Question Less! ‘Liberal’ witch-finders hunt for heretics in modern Britain
The narrowing of the parameters about what can and cannot be said by public figures in Britain was seen again last week, with the hysterical, McCarthyite witch hunt against those, like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who simply asked questions about what the government had claimed in relation to the Salisbury poisonings. Corbyn was branded a traitor and an appeaser for doing what opposition leaders should be doing in a democracy – namely trying to hold the government to account. Evidence? You want to see evidence! You must be some kind of Kremlin stooge!
Never mind that the presumption of innocence is a hallmark of a fair judicial system and indeed a civilized country. The Sun says it was Putin who did it, and so does John Woodcock MP, so that settles it. Trial by media and neocon propagandists has replaced due process.
Unlike in the 1970s, when Britain was truly a vibrant democracy, political debate is today vigorously policed with dissident voices hounded by obnoxious ‘Witch-finder Generals’ who clearly model themselves on the late Matthew Hopkins, a man who traveled East Anglia on horseback hunting for heretics. It was said of Hopkins that he had “no specific schooling for his role as witch-finder – he just came with a passionate belief in the righteousness of his own actions.” With such an attitude he’d surely have a nice job working for the Rupert Murdoch media empire today.
Truly, what a state we're in. People – believe it or not – have been banned from membership of political parties on the basis on tweets or Facebook postings they made years ago. Employers are contacted too if the ‘wrong’ views are expressed on social media. Everyone it seems must conform and only express 'politically correct' opinions which the 21st Century witch-finders deem acceptable. That means no questioning of the official War Party narrative on foreign policy – and joining in with the current Establishment-induced wave of Russophobia. Or else. Just look at the vile attacks made by ‘Inside the Tent’ state and corporate media journalists on Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, for his daring to challenge the official narrative on the Salisbury poisonings.
On Being a Dissenting Voice in 2018 - I just thought I might give you a little taste of what it means to your personal life to express dissent from the government line in the UK in 2018. Let me start with this combined effort from the UK's most popular https://t.co/UN886iUjEG— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) March 20, 2018
There have been some chilling statements made in the past week, but arguably none more so than those made in a Sunday newspaper column by Ruth Davidson, the ‘progressive’ leader of the Scottish Conservatives. In an article entitled in its hard copy version “Keeping our press free is the best way to counter Kremlin propaganda,” Davidson claimed that Britain was being poisoned “both literally and metaphorically” by “Russian aggression.” In order to protect Britain’s vigorous free media, we must “pull the plug” on RT.
I live less than 15 miles from where George Orwell is buried and I could swear I heard him turning in his grave on Sunday night. Repeat after me: To keep the press free we must close television stations… To keep the press free we must close television stations. War is Peace. Slavery is Freedom!
Davidson is one of a small but vociferous group of witch-finders who want RT taken off air. Lord Adonis is another. The unelected peer, whose only elected office was as a Lib Dem/SDP councilor in leafy North Oxford in the 1990s, was incensed when he saw RT’s witty adverts on the London Underground last year. “Russian state propaganda is no joke & it shouldn't be on London Underground,” the baron tweeted. He then said he would be taking the matter up with ‘the Commissioner.’ As Simon Rite noted for RT: “In simple terms: he doesn’t like the idea of a 'state-sponsored ' message which is not coming from his state, so wants to use the power of the state to make absolutely sure no one hears anything his state doesn’t like. See?”
On March 15, the pompous, censorious peer tweeted that he had written to UK media regulator Ofcom, requesting that they consider “withdrawing licence from Putin’s propaganda arm Russia Today” – which according to him is “not a news channel.”
Perhaps we should move to a system whereby Lord Adonis designates what is or is not a “news channel”? We can’t leave it to ordinary viewers in Sunderland or Southampton to decide, can we?
Then there are the recent comments of Peter Tatchell. The ‘rights activist’ is another ‘liberal’ who is currently advocating some pretty illiberal measures. On Sunday, on Twitter, he called for the ‘seizure’ of the UK assets of Putin-linked officials and their families and for their children to be expelled from British schools. Got that? Children expelled from school not because they are unruly or have been taking drugs, but because of who their mums and dads are. The parallels with Nazi Germany circa 1935 spring readily to mind.
The sad truth is that hatred of Russia and Russians has not only become an acceptable form of racism in the ‘politically correct’ Britain of 2018, it’s almost de rigueur for anyone who wants to progress in politics and the media. What an indictment that is of the present system. The more we talk of 'tolerance,' the less 'tolerant' our public life has become.
The phenomenon of liberal totalitarianism – and I don’t think it's hyperbolic to call it that – needs to be openly discussed, before it’s too late. It’s already too late for some. Entire countries such as Libya – which not so long ago enjoyed the highest standard of living in the whole of Africa – have been destroyed in order to ‘save’ their people from a leader the ‘liberals’ deem is beyond the pale. Whether the people want to be saved is neither here nor there. The Western ‘liberal’ always knows best. He’s superior to everyone else. He has the right to decide who should lead countries thousands of miles away, which elections are ‘free and fair’ and which ones are fixed. Liberalism used to be an ideology which protected the individual and his rights. Now that it has merged with neo-conservatism, it oppresses the individual and reduces our rights. It seeks to ban, to bomb, to destroy. And all done in the name of ‘moderation’ and ‘fighting extremism.’
Old-style liberalism took its cue from John Stuart Mill, the author of ‘On Liberty,’ who warned of the dangers of suppressing opinions we don’t like. “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind,” Mill famously wrote.
New-style liberalism by contrast takes its cue from neocon ideologues and obsessive Cold War warriors who want to clamp down on dissident voices.
An important turning point in the descent of liberalism into totalitarianism was the ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and in particular the targeting by NATO of Serbian TV. Sixteen workers were killed in a missile strike in the early hours of April 23, which also severely damaged a nearby Russian Orthodox Church. It was hailed by the truly demonic US envoy Richard Holbrooke as a “positive development.”
NATO justified the attack on the grounds that RTS was broadcasting anti-NATO ‘propaganda.’ British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that bombing television stations was “entirely justified.”
It’s worth remembering that even the Luftwaffe, at the height of the Blitz, didn’t bomb the BBC having demanded that it hand the microphone to Joseph Goebbels.
The way we can strike back against this new liberal totalitarianism is to refuse to be cowed by it. We must not be afraid to express views which we genuinely hold, even if it does mean being targeted by witch-finders or NATO ‘democracy bombs.’ The more we speak our minds, the more it will encourage others to speak out too. Anti-free speech bullies who are destroying the Enlightenment values they claim to support, can only succeed if they ‘gaslight’ us into submission and people decide to bite their tongues. That way – the cowardly way – leads to a thousand deaths, as Shakespeare put it; the valiant by contrast, taste death only once.
Question More, as the RT the motto says. And don’t let those who want us to question less get away with it.
Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.