The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Full Spectrum Dingbat

As the chap who allied his MEPs with the cranks, crooks and Jew-baiters of the European Conservatives and Reformists, and as gun-runner in ordinary to the head-chopping House of Saud, self-evidently there is nothing Britain's Head Boy hates more than extremism. The flagship of his "legacy package" of legislation, before he toddles off to spend more time with the wages of his dear old dad's tax-dodging, is an anti-extremism law which will enable the Home Secretary to ban extremist groups, issue extremism disruption orders to prevent extremist behaviour by extremist individuals, and close down extremist communication media and premises from which extremists are supporting extremist activities. It is all frightfully full-spectrum and forthright and robust, except for the minor problem that nobody knows what extremism is.

To the Not Terribly Bright Party, of course, extremism is like human rights or modern art or foreigners: something nasty and evil and fundamentally un-British, but not something that any self-respecting expenses claimant should even think about trying to define. Unfortunately, the business of applying the law will not be in the hands of those sensible people at Serco and G4S, who can be relied on to understand such nuances, but in the hands of the courts, which are themselves riddled with the kind of extremist who believes that laws should be consistently applied and that governments should stay within them. Accordingly, the anti-extremism bill has been going through much the same contortions as the Psychoactive Substances Bill, by which the Government tried to make illegal anything that brought about alterations in the brain, such as LSD, caffeine or the condition of being awake. The Conservatives have learned from that rather chastening experience, and have so far kept more or less clandestine their efforts to find a definition of extremism that includes terrorists but excludes wog-bombers; that includes peaceful protesters but excludes the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers Club; that includes Hacked Off but excludes the Rothermere Stürmer; and that includes Sadiq Khan and the Green Party but excludes the Farage Falange and Mad Tessie May.


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