The Government has announced it is to introduce new civil orders called TEBOs (terror and extremism behaviour orders) which it claims are to be used to stifle ‘preachers of hate’. Hooray!
Rather like ASBOs, these orders will ban people from meeting others, talking in a certain way and visiting certain places. They are also considering similar orders to ban groups.
But the new definition of extremism is drawn so widely that it means anything you like.
Now let’s consider this. If the preachers of hate are breaking the law – essentially the Public Order Act – then why have they not been arrested already? If they are not breaking the law – and the Human Rights Acts provides broad protection for controversial views – then where is the case for silencing them? And who else will the new measures be used against?
As always, if government wants to do something totalitarian, they dress it up as ‘fighting terrorism’. Quite a few people think it’s deliberate government policy to permit terrorism up to a point so that an excuse may be provided for crushing civil liberties.
These orders will undoubtedly be challenged in court. What is planned it seems is to make politically inconvenient people ‘non-persons’ without their ever being convicted of any offence or having breached the law.
If the Government wants to stop crime and terrorism then why, many will ask, does it keep bringing such people into the country? Something seriously amiss here. Create a problem and then offer a solution perhaps…..