Battleaxe read in the ‘Observer’ on Sunday that the Government is planning to redefine the definition of extremism. Without being frivolous about a horribly unpleasant fascist ploy which would outlaw many groups and individuals standing up for just causes, Battleaxe feels that under the new definition, she would qualify as an extremist. She explains herself in this post. Sorry readers if you groan and yawn – yes, here she goes again… And writing such treasonous stuff on Kings Speech day as well… To change the subject, at the end of the post, I write that the weather here in Hastings has been awful beyond belief. Saturday was one of the wettest days I can remember – absolute torrents of lashing rain much of the time. Poor Hastings town centre… However, yesterday and today? some sun…
The ‘leaked document’ quoted by the Observer says that the new definition of extremism will be: ‘the promotion or advancement of any ideology which aims to overturn or undermine the UK’s system of parliamentary democracy, its institutions and values.’ This post shows how Battleaxe, a middle-class left-leaning grandmother, a retiree living in Hastings, would easily fall foul of this new definition. So, I’m promoting ‘extremist ideologies’ on this publicly accessible blog. Health warning first – I’m not a great thinker or a constitutional expert, (but neither are most extremists, I guess). I enclose references to the writings of those who can put things better than me. OK, let’s start on the advancing, promoting and undermining…
– Battleaxe does not support the UK’s current system of parliamentary democracy. Our ‘first past the post’ election model is not fit for purpose. We need proportional representation. We are one of a tiny minority of countries who still stick by FPTP. Read the Electoral Reform Society’s material. In addition, our system is becoming more presidential and less democratic. The House of Commons is often not involved in major decision-making. Many decisions, eg the scrapping of HS2, are made by the PM and his cronies. Voters are not given fair access to the information they need to make reasoned choices.The vast majority of our media, which carries the ‘information’ that influences/informs voters, is controlled by (or controls) the Conservatives.
– Battleaxe does not respect the authority of the current Conservative Government. Our government is one of the key institutions of state. Our so-called leaders are proven liars, inept and corrupt. There is ample evidence of this. I don’t believe anything they say, and I don’t trust them to have either the ability or the will to act in the best interests of the country. Anything I could do to undermine the Government or bring about its downfall I would do. If you want to know more, read this very good article from Andrew Rawnsley, again in Sunday’s Observer.
– Battleaxe would gladly overturn/undermine many key UK ‘institutions’. I’ve mentioned the Commons, but what about the Lords? Governments say they are going to reform our upper house, but nothing gets done. It is stuffed with hereditary peers, Bishops and an ever-increasing number of truly ridiculous political appointments. Probably the most infamous is twenty-nine year old Charlotte Owen, created a life peer in Johnson’s final list, with a total lack of any credentials or track record to entitle her for a job for life making laws for the rest of us. Apparently her appointment is covered by a super-injunction, meaning that none of us can know anything… What about Johnson’s dodgy Russian crony Lebedev...? Did you realise that Liz Truss is still entitled to a resignation honour’s list – yes, she is, and the nominees are still under consideration. Read this from the Institute of Government. Next, the Church of England should no longer be the established church. The C of E is archaic, rapidly declining, lacks all authority and should be disestablished forthwith. Read the Case for Disestablishment from the National Secular Society. Then, Battleaxe cannot support the current position and role of the monarchy. Today is the day of the ultimate pantomime, the Kings Speech. Spouting meaningless pie in the sky surrounded by the most absurd, archaic, jingoistic flim-flam. Ermine, diamonds, gold sticks and black rods… oh purleeze. Oh, and don’t get me started on the Commonwealth….
– Battleaxe believes the UK should have a written constitution. The shameless corruption of the current government shows the risks inherent in our archaic and outdated reliance on ‘gentlemen’s agreements’. In recent years we have been shamelessly and erronously sold free-market capitalism as our goal and ideal, leading to the near-collapse of our public services. Our governance is dangerously poor (take the handling of the Covid pandemic, or the Brexit vote, with its requirement for a simple majority, as examples). Read this from the Citizen Network for more, better information.
– Well, that’s a good chunk of publicly promulgated undermining, so let’s look at British Values. Big question, what are they? Our lack of a written constitution makes them hard to pin down. Presumably we Do The Right Things because we are British. But Battleaxe needed to know more. On Googling it up, the only ‘official’ publication I could find was Government Guidance for schools, published in 2014.There appear to be five values:
How are these values mediated to children? On-line, there is a bewildering array of material produced by individual schools and educational supply companies. Taking a closer look, many of these materials don’t use the same lists, or promote widely differing interpretations of the values.
Most concerning of all though, what is available to us adults? Nothing I could see. How many of us not involved in education have ever seen those values before? Come on now Suella and Govey! How can we undermine/not undermine British Values if we don’t know what they are? It might be a start if you Tories practised what you preach. Tolerance? Mutual Respect? Sorry, I don’t think so…
Phew… enough… while I eagerly wait for the Prevent hit squad to roll up at the front door, or whatever they do to us extremists, let’s turn to the classic British subject, the weather.
The photo above shows ‘The Works’ in Priory Meadow, Hastings, a few days ago. The shop was closed for months, along with many others, after the last flood in February, and now it has happened again. They are having to throw out all their Christmas stock. Hastings town centre is desperately fragile, with many shops struggling or closing – how many will be able to continue? Well done Southern Water, as usual….
But here’s the sun… Rye Harbour on Sunday.