Britain is the home of parliamentary democracy and classical liberalism – but that legacy has been fading rapidly lately as the British government has taken it upon itself to police words.
In 2003 the Communications Act banned all online posts that cause “annoyance, inconvenience or needles anxiety to another.”
And since then, things have only gotten worse.
In 2016 the British police detained and questioned over 3,300 people for posting “hate speech” online. That was a rise of nearly 50 percent from 2014 to 2015.
The British government busily justifies those arrests by defining hate speech in broad terms – including any verbal comments “perceived” as offensive by self-identifying victims.
One recent high-profile “hate speech” conviction didn’t even involve speech. YouTuber Count Dankula was convicted of hate crime for publishing a video of his dog performing a Nazi salute – a video he insisted was intended as a joke and not an endorsement of Nazism.
Back in 2014, Scottish police launched an active social media witch hunt for offensive speech, tweeting: “Please be aware that we will continue to monitor comments on social media & any offensive comments will be investigated.”
On campus, speech restrictions have become all too common. According to Spiked’s 2017 university rankings, 63.5 percent of British universities actively censor speech.
And they do this both by banning external speakers and regulating the types of speech that students themselves are allowed to use.
Britain made a bold declaration when it voted to leave the European Union – and many Brits are looking for their nation to return to its former glory as a home for liberty.
Brexit offers the opportunity to reevaluate the UK’s new place in the world and what role liberalism should play in that place.
The British must make the most of their renewed autonomy once they leave the EU – by reclaiming the liberal heritage that once made them great.
EDIT: And that includes FREEDOM OF SPEECH enshrined in law, like it is in Iceland, they included the Magna Carta in their written constitution – so why can’t the British?
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