Once upon a time we could all say what we wanted. The idea of free expression of ideas is fundamental to our democratic way of life. After all, the idea is that we all recognise that everyone has a different opinion and that to silence a person just because we don’t like what they say is contrary to our concept of freedom.
You can oft hear it said, “Our fathers and grandfathers fought (during World Wars 1 & 2) for our right to liberty and free speech” and they are right. While I’m sure that many of our military at the time were not necessarily passionate idealists, I think it safe to say that they all at least recognised the need for a collective effort to fight a common enemy, to ensure that Nazism did not become the way of life in Britain.
During the period of 1939 to 1945, British military and civilian casualties are estimated at almost 451,000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties). To try and put that into a more modern context, its the equivalent of the casualties that would occur if the 9/11 atrocity happened in Britain 150 times over. Imagine that!
The sacrifice in those 5 years by those citizens was for all of us. When we say “Lest we forget” I think the modern day population of this country are not all that sure what it is that they should be remembering. Sure, they say, there was a great sacrifice of life. But what was it for? Do the people now several generations onwards actually know what was gained by their sacrifice? Ask anyone in the street under the age of say 30 what they were fighting for and the answers will be sketchy at best.
So here’s a bit of a run down of what they were fighting for. I guess the best way to do that is to describe the regime they were fighting against. Rather than go on a long discourse about Nazism, lets just pick out what the Nazis stood for:
Pure bred German supremacy – this is NOT the same as Nationalism. It was a belief that the race that was German was superior in every way to any other human. Racism is inherent in this.
Anti-semitism – they believed that the Jews were the cause of all the problems in Germany. They were seen as wholly and totally inferior, much like animals.
Fascism – a totalitarianist state with a dictator at its head. Total obedience and conformity to the Party line and adulation of Adolf Hitler. The state was held together by a highly organised military regime.
Total Conformity – the expectation was that everyone would have the same views as the leader and the Nazi Party. Official truth was instilled and indoctrinated at an early age by use of propaganda and fictionalised education on Party lines.
So it should be fairly obvious that in such a society, the idea of being able to express any kind of opinion that did not conform to the norm, would ultimately end up in a death penalty.
Ok now we have a better idea of what all those good people of Britain died for. They died to uphold a way of life that they valued and cherished. The right to be somewhat outspoken or eccentric. The right to stand on Speakers Corner (or any public place) and speak about God and the message of the Bible. The right to hold any political view and be able to share that message with anyone in an orderly fashion. And remember folks, that there was in fact a British Nazi Party in the 1930’s called the British Union of Fascists led by one Oswold Mosely. Even they were allowed a public voice.
Of course the country has had a taste of fascism and naturally it was far from nice, so we have something of a predisposition toward hating fascism in Britain. Well can I understand and agree with that. It suppresses any idea of free speech. It is imposed by threat of the law and punitive action (death, ultimately). It creates a one party state, where no other group can form any opposition It leads to the removal of the rights of individuals to do anything that does not fall within the prescribed “doctrine” of accepted behaviour.
Does any of this ring any bells with you about our society in Britain today? We have laws in place now that prevent even the flying of our own national flag should it be felt that it might offend someone. We are not allowed to even mention the colour of a person’s skin (in any context) for fear that it will be deemed “racist”.
We are told what we can and cannot say. The “Sword of Damocles” is always there. If you even put a plaster on a child you can be held accountable and face the possibility of court action for damages. Our children are aware that they have the upper hand in all things. Discipline has gone. The children are in charge, not the parents. Respect for older generations is a thing of the past.
Another way to ensure that control is maintained by the state is to remove all weapons from public ownership. The laws on this issue have become so draconian, that there is at this time a petition on the No10 Downing St web site to allow people to own .22cal rimfire rifles so they can practice for the Olympics! The government adopted knee jerk reactions (or so it seemed at the time) to remove firearms from the public domain. There may have been a more sinister motive. The Dumblane and Hungerford incidents provided just the excuse the government needed to disarm the public in 2 strokes. Done and finished.
Mr Tony Blair dropped a “clanger” I seem to remember. After the petrol strikes in the late 1990’s, Blair announced that the government would “take measures to ensure that such a co-ordinated strike could never happen again”. Now we have social media networks that are monitored and censored by the operators. Subtle controls appear, but are only noticeable should you try to organise rallies and galvanize public opinion.
These are just some of the controls and gagging that we face today. Then there’s the Hate Speech Laws. I wonder if anyone can put their hand on their heart and say just when they came into force in Britain? Any guesses? No? I’m sure that most people would think that it was sometime in the 2000’s. The reason for this? Well maybe you have noticed a marked increase in people being arrested for so called “acts of hate” in very recent years. I’ve certainly noticed. Perhaps there’s a reason for that. But that’s not our discussion for now.
The date that the first hate speech law was passed was 1986 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_the_United_Kingdom). Surprising isn’t it? There have been a few amendments since but nothing major.
Don’t you find it strange that the police seem to be involved in all this too? Their mandate is to uphold the law. They also have a mandate for crime prevention. But today they seem to be taking crime prevention to a whole new level.
Did you know that the British police today are willing to get involved in “persuading” people not to hold venues? Yes that’s right. They will and do, phone hotelliers and other establishments to warn them that if they host an event that it might reflect badly on them and affect their business? Is this the job of the police? In fact, is it the job of anyone? Yet this is going on in Britain today. It is outrageous that the police force is actively engaging in the type of activities that the Nazi “Brown Shirts” did in the 1930’s in Germany (the Sturmabteilung or SA who eventually were to become th SS). That’s right. They would go and “warn” people to ensure that they “did the right thing” by following the Party line. In Germany, the punishment for disobedience was variable, but usually meant having your shop windows smashed and the owners beaten up. Here in Britain today, the threat is more subtle, but the effect is the same. Compliance through fear.
Free speech also comes in the form of what banners you display. What we are seeing in today’s society is a police force who, following the dictates of their masters (our so called democratic government and their statutes) seem to allow one segment of society to display vile hate speech with total impunity, with monotonous regularity. The Party line is enforced when those who oppose such vile hate speech and threats of violence to our country, are arrested for no good reason. The arrests go uncharged. So then this is nothing more than police harassment, which also goes unchallenged.
These are the actions of our own police forces, who are the modern day equivalent of the Nazi Brown shirts. With the police, the threat is always implicit because they have the right to arrest and detain on whatever the current interpretation of the Hate Laws are in vogue. The law is the same (virtually) since 1986. Its just how the powers that be and the SA, sorry, the police choose to interpret it.
From reading this, you may think that I have some axe to grind with the authorities. I don’t. I served in the military for many years. I have never been arrested (yet) and so I have no criminal record (I guess you’ll have to take my word for it). I am used to and respect authority, but only when it is used and applied appropriately. I strongly object to a scenario where laws are used (and I feel now they are abused) by the police and other agencies in order to pander to a political agenda. The police were formed to be a seperate agency at the outset of their history. Today, they have become more and more, pawns of the political whims and dictates of the state.
I mentioned at the start of this article those people who died for this countries’ freedoms. How do you think they would all feel if they could see what is happening in Britain today?