Further to announcements this morning that a new counter-extremism bill will make up part of the upcoming Queen’s speech on 27 May, Professor Bill Durodié from our Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, who specialises in radicalisation and the politics of fear, has given his reactions.
Speaking from Bath, Professor Durodié said:
“The announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron today that a new counter-extremism Bill is to form part of the Queen's Speech on 27 May to provide authorities with new powers to tackle terrorism confirms that, as early as the first week of his new government, all pretence at inspiring and engaging has been set aside for legislating and coercing.
“When Home Secretary Theresa May told the Today programme that she wants to "bring people together to ensure we are living together as one society" she omitted to say that this is to be made mandatory, with severe penalties for those who will not comply or live up to what the authorities define as British values.
“The window for free speech has now been firmly shut just a few months after so many political leaders walked in supposed solidarity for murdered cartoonists in France. Observing the spirit of liberty unleashed 200 years ago the very British poet Wordsworth exclaimed "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven!"
“Today, we face the twilight of freedom, and to be young is to be cowed and scrutinised, as the government implicitly reveals that it has given up on trying to understand the reasons why growing numbers of youths are disengaged from society. Interception and incarceration are their vision of the future for Britain."