‘Whittled Away by Wokery’ – Free Speech to Get Protection In UK Law, Supposedly

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks during a j
Photo by Peter Summers - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The British government has claimed they will give free speech a “trump card” status in an effort to combat woke cancel culture, despite the fact it is currently legislating to increase censorship online.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab warned on Friday that free speech in Britain is being “whittled away” by “wokery and political correctness” and claimed the government has plans to replace former Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights — a promise the Tories have been making, but not keeping, for over 15 years at least.

Raab has promised that the new Bill will help counter “cancel culture” and prevent the “parameters of free speech being narrowed”.

He did not indicate that the government will be rolling back the country’s multifarious hate speech laws or the fact that people can be prosecuted for being “grossly offensive”, however.

Indeed, it is possible the bill may be more oriented towards protecting the rights of the press to report about individuals’ private lives without repercussions than the rights of ordinary citizens, judging by a friendly report in The Daily Mail.

The debate over an individual’s privacy vs press freedom recently resurfaced after Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, successfully sued the Mail on Sunday for publishing a letter she had sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.


Moreover, Raab has admitted that the supposedly free speech oriented bill will actually clamp down on certain speech, citing “those who try and use either media or free speech to incite violence, to radicalise terrorists, or to threaten children” — likely not the whole story, given such things are already illegal — even as he adamantly proclaimed that the government would “strengthen free speech, the liberty that guards all of our other freedoms, and stop it being whittled away surreptitiously, sometimes without us really being conscious of it”.

“Effectively, free speech will be given what will amount to “trump card” status in a whole range of areas,” Raab claimed.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s promise of protection for free speech, which does not really exist in the American sense in Britain, is very much at odds with the government’s new Online Safety Bill, which will require social media companies to remove content that is lawful but could be interpreted as “harmful”.

Social media sites, already far from shy about banning predominantly conservative and right-leaning users, up to including a sitting U.S. President,  are likely to be overzealous in enforcing the Online Safety Bill as they will face heavy fines — up to 10 per cent of their global annual turnover — and possible prison time for executives if they fail to remove prohibited content.

Media and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has attempted to frame the Online Safety Bill as a measure to prevent “unelected” Silicon Valley executives from being the “supreme arbiters” of discourse online — however it does not appear to do anything to prevent tech companies from banning users, censoring their content, or limiting their reach, but instead simply pressures them to be even more censorious.

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