It s gratifying for supporters of free speech that the UL Government's Online Safety Bill, which had been described by members of the campaign to defend free speech as a charter for censors, has been ripped apart by the parliamentary committee tasked with scrutinising it and will have to be redrafted entirely apart from the title.
When the House of Commons the Speaker, whose poition is one of impartiality, savages a Bill it must be bad, so from the moment Lindsey Hoyle told MPs that the text of the bill was 'all over the shop' (a good old northern phrase from a northern politician,), and that at least half its clauses "would be getting the treatment," in particular that measure which aimed to force Social Media platforms to remove content which was "legal but harmful," those of us who have tried to defend the right of free speech against onslaughts from the United Nations and its various subsidiaries, The World Health Organisation, the World Economic Forum and all other globalist organisations that want to control information so we cannot find out what new mendacity they are planning, considered we had won a victory. Members of Parliament agreed with us that the danger in the wording of such a clause is if a thing is legal who gets to define what is harmful.
Obviously Social Media groups which promote self harm, suicide, paedophilia and such are not legal because it has always been illegal to incite crime. But web pages that question the efficacy of certain vaccines, the role of humans in exacerbating climate change or attempt to give unbiased reports on the causes and progress of the war in Ukraine are legitimate topics for public debate.
One of the most controversial subjects recently has been the transgender issue, and the elites have jumped on a bandwagon of insanity set rolling a couple of decades ago to the extent that in some liberal democracies it is now a crime to address a person by the pronouns appropriate to their biological sex rather that their those their 'feelings' dictate. Is it harmful to refer to a six foot two tall broad shouldered person with big hands and feet, an Adam's apple, a bead and a hairy chest as 'he' or 'him' because he chooses to wear a woman's dress? It is certainly scientifically correct but while we are told we must 'follow the science' and accept a vaccine that will not immunise us against a disease that is unlikely to cause anything worse that common cold symptoms unless we are very old or already seriously ill, but ignore the science (biology,) that tells us a placental mammal born with a penis is male and can never be anything but male except in extremely rare cases where a foetus does develop the incomplete reproductive organs of both sexes.News reports last week led us to believe that the Bill's “legal but harmful” clause would be omitted. The Secretary of State included an Amendment to that effect. It now looks like there is resistance to changing that stupidly worded statement. If an idea is potentially harmful (such as promoting self hsrm or paedophilia as acceptable lifestyle choices, they should be, and usually are illegal. If saying transgendered women are nor real women is to be forbidden because though true it upsets a tiny but noisy minority then we are no longer living in a democracy and how long will it be before that same tiny but noisy minority are demanding the the extermination of certain groups they do not like in order to 'cleanse' society.
Sceptics say: the adult “harm” element of the Bill has monstrous unintended consequences like the ones I have just alluded to. That it provides the means for anyone who feels they have suffered harm by things seen on social media to demand redress without having to prove actual harm because it would be impossible to argue that an individuals feelings were not really hurt and their complaint is malicious or self serving.
A trans activist may say that they have seen a post saying Transwomen Are Transwomen, not women, claim that their “existence has been erased” and that they are now suicidal. As long as the 'legal but harmful' clause exists in the Bill, that post must be taken down and the publishers punished. Whatever public good the clause might allow, it is also a charter for censorship, suppression of dissent by extremist activists, and rent - seeking lawsuits lainched by vexatious litigants.
We undfulerstand today that the “legal but harm” clause cannot be simply omitted. It is referred back to its Public Bill committee for 10 days for drafting, redrafting, reformatting, reinterpreting and circle-squaring.
Alex Davies-Jones, speaking for Labour, gave voice to the thoughts many harbour – that the internet should not be a wild west where, for example, Hitler glorifiers and vegetables' rights advocates can say anything they want. Or as one commentator claimed, “Everything Kanye West says is abhorrent and has no place online.” These are the extremes to which these arguments go.
To say that everything Kanye West says is abhorrent can’t be right. He says many things that are verifiably true whether certain individuals agree with them or not. It is only when he addresses certain topics like Black Lives Matter or Jewish influence in world politics, or when he's simply talking egotistical bollocks with statements like "I am like a vessel, and God has chosen me to be the voice and the connector," that he gets weird. Claiming that such bollocks has no place online really does amount to erasing his existence. (Ms Davies-Jones should perhaos watch that film that ends with the fallen hero crying: “Oh no! I’ve become everything I’ve ever hated!”) But her comments resonate with many social media users, particularly university brainwashed millenials. To her credit Secretary of State Donelan has held out as far as this but there are many virtue signallers on her own side agitating in support of “legal but harmful” being adopted into law as a censors charter for suppressing all dissent frtom or questioning the 'woke' ideology of the cancel cult.
Alex Davies - Jones made the Labour Party's far - right position on censorship by defending“legal but harmful ,” saying it was the Law Commission who had proposed
it. That they were the experts and that expert advice should be taken.
There is an equal and opposite opinion – with many common law precedents
– that experts can be idiots as was strikingly confirmed many times during the COVID pandemic. On an issue that affects every member of the public there must be room for the voice of the public.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, perhaps from consideration for families of child suicides, teenagers who have been influenced by anorexia promoting websites to starve themselves to death and people whose lives had been destroyed by exposure to the worst of the sick shit published on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok said, “Victims must be at the heart of everything we do.” This is a strong declaration of sympathy but it is absolutely wrong. We who aren’t victims have are partners in society and have rights as well. If a group opposing the self harm cult gets a site promoting self harm to teenagers as a cool thing to do taken down, what is to stop a site for religious fundamentalists getting the web pages of a Heavy Metal rock band removed because of 'coded Satanic messages.'
We have a feeling this story still has a long way to run.