back to article Look out, law abiding folk: UK’s Counter-Extremism Bill slithers into view

The UK’s National Security Council is meeting today to discuss the new Counter-Extremism Bill, with prime minister David Cameron seemingly determined to target those spouting extremist rhetoric - even when no criminal offence has been committed. "For too long we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: …


  1. viscount

    Summary: in the interests of protecting freedom of speech, the Government will acquire the power to shut up and shut down groups that say things that are legal but they don't like.

    1. Vimes

      Perhaps we can at least get our own back on MPs the next time they break the spirit rather than the letter of the law (expenses specifically come to mind, as does the likes of Adam Werritty).

      That's something we've certainly one area where we've been far too passively tolerant.

    2. PleebSmash

      >"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,” Cameron said in a government press release.

      That's the summary. Quote of the century right there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh i dont know

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      Innocent until proven guilty...

      already assumes guilt.

      "Innocent unless proven guilty" maybe?

      Of course now it's "innocent is a drinks manufacturer"

    4. Vimes

      It's difficult to see this happen without the HRA repeal (DRIPA was an 'emergency' response after the EU's DRD was ruled illegal if you recall).

      I would suggest that anybody interested in the prospect of the HRA read this:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The jackofkent article is interesting, but I don't think the obstacles are actually that big.

        Parliaments is supreme, and Salisbury and the Parliament Act mean HoC is supreme within Parliament. They can pass a bill that takes out the HRA and that would be law of the land. Done.

        The biggest obstacle (and it is in the article as Hurdle 3) is that some Tory MPs will oppose the move, and could get quite noisy.

        1. ScottAS2

          Except for viewers in Scotland

          Bear in mind that in Scotland the Crown in Parliament does not have unlimited sovereignty - this was referred to by the Lord President of the Court of Session as "a distinctively English principle and has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law" in the result of MacCormick v Lord Advocate.

          This isn't to say that Westminster couldn't legislate to repeal the HRA in Scotland, but it could result in a constitutional crisis or two if the Scottish Parliament dig their heels in and try to assert that they better represent the considered will of the people of Scotland (which is widely asserted, but has never been proved, to be sovereign in Scotland) than Westminster.

          Those of us (in Scotland at least) live in interesting times.

  2. Vimes

    Define 'extremist'.

    Teresa May can't. And that should tell you all you need to know.

    1. captain veg

      She could try looking in a mirror.


    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Teresa May can't

      I think I, Norman Smith, and quite a few others here could fix that for you ;)

    3. AllTheGoodOnesHaveGone

      She certainly couldn't on Radio 4 yesterday.

      In fact it occurred to me whether Teresa May wasn't being allowed by Cameron and Osborne to push forward this legislation to keep her out of mischief and fill up the media with hand-wringing.

    4. Paul Kinsler

      Define 'extremist'.

      How about this: "Anyone who can be found using the method of Lagrange multipliers". Women who have had children are a case in point: they might be an Extremum.

      1. Vimes

        Re: Define 'extremist'.

        Teresa May: "we are one nation"

        Is it just me or would that sound better in its native German?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Define 'extremist'.

          ein VOLK, ein FUEHRER, ja, es stimmt gut!


          Well, using German (we're anti-eu now, remember!) and clear connotations, worse still - implications (what are you trying to say?!) - make me a prime-time terrorist. Is it the sound of a siren from a pacifying force?

          1. G.Y.

            Re: Define 'extremist'.

            text is "ein volk, EIN REICH, ein fuehrer" !

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: Define 'extremist'.

              "Teresa May can't"

              Teresa Mayn't.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Define 'extremist'.

            Keep Bajor for the Bajorans!

  3. knarf

    oh Dear

    There will be a lot of SNP voters in jail

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: oh Dear

      > There will be a lot of SNP voters in jail

      You say that like it's a bad thing ...

      1. john devoy

        Re: oh Dear

        Yes, how dare those pesky Scots try to control their own laws.

      2. Fink-Nottle

        Re: oh Dear

        >> There will be a lot of SNP voters in jail

        >> You say that like it's a bad thing ...

        4 thumbs down? Really? Some folks need to lighten up.

    2. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: oh Dear

      The SNP, the Green Party, a few UKIPers as well, Green Peace, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru and plenty more besides. Oh yes, if you're not a one nation tory in favour with the upper ranks of The Party it's open season.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: oh Dear

        A "one nation Tory" is a conservative in the British sense, ie: part of a respectable tradition of Conservatism which sees society as a whole, rejects division, and has a sense of noblesse oblige (ie: believes that privilege entails to responsibility.) Just what squalid little shits like David Cameron don't stand for!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: oh Dear - David Cameron

          Eton exists to ensure that the scions of the upper classes don't swallow any of that One Nation nonsense. Since George Orwell overcame it, the conditioning has been intensified. Why do you think Cameron looks so shiny? It's the result of the Eton lessons in "oiling" - i.e. oiling your way up the system.

  4. eJ2095

    V for Vendetta

    V for Vendetta ......

    Guy Fawkes needed...

    1. Andrew Newstead

      Re: V for Vendetta

      Guy Fawkes mask icon needed back...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: V for Vendetta

        You called...

  5. King Jack
    Big Brother

    'Powers to close premises where extremists seek to influence others'

    Does that mean all churches will be closed down? If so I'm all for it.

    1. captain veg

      Don't forget TV and radio studios where politicians are interviewed.

      And pubs, of course.

      Be careful what you wish for.


      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        So I suppose that the prisons will be closed too and while were at it, let's just close down the internet and then set fire to Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen etc. (oooops some of that has already started)...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So I suppose that the prisons will be closed too

          As has been noted already, Gove has been made Minster for Justice not so that we can all have a cynical laugh, but to introduce free prisons that can be started by anybody who lives in an upper middle class area. Only the right sort of prisoners will be admitted. The wrong sort of prisoners will simply be sent back where they came from, for which the default is Somalia. The right sort will ensure that the leaves are removed from the park and the hedgerows are neatly trimmed, and probably fix the bicycles for the old maids to ride to church, where the Rector will tell them about the arrest of the Archbishop of Canterbury on terrorism charges.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Does that mean all churches will be closed down? I"

      No chance. "Chiltern Radio Dave" will use "God" as the convenient "moral" justification for people doing what they are told. Everyone will be encouraged to pay lip service to that - or else suffer a loss of privilege. The CofE and RCC will be delighted with having more power over children's education - "for their own good British values". Has Cameron done a Blair and kissed the Pope's ring yet?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Which ring?

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Too far along the apathy road...

        For a real world version of Peter Watkins 'Privilege'

        And any 'goosey goosey gandering' are as likely to be told to 'bugger off' as families head over to the nearest 'mall' of a sunday.

    3. Tweetiepooh


      Muting those with an "anti-religion" agenda on the same basis.

    4. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: If so I'm all for it.

      Right, so May's got the right idea in your opinion? The government should promote free speech by stopping free speech?

      I guess someone got the government they deserved....

      1. King Jack

        Re: If so I'm all for it.

        Whooosh!! Note the big brother icon on my original post.


        I'm light heartedly pointing out how stupid this new law will be. It can be used to legalise or criminalise anything they want. If anyone disagrees with them and speaks out about it, then they are extremists and must be jailed. Only a Hitler supporter would agree to this 'law'. Only a war will get rid of it, like last time.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: If so I'm all for it.

          Two things to bear in mind about Hitler. One was that he was enthusiastically supported by many of the British ruling classes at the time. The other is that to get rid of him we not only had to fight a war but lay waste to large parts of Europe in the process. So its best to nail this sort of thing before it takes root.

          Here's the problem, though. A right wing government that stands for order and decency that dumps on the workshy and deviant (and other people who are a drag on the State) could describe the Nazis. We tend to focus on their peculiarities -- specifically their pogroms -- without seeing the bigger picture. Their street theater -- uniforms, symbols and so on -- didn't happen by accident, they were a product of an understanding of marketing methodology and public relations. So in a sense we're already quite a long way down that road. Then look at the notion of totalitarianism, the idea that nobody can hide anything from the State. I've been railing against the blind acceptance of anti-kiddie porn measures for years, not because I'm a wannabe pervert but because as a programmer I can abstract classes -- if I have mechanisms in place to identify people who possess one class of information then those same mechanisms can be used to identify people who possess any class of information -- to my (admittedly somewhat paranoid) mind this was nothing to do with a social problem and everything to do with developing mechanisms of control which would eventually be used against all of us. (To hark back to the Nazi thing, that time really was a case of "first they came for the Communists but I said nothing because I wasn't a Communist". We have to take the long view when dealing with these people.)

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: If so I'm all for it.

            @ martinusher

            The problem I have with this kind of description (I upvoted you btw) is that people focus on the nazi bit and assume it is a right wing problem. This is where the very left like to label the right to generate fear. The problem is that the communists were as bad and that is of course the extreme left.

            I am not convinced that Cameron is a crazy rightie with nazi dreams. I think he is a right winger moving left (a blair clone who was a left leaning right). The problem I have is that an extreme left or a extreme right gov gets in and we have the same result, communist or nazi. While our current centre seems to be well wishing fools creating the tools and rules for nutters.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: If so I'm all for it.

              Commie-servatives I tell ee

          2. cyfahead
            Paris Hilton

            Re: If so I'm all for it.

            This thread is getting to the nub of the matter... The values that Cameron and May would like to protect are the self same values which have been built up by the Establishment over the past few centuries since we abolished the divine right of kings i.e. the right to vast tracts of land and the rents off them and hence to their ownership and the resulting power to perpetuate the status quo by giving a permanent head start in owning and controlling whatever commercial opportunities are thrown up by technological advance or political opportunity.

            Don't be shy folks to question the very basis of our economic system. That is not terrorism but it certainly comes under the heading of 'likely to create unrest'. Masses of it. If you want to read an excellent primer on the 'economic philosophy' that Cameron claims to be underpinning 'decent society and behaviour' read this article, written by academics at Cornell and Sydney? Uni's, published in the JACOBIN emagazine at . The authors are Seth Ackerman and Mike Beggs. They deserve a medal for a clear readable exposition of the real issue. We need a new vision. One that includes us all, all of the time, fairly building well being for everyone from cradle to grave sustainably across the UK and the world... that is us all who are 'one'. Whatever it might look like we are not an island.

        2. sabroni Silver badge

          @King Jack I'm light heartedly pointing out how stupid this new law will be.

          No you weren't. You were hilariously dissing those religious idiots that you know so much better than. Can't say I though it was funny (And I have a very good sense of humour!!), it just sounded like the usual intellectual intolerance directed toward the religious that you get on here all the time...

          Are the 47 upvotes ironic? Difficult to tell isn't it....

          1. King Jack

            Re: @King Jack I'm light heartedly pointing out how stupid this new law will be.

            So now you are a (bad) mind reader with no sense of humour.

            If you want to believe in a sky fairy that is up to you. I don't agree with brainwashing (religion) but everyone's life is their own and they should be free to believe in crap if they want to. I'm off to worship the chocolate teapot orbiting mercury whilst I'm still allowed to do so. Care to join me?

          2. Vic

            Re: @King Jack I'm light heartedly pointing out how stupid this new law will be.

            I have a very good sense of humour!

            IME, those that have a good sense of humour can be seen to have such by their actions. Those that need to tell others that they have one generally don't...


    5. Julz

      There's also that ornate place by the Thames next to the pointy clock tower that's jam packed with extremists...

    6. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Can we close Faux News too?

      As well as Sun, The Volkischer Beobachter and "Sunday T*ts, etc"

    7. Tim Jenkins

      "...all churches will be closed down?"

      Nah; just the ones which have issues with traditions, beliefs, histories, science, sexualities and gender roles that differ from their own teachings, and encourage their 'faithful' to act accordingly.

      Oh, wait....

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What about those organisations proposing to abolish free speech?

      Like Westminster, apparently.


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