This week, Rishi Sunak has expressed an intention to treat as extremists people who ‘vilify Britain’. It’s an attack on the right to free speech, which is explicitly the right not to be mistreated by your government over airing an opinion. It’s also disturbingly vague, which makes it more dangerous. What does it mean to vilify Britain?
Could it, for example, mean discussing the history of the bloody awful things that British people, British companies and British leaders have done to people around the world? You can’t talk about the British in Ireland, or India for example, without it rapidly becoming obvious that the British were acting villainously. You can’t talk about how British people profited from the slave trade without making us look pretty bad. I could go on at length, because the list is huge.
Do I vilify Britain when I point out that we are living with policies that kill vulnerable people in the UK? What about if I suggest that policies around care homes during the covid pandemic were murderous? What happens if I talk about the Leave campaign and how that was probably interfered with by Russian interests? Or the utter madness of going ahead with leaving the EU and the massive harm we’ve done to ourselves. I’m certainly not making us look good as a country if I talk about things that are happening, and have happened. That’s awkward, isn’t it? Does that make me an extremist?
Then there’s the issue of who isn’t affected by this. It’s the flag shaggers. Right wing nationalistic groups are all passionatley and vocally pro-Britain. We have every reason to think that in terms of safety and risk, right wing extremists are the people we should all be concerned about. They won’t say mean things about British history, though. They won’t pull down statues of slave traders. It looks awfully like being an actual villain is going to be fine, and making a fuss about villainy is going to be suspect, if we’re really going this way.
I’m no fan of imperialism, or colonialism, or fascism, and I’m going to keep saying so. We’re not a great nation. We’re a horrible mess of a nation and we urgently need to get our shit together.
August 5th, 2022 at 2:06 pm
Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay and commented:
This is happening in USA too… candidates for office have a new pressure release valve to target for political points: anyone that disagrees with the regime narrative of the genderless, Godless, liberal “bugs are the new meat” order…TOTAL STATE
August 5th, 2022 at 5:43 pm
Most the history of any country is pretty vile when considered the people who paid the price in blood, sweat, and tears, then often dying without receiving any benefit from the wealth and power created from their over work.
As for our present controversies over gender and racial histories I am rather amused at the fuss and those that want continue to hide the many evils in our history. We actually have people in slavery as mobile workers.
My direct ancestors were part of that evil and took part in most the horrors of the time. I have no problem with learning about the people that they harmed, that is a major part of American history right up to present day United States.
August 5th, 2022 at 6:32 pm
I very much agree. The history of counties is always ugly at some point, so much of the idea of nationality is underpinned by violence.
August 5th, 2022 at 9:27 pm
It’s probably also a dig at those who want independence for countries in this disunited kingdom especially those in Scotland like me.
August 9th, 2022 at 12:57 pm
[…] https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2022/08/05/vilifying-britain/ […]
August 13th, 2022 at 5:59 am
“We’re not a great nation. We’re a horrible mess of a nation and we urgently need to get our shit together.” Yes! THIS! And thank you for the term “Flag-Shagger” that really made me chuckle.
August 15th, 2022 at 10:54 am
I didn’t coin it, I picked it up on twitter. 🙂
August 15th, 2022 at 1:19 pm
Either way, I approve. 🙂