. Some even believe that the new laws could be used to prosecute "monarchists, communists and even Christians objecting to gay marriage," as Justice Minister Dominic Raab said. Ah, we're not that different.
Perhaps the police can start by shutting down these extremists who gathered for an unholy cabal yesterday: