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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A Labour MP who won’t let Theresa May beat her on authoritarianism

Lucy Powell MP has taken to the pages of the Guardian to tell us “Why I am seeking to stamp out online echo chambers of hate”.

She writes,

Closed forums on Facebook allow hateful views to spread unchallenged among terrifyingly large groups. My bill would change that.

and

Because these closed forums can be given a “secret” setting, they can be hidden away from everyone but their members. This locks out the police, intelligence services and charities that could otherwise engage with the groups and correct disinformation. This could be particularly crucial with groups where parents are told not to vaccinate their children against diseases.

Here is a video of Powell talking about her proposal.

Her Private Member’s Bill, like all Private Member’s Bills, has very little chance of passing. But it has cross-party support. Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and David Lammy all count as members of the permanent ruling coalition, but I had thought better of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

If it did pass, I can see no logical reason not to extend its provisions to ban private face-to-face conversations. Why should the mere fact that the hate speech is conveyed by sound rather than text make any difference? Dangerous physical proximity allows the doings of these groups to be even more effectively hidden away from anyone but their members. These groups meeting in people’s living rooms literally lock out the police, intelligence services and charities that could otherwise engage with them and correct disinformation.

27 comments to A Labour MP who won’t let Theresa May beat her on authoritarianism

  • >If it did pass, I can see no logical reason not to extend its provisions to ban private face-to-face conversations.

    This is whole point of it. Leftists always seek to outlaw the private. If they can’t do it directly, they’ll do it in a roundabout way.

  • George Atkisson

    Quite right. Audio monitoring equipment must be installed in every room of every office, home, shop, pub, auto, etc. It’s the only way to be sure. We have the technology. All together, thinking as one!

    Ein! Zwei! Drei! Vier!

    Except for our leaders, of course.

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    The drive to invent thought-reading devices will be stepped up, because when you have banned all spoken words (and images, naturally) then all that’s left is to go after those nasty private thoughts.

    God help you if have a dream that doesn’t not match the approved standards.

  • Kevin B

    So how does she know what goes on in these private groups? It couldn’t be that the cops or spooks might infiltrate these places by… I dunno… maybe joining them or something.

    Still, I suppose ‘online echo chambers of hate’ hits plenty of scary talking points and gets her name in the papers.

    Her constituents must be so proud.

  • Stonyground

    I suppose that it never crosses her mind that there may be times when hatred is entirely justified.

  • Like so many politicians, Lucy Powell sees Orwell’s 1984 as a useful compendium of interesting policy suggestions, rather than a cautionary tale.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Hector:

    “Leftists always seek to outlaw the private.”

    Extraordinarily well said.

  • Fraser Orr

    The thing about these horrible people (politicians, but I repeat myself) that I notice is how so often they yell loudly in denunciation of the very things they do themselves. This lefty politician has the audacity to complain that when an opposing voice is raised it is shouted down or banned. The effrontery of this is astonishing in face of things like no-platforming, political correctness, global warming discussions, Trump election fraud investigation and on and on with just about every issue of the day.

    I think chutzpah is the primary qualification to be a lefty politician. (Though Trump is full of chutzpah too, in fairness.)

    The USA has many things about which you could justifiably criticize. But thank God that we have a first amendment, and that the courts actually take it quite seriously.

  • Eric

    Because these closed forums can be given a “secret” setting, they can be hidden away from everyone but their members. This locks out the police, intelligence services and charities that could otherwise engage with the groups and correct disinformation.

    Police and intelligence services don’t have much trouble penetrating “closed” groups. These kinds of groups are like any society – they need new members.

    The idea Facebook groups should be forced open so charities can “engage with the groups and correct disinformation” is pretty Orwellian. I’ve never run across a charity (or, let’s be real here, a quango) interested in “correcting disinformation” so much as advocating the government-approved viewpoint, which itself is likely to be disinformation.

  • bobby b

    Jacob Rees-Mogg is one politician seemingly held in great admiration by most here.

    And yet, he is a co-sponsor of this bill.

    Anyone understand why?

  • RAB

    Once upon a time when you saw a bobby on the beat with one trouser leg rolled up you knew that you were dealing with a member of a secret closed society. But the Constabulary have solved that… no more beat bobbies. They are all back at the station on the Net looking for non crimes, because they cant be arsed looking into real ones.

  • Texas Pete

    “… the police, intelligence services and charities that could otherwise engage with the groups and [provide the] correct disinformation.” There. Fixed it for her.

    Considering the lack of any coherent definition of what these proggy types consider “Hate”, I suspect a ruse to cover the intent of suppressing “Samizdat”. 😮

  • Bruce

    Here’s their motto:

    “Überwachung macht frei”

    Nicely done in wrought iron, above the gates of the …..

  • but I had thought better of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

    Likewise, I am shocked.

  • bobby b

    I’d like to hear Rees-Mogg’s reasons for co-sponsoring this bill.

    It’s been my experience that, when someone whose intellect and philosophy I respect comes out in support of some issue that seems . . . wrong . . . it was frequently my understanding of that issue that was off – there was some factor I wasn’t seeing.

    Rees-Mogg’s position on this tells me that it may be premature to condemn the bill outright.

  • Mr Ecks

    No point in complaining to ZaNu about a corpulent agent of tyranny. She is expressing standard doctrine for Marxian scum.

    But Rees-Mogg needs to be rousted by Christ. Email, write and get on the job.

    He is not sound on migration regardless of his Brexit support. But if the CM rot really does run that deep we need to know.

  • Rob

    Who remembers when charities helped the poor, the sick and the unfortunate, rather than policed what is and is not behaviour acceptable to the State?

  • Derek Buxton

    Rob,
    At 85 I do just remember when “charities” were just that, but then again, I also remember when Policemen were polite and treated the populace with respect, even helping people in trouble.

  • Rob Fisher

    JRM? Noooo! Until now he had seemed sound. Surely this is some mistake.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to find Moggie’s involvement with this nonsense surprising. I’d regarded him as sound not only on Brexit but also trade and civil liberties. Like bobby b, I’d like to know more about it before I start criticising him.

  • pete

    The establishment and its lackey political class have no idea what to do so they have decided to silence us.

    If only their crackpot, idealistic theories about everything had turned out to be true we’d be all happy and allowed to say what we liked.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Surprised that JRM would sponsor this pile of steaming nonsense.

  • staghounds

    Police and intelligence services are famed far and wide for their skills in correcting disinformation.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Natalie – British politics is divided between the authoritarian and pro censorship Prime Minister May, and leftists such as Lucy Powell who denounce Prime Minister May for not being pro censorship ENOUGH – who want the Prime Minister (and the generally PRO censorship internet companies) to be even more pro censorship.

  • Paul Marks

    The only politicians I know who make a stand for freedom of speech in social media are American.

    President Trump and Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

    Of these Senator Ted Cruz shows the most understanding of the nature of the threat of the alliance between the Social Media companies and various government and other establishment bodies, in seeking to crush dissent.

    As far as I am aware, no British politician has a clue about these matters.

  • bloke in spain

    Amusing to see your dismay at Jacob Rees-Mogg. WTF did you expect? He’s a card carrying member of the “intellectual elite” Parents of the ruling class, Eton & Oxford. A practising member of one of the most oppressive religions in history. He knows what is best for you & he’s going to make sure you get it. Just because he’s come down on the same side on Brexit doesn’t mean he’s “one of you”. He’s in favour of Brexit because he wants it, not in support of you wanting it. There’s not an iota of difference between him, Cameron, May or for that matter Corbyn. They’re on their team, not your team.

  • Rob Fisher

    “He knows what is best for you & he’s going to make sure you get it” — except that he’s said the opposite several times. That no matter his personal opinion, such and such issue is no business of the state. Very few politicians ever put it like that.

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