Queen’s Speech: An Attempt to Cement the Neoconservative “Closed Society”

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Much commentary has been written on the Counter-Extremism Bill. The journalist Dilly Hussain has done a comprehensive article addressing the key points of the Bill. CAGE has published a blog which neatly highlights the excessive, hypocritical, dangerous and completely unnecessary nature of the proposals. The organisation has further published a point by point breakdown of whatever ambiguous information has been thus far provided.

There are few articles which delve into the noxious nature of the Extremism measures on this blog too:

A Critical Overview of the Counter Extremism Strategy

Counter Extremism Strategy “Really is Counter-Islamic Strategy”

On Extremism Disruption Orders

Will the UK Government’s Counter-Extremism Programme Criminalise Dissent? (Arun Kundnani)

In this blog, I would like to elucidate some additional noteworthy points and arguments on the measures.  I will also focus on other proposals, which seem at first to be disconnected to the Extremism Bill, yet also foster the neoconservative closed society.

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The “Closed Society” Measures Cannot be Decontextualised from the Human Rights Act

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The Human Rights Act (HRA) is an eyesore for David Cameron and his neocon clique. It is a thorn in the side of their desires to strip civil liberties under the apparent pretext of terrorism, “foreign criminals” who presumably are not “human”, and other excuses such as “Parliamentary sovereignty”. Article 8 – the right to private family life is often invoked as a troublesome Article by the neocons. When a government looks to reduce civil liberties of any people, it should be a cause for concern for all of us.

While the plans to repeal the HRA have been temporarily been shelved, other pieces of legislation which are designed to violate the rights of the people are steamrolling ahead. These pieces of legislation cannot be seen mutually exclusively. A holistic analysis presents a grim reality. I have previously argued that the doing away with Human Rights Act allows for an even more opaque government. It also paves the way for other draconian legislation to be brought in without the need to comply with the HRA.  As I stated in a previous blog,

“The point to note is that any subsequent legislation must be compatible with HRA. With the Tory proposals regarding the HRA itself, the requirement of compatibility and giving due regard to the European Court’s judicial interpretation will be removed, which naturally means the courts would take into account the intention of Parliament. The intention of Parliament, if the proposals go through, would be to limit the application of human rights to the “most serious cases”, with inalienable rights being subject to “tests”.”

The neocons in government are hell-bent on creating a closed, securitised, on-edge society which values their aims over and above individual rights.  To this end, varying aspects of our lives are slowly being restricted and exposed to the government.

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Has the Neocon Government Lost its Legitimacy?

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I have outlined in previous blog how the government has in essence stripped the people before the State and shrouded itself against scrutiny. Earlier in the year the case of David Miranda became a significant milestone in the treatment of journalists. He was detained under the anti-terror legislation at an airport because he possessed encrypted intelligence documents. More recently news surfaced that Metropolitan police had been recording journalistic activities on a secret database designed to monitor “domestic extremists”. Journalists are being “assaulted monitored and stopped and searched by police during their work, which often includes documenting police misconduct”.

The question remains, for a government which promotes democratic principles to the point that it happily enforces its respect in the guise of “British values”, why are journalists whom are supposed to be the practical manifestation of the principle of government transparency being harangued and monitored like this? To reverse the question to the State: what have you got to hide?

Inextricably linked is the treatment of whistle-blowers. Miranda’s detention is but one example. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have helped disclose the excesses of western governments which would have otherwise gone unnoticed without accountability. Yet these individuals are pursued to the point that they have to hide in embassies and seek asylum.

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