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The UK Government Is Considering a New, Looser Definition of “Extremism”

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The authorities in the UK are continuing with attempts to broaden the definition of “extremism” and behavior deemed as “undermining/overturning” British values.

Critics say the whole wiggly thing is the road to authoritarianism.

A new step said to be in that direction is a proposal presented by Communities Secretary Michael Gove, who is reportedly using previous initiatives to usher in a new definition of extremism.

Likely to cover all political and ideological bases, Gove is mentioning both “Islamists” and “far Right” organizations and their harmful activities that slip under the radar as the reason the current understanding of extremism is “too narrow.”

But there doesn’t seem to be consensus on this in the US cabinet, with some ministers voicing fears that a lot of groups taking a stance on several issues – such as those opposed to lockdowns, religious organizations that are anti-abortion, gay marriage, trans-gender women in places designated as same-sex, “radical” student groups, etc. – could get caught up in this widened “definition dragnet.”

The problem with that is that these groups are now operating lawfully, according to the Equality Act 2010.

And if the definition is also made enforceable, even political parties, such as the Scottish National Party, could end up on the wrong side of the new rules, reports say.

Right now, extremism in the UK is defined (since 2011) as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”

This definition is not statutory, which means it effectively prevents only the government and other administrative bodies from working with or funding such groups.

But Gove wants to “fix” this by making the broader definition statutory.

To achieve this, the current paragraph would get this addition:

“The promotion or advancement of any ideology which aims to overturn or undermine the UK’s system of parliamentary democracy, its institutions and values; or threaten the rights of individuals or create a permissive environment for radicalization, hate crime and terrorism.”

Rather than just “broader,” this reads as straight-up and worrisomely vague.

And when some political representatives, MPs among them, try to wrap their heads around the very concept of “British values,” it becomes clear that the conundrum of defining such things in a way acceptable to everyone becomes mission impossible.

“What does it even mean to undermine British values’ when there is no consensus – and certainly no legal definition – of what those values are?,” MP Miriam Cates summed it up.

The post The UK Government Is Considering a New, Looser Definition of “Extremism” appeared first on Reclaim The Net.

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