Tuesday, 28 October 2008

McCarthyism returns

The most worrying think about the government's latest "eye catching gimmick" is that there might be something in it. As the state broadcaster the BBC credulously reports the government's line "extremists to be barred from UK", even though many "extremists" are barred already, while the Guardian at least reports it as a strengthening of the rules. It says:
The burden of proof is to be placed on the individuals concerned by demanding that they refute accusations made against them by publicly denouncing or retracting their reported views. At present the Home Office has to provide evidence that the individual holds the views ascribed to them. Individuals may have to make a statement of their attachment to democratic values to prove their change of heart is genuine.
Does no-one get the irony of forcing people to make a statement of their attachment to democratic values? How does forcing someone to say something prove they are genuine? What next? Show trials where "extremists" (after recanting) denounce fellow travellers? Making people genuinely love Big Brother before putting a bullet in the back of their heads? If "political correctness" ever had any meaning, which it doesn't, forcing people to hold acceptable views would be the very definition of it.

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