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Saturday, April 20, 2024

UK’s Reputation as a Democratic Country Under Threat

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The UK’s reputation as a democratic country could be under threat, the SNP has warned.

It follows the UK government announcing their new definition of extremism under which certain groups will be blocked from government funding and meeting officials.

Alison Thewliss MP, the SNP’s Home Affairs spokesperson, has warned that history has proven it’s inherently difficult to find consensus on a definition, and that the UK government’s latest change will not help tackle extremism or build cohesive, inclusive communities. 

Those views echo that of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall, who told the BBC: 

“Every attempt to update the definition of extremism has failed because it’s never clear what you’re trying to prevent by defining extremism.

“What we see…is a move away from people who are doing bad things, towards people who think or have a bad ideology.”

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have also expressed concern, warning it risks “disproportionately targeting Muslim communities” and “driving us apart”. 

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The UK’s reputation as a democratic country could be under threat.

“The SNP will always work with the UK government to counter extremism and terrorism – but what we have seen from this Tory government in recent years is an attempt to undermine people’s democratic right to protest.

“This move is just the latest in an attempt to thwart those democratic rights. 

“What we have also seen in recent years is how hard it is to find consensus on a definition for extremism. 

“That is why there is rightfully concerns that this latest approach will not help tackle extremism, nor help build cohesive and inclusive communities.

“Tackling the treat of extremism and terrorism is crucial in building a fair and safe society – but this latest change will only vilify the wrong people and risk even more division.” 

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