It looks like British rulers are tired of hearing criticisms and have thus begun working on crushing free speech, at least from a legal point of view:
Nearly 350 years after us Brits abolished the licensing of the press, whereby every publisher had to get the blessing of the government before he could press and promote his ideas, a new system of licensing is being proposed. And it’s one which, incredibly, is even more tyrannical than yesteryear’s press licensing since it would extend to individuals, too, potentially forbidding ordinary citizens from opening their gobs in public without officialdom’s say-so.
It’s the brainchild of Theresa May, the Home Secretary in David Cameron’s government. May wants to introduce “extremism disruption orders”, which, yes, are as terrifyingly authoritarian as they sound.
Once served with an EDO, you will be banned from publishing on the Internet, speaking in a public forum, or appearing on TV. To say something online, including just tweeting or posting on Facebook, you will need the permission of the police. There will be a “requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web, social media or print.” That is, you will effectively need a licence from the state to speak, to publish, even to tweet, just as writers and poets did in the 1600s before the licensing of the press was swept away and modern, enlightened Britain was born (or so we thought).
There’s a reason George Orwell’s 1984 takes place in Britain, it really is the prototype police state for western civilization. It’s interesting to see a British politician take such an overt stance on destroying free speech. Most British politicians that I’ve heard anything about, much like the politicians here in the United States, at least pay lip service to free speech.
What’s laughable about this idea is that censoring speech is impossible. Thanks to the Internet a person can post material anonymously. We know this because people in tightly control countries such as China and Thailand have continued to post criticisms of the regimes of those countries without getting crushed (in all fairness some of them do get crushed but that’s what happens when you fail to properly utilize the tools available to you).
People wanting to post “extremist” speech in Britain will continue to do so. The only difference is that a few people of lukewarm intelligence that post “extremist speech” will get arrested and made an example of (and being individuals of lukewarm intelligence they will probably be unable to actually go through with any “extremist” plans they post about).