Free speech is the central principle of a healthy democracy. It is a vital tool for giving a voice to the voiceless, and for ensuring that everyone gets a say without being shut down. We are lucky to live in a country where we are free to criticise those in power, and where the government can be held to account by a young footballer. We must make the most of this.
The politics of fear is being used to justify another authoritarian lockdown.
Seit dem 1. Januar 2021 wendet die britische Medienaufsichtsbehörde „Office of Communications“ (Ofcom) eine neue, erweiterte Definition von „Hassrede“ an. Vor diesem Datum mussten Rundfunkteilnehmer lediglich sicherstellen, dass ihre Sendungen keine „Aufstachelung zu Hass“ auf der Grundlage von „Rasse, Geschlecht, Religion oder Nationalität“ enthielten.
Debate, dissent and independent thought are not allowed in Covid Britain.
Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith said: ‚We are drifting into a totalitarian ‚woke‘ state where nothing can ever be said for fear that somebody will be offended. It’s madness, and it’s driven by a small minority. Most people don’t care.‘
This is the stage of lockdown authoritarianism we have now reached: anyone who questions the lockdown will be branded a liar and a hoodwinker who should be expelled from public life, while the cheerers of lockdown, those self-styled saviours of lives, can say whatever they want with very few repercussions.
The other is that too few, until now, are ready to oppose openly the government’s strict new regulations – even in freedom-loving Berlin. Of course, there is a reason for that. For months, those protesting against the lockdowns have been equated with the far right by many media outlets and assorted politicians. This despite a recent study revealing that most participants are not right-wing at all. There have even been calls to have Querdenken, the outfit that has been organising the big anti-lockdown demonstrations, put under observation by Germany’s secret service, the Verfassungsschutz.
As a result, anyone voicing anger over the lockdown risks being discredited as a Covid denier or a right-wing conspiracy theorist. I
‘Can I ask what exercise you’re doing, sir, apart from exercising your thumbs?’ The copper is wearing a perfect sneer. I get the impression he has been waiting his entire jobsworth’s life to be able to reprimand someone for sitting on a park bench and writing a text message.
The very word possessed such talismanic power that you could even get away with attacking whole countries and killing all kinds of people just so the ones who survived could have democracy.
Then these gatekeepers of good manners lost a referendum (Brexit) and an election (Trump) and decided that democracy was totally passé. The volte-face they performed was rather breathtaking in its coordination, like a little shoal of well-disciplined fish avoiding troubled waters with mindless accuracy.
The spiked team discuss Brexit and the elite’s turn against democracy.
In the first piece in our five-part programme for democratic reform, Mick Hume remakes the case for leaving the EU. Read Brendan O’Neill’s introduction to the series here.
To that end, spiked is launching a programme of radical democratic reform. Fighting for Brexit remains the priority, but we must also look beyond Brexit and make the case for reforms that will disempower unelected elites and empower the public. Over the next five weeks we will outline our five key cries – listed below – and after that we will publish a series of essays and articles making the case for popular sovereignty, democratic engagement, a philosophy of nationhood and a universalism based on democratic nations, not unaccountable global elites.
To kick off, here are the five reforms spiked thinks we need now to start the process of energising popular democracy.