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: …

Joke

Re: as long as you obey the letter of the law, then legally they can't currently touch you

Why Not? Being a Clarkson is certainly worth being arrested

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Re: captain veg as long as you obey the letter of the law.....

Because Anjem Choudray, as objectionable as I find him, has not broken the law. He is entitled to speak his mind and I am entitled to argue with him and criticise him. This is why we are not the state than Mr Choudray wants us to be; it's why we are better than that. The moment we surrender that freedom take steps closer to the totalitarianism that he, and thinkers like him, want us to have and we lose ourselves another tiny piece at a time.

Let him speak, we'll point and laugh.

if that's too complex for you, perhaps we should imprison Roy "Chubby" Brown, because he upsets lots and lots of people with his comedy?

Or what about our very own Matt Bryant? I mean, we can clearly see by the downvotes over the years that he is found highly objectionable by the masses and therefore should be silenced immediately!

Beware of "liberal censorship", wherein we take a sharp breath when someone says something "illiberal" and we respond with "you CAN'T say THAT!"

Yes, you can say that. Speak up so we can all hear you.

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FAIL

Re: Boring Bernie Re: captain veg as long as you obey the letter of the law.....

"Because Anjem Choudray, as objectionable as I find him, has not broken the law....." Yes, despite his open support for terrorism and his encouragement of others to get their jihad on, hence the new law to tighten up on what Choudray and chums can say and do. And before you spout off about the right to freedom of speech, it does not remove the obligation to consider the consequences of that speech. The new law will either make Choudray shut up or send him to prison.

"....perhaps we should imprison Roy "Chubby" Brown...." Sorry, failing to see a down side there. I assume that, in your self-deluding, "salt-of-the-Earth, downtrodden, common man" self-limitations, you believe Mr Brown to be some form of cultural and comedic icon? Put him a cell with Choudray for all I care!

".....we can clearly see by the downvotes over the years...." Dear oh dear, you're still making that same old mistake of stupidly extrapolating the number of the baaaaahlievers from here into some national level of representation of your dim views! How tragic! Do I need to remind you yet again of the recent election result? LMAO!

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Big Brother

You are free !

To do as we tell you...

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Re: You are free !

And it's through that there Magna Charter,

As were made by the Barons of old,

That in England today we can do what we like,

So long as we do what we're told.

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Anonymous Coward

I am an extremist

I believe all software should be free and all people should have access to secure encryption.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I am an extremist

That's you prosecuted for something anyway

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Joke

Re: I am an extremist

Possession of socks and sandals with intent to wear

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Re: I am an extremist

Whilst hoping that this is just going to be a storm in a tea-cup*, I can't help thinking that there are going to be some people who have said "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" are going to find out that the rest of us that added "... yet" were on the right side of history. The implication of Cameron's frankly unbelievable statement is that what was legal yesterday will become illegal - still yesterday.

Seriously, what harm is extremist speech to the population of this country? Why can't it be met with sensible speech from others?

* I know - incurable optimism is a curse

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Repealing the HRA look likely to be doomed at best and questionable at worst thanks to devolution (and here I was never thinking I'd be thankful for the SNP).

Given that rather large bump in the road that the government has yet to find a way around, how do they plan to put this into action and make it legal with regards to human rights that we have at present?

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And all with a small majority instead of the large-ish one they had in coalition...

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Unhappy

HRA

Just let those who disagree with it opt out of it. Abdicate your rights if you really think the HRA is a bad idea.... But no, it's always someone else's human rights that are the problem.

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So in summary they are going to protect our right including free speech by limiting free speech why does my head hurt?

The only hope we have is that there are enough back benchers left to recognise this for the abuse it is and not follow the party whip. Then again there are probably enough gullible fools in other parties that accept the need for this to head off any Tory back bench fight back against this.

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All good citizens should conform to the norm!

Oh wait, isn't that communism? What's the one I mean, the one where the secret police round up dissenters and throw them prison?

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One Nation....

what's next?

"One People, One Empire, One Leader" perhaps?

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One World Government.

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Trollface

@TheOldGuy

What's the British English for "Ein Volk, Ein Reich"? That might work.

(OK, Godwin's Law--you got me)

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One Nation....

what's next?

Please let it be ...under a groove. Please let it be ...under a groove. Please let it be ...under a groove. Please let it be ...under a groove. Please let it be ...under a groove.

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WTF?

Genuinely could not make this shit up

"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."

Truly, truly mental. Look what you did, you stupid tory voters.

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Facepalm

Re: Alfred Re: Genuinely could not make this shit up

Wow, so many bitter Labour voters! Have you finished crying yet? If you're that upset then just head for Dover and keep going.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Alfred Genuinely could not make this shit up

Perhaps it is the occupiers from Normandy that should return to Dover and keep going. Us earlier occupiers had some sort of fairness going on.... we had land rights and kings used to go around the country holding court in the fields listening to people from many 'levels'. It only took 140 years of occupiers squabbling amongst themselves about which chunks of land and rent payers they each controlled that led to Magna Carta. Think post independence South Sudan.... it was the 'diplomatic' solution that won out over developing and continuing civil war.

It only became democracy here ,as you would know it, after the suffragette movement won out 80 odd years ago..... and that only lasted 20 years if you take out the war years and rationing. The democracy that friend Cameron is talking about is all the rest. They are the traditional values he is talking about protecting. Even hero Gen. Montgomery wanted to continue the enslavement of the rest of Africa and the Middle East into the British Empire after the war was one! Another product of Eton? Charitable aims..... my Foot! Sorry Michael... didn't want to bring you into it!

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Unhappy

Re: Alfred Genuinely could not make this shit up

Nah! labour would have been almost as bad - its those power hungry cretins called politicians that people voted for - current bunch headed by a shiny-faced camerron

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Anonymous Coward

What colour extremists?

So I take it that under a "One Nation" Prime Minister, these policies will be rigorously enforced in Northern Ireland, then? Especially the no discrimination on sexuality grounds?

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"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,”

So just obeying the law isn't good enough anyomore? Today it's 'extremist speech', tomorrow???

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Facepalm

@ icesenshi

This isnt new. Under labour you were racist if you discussed immigration. PC insanity had people glaring at each other for uttering mere words. It wasnt difficult to see the direction being taken by the lead parties. But they claimed not to be racist and claimed to exist to take care of us all in this wonderful socialist society yada yada. Of course it doesnt help when brown is caught calling supporters 'bigot' nor the racist immigration policy of white countries only, others must apply but then the people never were that smart. Such was proven when UKIP was branded racist for fighting racism and bigots for not being 'excessively sanitised' with PC (the very things people claim to want).

Of course the propaganda and scaremongering of this new 'hitler' has put us all in a safe place. Not like the last 2 govs have an ongoing war campaign against a non-defined enemy (terror), pushed for ID cards, turned the secret police against its citizens nor this gov looking to revoke innocent until proven guilty.

There is little joy in seeing it coming.

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Seems straightforward...

"For too long we have been a passively tolerant society..."

...So now we're going to be an actively intolerant society.

I guess I have to give him credit for being clear about his intentions.

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Re: Seems straightforward...

Just as a thought - what would "active tolerance" be, anyway?

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Please could somebody tell me...

... why we need this new law when there is a perfectly good offence of Encouraging or Assisting a Crime already on the statute books in the Serious Crime Act 2007?

What exactly is the nature of this speech that on the one hand doesn't break this law but on the other is deemed extremist?

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Re: Please could somebody tell me...

Because it couldn't be used against people who weren't assisting a crime.

There are lots of things people do that the tory's bosses don't like which aren't a crime (yet)

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Big Brother

Organisations who seek to undermine democracy

TRY LOOKING IN THE FUCKING MIRROR, DAVID!

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Might as well just abolish 'innocent until proven guilty'

I'm afraid the Reg's sub-editor is behind the times.

Innocent until proven guilty has already been abolished for a range of crimes under the heading of "Strict Liability".

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Re: Might as well just abolish 'innocent until proven guilty'

"

Innocent until proven guilty has already been abolished for a range of crimes under the heading of "Strict Liability".

"

No, that's not true. "Strict liability" (mainly road traffic offences such as speeding or going through a red light etc.) abolish the need to prove that there was *intent* to commit the crime. The crime itself must still be proven to criminal standards (beyond reasonable doubt). With all other crimes the prosecution must prove not only that the person committed the criminal act (actus reus), but also that they intended to commit that act (mens rea). So while it is a valid defence to an act of (say) shoplifting to say that it was an oversight and you did not intend to take the goods without paying, it is not a defence to state that you unintentionally exceeded the speed limit.

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Anonymous Coward

Well I read the uk.gov linked page:

Believe it or not, on the very same page:

"Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality."

...then...

"introducing Banning Orders for extremist organisations who seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, but fall short of proscription"

Jesus wept though, the content of that page is frightening...or is that the point?

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This is a very thorny subject, prone to misinterpretation (both deliberate and accidental).

What about the threat of Sharia Law which would seek to remove a lot of our freedoms?

Do we allow it to be promoted unhindered (total free speech) to the point where it becomes normal and so no longer have total free speech.

Or do you try and curtail it (limited free speech) in order to prevent total free speech from being lost (which it already has - but you still have some i.e. paradox).

We *have* been too tolerant of those wishing to undermine our way of life by importing alien cultural influences into our island nation en-masse in my opinion.

I have no problem with immigration, but if someone comes to this country then they should adopt this country's ways - not seek to destroy them in favour of their own cultural habits.

The problem is that government (and more usually - councils) tend to take a foot should you give them an inch. These kind of proposals of restriction are dangerous and need to be closely monitored by an external, independent, oversight body (that is also not exempt from FOI).

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@ Sir Runcible Spoon

"What about the threat of Sharia Law which would seek to remove a lot of our freedoms?

Do we allow it to be promoted unhindered (total free speech) to the point where it becomes normal and so no longer have total free speech."

They have free speech to talk about it. Just as we have free speech to debate and discuss and talk against it. As implementing it and enforcing it and stifling debate about it would be removing peoples freedom is where the law steps in. That is how it should be to let people live their own lives.

"We *have* been too tolerant of those wishing to undermine our way of life by importing alien cultural influences into our island nation en-masse in my opinion."

That is a very different thing and I would agree. You cant import people with their own ways of living and assume they will conform to the acceptable standards of this country. An interesting example is the benefits street Romanian with his 12 yr old wife (if I remember it right). It isnt wrong or illegal in his own culture.

"The problem is that government (and more usually - councils) tend to take a foot should you give them an inch."

No kidding. My fear isnt necessarily the current gov, but the extreme one that steps in afterwards with lots of new powers

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Anonymous Coward

promote dangerous extremist views

like those that a given governm

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England:

Once a kingdom ruled by a king.

Now a country, ruled by a......... man.....

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Re: England: Now a country, ruled by a......... man.....

a.... gammon faced cockwomble...

Dunno where I saw that online but haven't been able to get it out of my head since. Shit sticks so we should encourage everyone to just refer to him as (the) GFC.

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I look forward to the debate

The scary words as quoted by many above :

"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,”

encapsulate the whole thrust of this and previous governments' mad push to destroy what is truly valuable about our society.

If we are no longer tolerant and obedience of the law is no longer enough to keep one out of the courts, then I submit that Great Britain will have entered a phase of terminal decline.

What I will be interested in will be the extent to which Cameron's party actually follows him down this path and also how many from the other parties will stand up against it.

I am proud to be British. I'd like to continue being proud, if it's all the same to you, Dave.

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Pint

Sad

You can fix fungus in a toenail by removing the legg but isn't that a rather sad way to do it. We can fine and imprisson all "uneducated" people but would it not be better to increase the education. Extremists in religion, who is the first to throw the stone. I cannot remember any religion without them, Budism perhaps, not an expert, I gave up religion a long time ago. Con business.

Have we forgotten that only education is what make us different to apes. Are we trying to prevent the ship from sinking by deciding water is against the law.

Have we started to run our society on a quarterly basis. What the hell are we up to.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Sad

I sympathise. And can offer this in reply... If you have no clear beliefs then almost any strongly held belief might seem to you 'extreme' and its strong adherents 'extremist'. Not long ago being 'British' was synonymous with one who strongly believed in the rectitude of God, King, Country and Empire. Now we have no Empire and hence only a little country, no active Monarch and no God by whose grace they may have been appointed.

So what is it now to be 'British' so that we can be self-assured enough not to regard everyone with a strongly held point of view as a dangerous extremist? We have to re-invent ourselves. Don't we?

How about 'I Like me. Be Like Me'! In fact I like it so much I think we should make it enforceable under the law! Ummmm.. how can I do that? Needs a bit of generality I think, and it needs to stand the passage of time and individuals. Have to look after the kids' future after all, what! How about a few vaguely defined descriptive nouns, a few all encompassing verbs and all nicely phrased by my sister, the Judge, living a few houses down the street. Let's call it the 'I Like Us! Be Like Us! ..or else.' law. You say that's not PC? Oh well! How about calling it 'A Bill for the Protection of Free Speech, Democracy and Social Order'? Yes! I like that. Jolly good show chaps!

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Unhappy

800th Anniversary of the Maga Carta

Happy birthday.

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Re: 800th Anniversary of the Maga Carta

"Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain? That brave Hungarian peasant girl who forced King John to sign the pledge at Runnymede and close the boozers at half past ten"

- A.A. Hancock

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Why are you all surprised?

Why are you all surprised?

I mean come on, look at the posts over the last few years alone, why is anyone surprised? Its not just the party by the way, they all act like kids in a free sweet shop once they get in.

That 'Green and pleasant land' was a fable back when Hubert Parry corrupted it in 1916 (to promote that unpopular war then); we are coming up to the 30th anniversary of Operation Solstice (Battle of the Beanfield). The buzzwords have changed but the underlying sentiment hasn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why are you all surprised?

Ah, the Battle of the Beanfield! Yeah. I remember apparently few cared back then! That's the thing, isn't it, the 'Nasty Party' represents the nasty people, of which there are plenty. Like the right-wingers in the States in the late-'60s who defended the National Guard firing into the crowd at Kent State.

Even if we had genuine Democracy, the basic problem would be compromising with the shitbags.

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Don't worry ...

They're just "Method Acting". In order to think like an extremist you must "become" one..

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When the leader of your country effectively states that he intends to give the police powers to arrest and imprison people who have not broken any law, it is time to become very afraid.

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Especially since it will only apply to the white British population. The blacks will play the raciest card, the muslims will play the religion card so only the British are left.

Be very afraid indeed.

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Paris Hilton

"When the leader of your country effectively states that he intends to give the police powers to arrest and imprison people who have not broken any law, it is time to become very afraid."

But my dear chap! You don't understand. If we make a LAW that says you cannot do things that don't break any other law, but which are things which we feel from time to time are not quite 'the done thing' then you WILL be breaking the law!!!

How on earth could you possibly imagine then that you had not?

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Anonymous Coward

Just as well...

Gosh, a good job we can be sure our responsible, democracy-protecting police forces won't misuse this lovely little bag of shiny new toys like they did with all the poorly drafted illiberal tosh Blair and chums came up with.

I await the Mails triumphant headline: "Extremist photographer nabbed for promoting picture taking around Big Buildings".

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