Laws against extremism too difficult to do for UK government
The British government scrapped plans to pass laws against extremism because it was too hard to define “extremism” in law.
Counter-extremism bills in both 2015 and 2016 were dumped because they were so far-reaching that they would have made much normal political and religious activity illegal, according to top lawyer Lord Anderson, as reported in the Daily Telegraph on 6 April.
Anderson, who was given the job of independently reviewing the bills, said, “There can be no one-size-fits-all legislative solution to activities as various as violent racism, campaigning against gay rights, sectarian marching, and, in the manner of (TV presenter) Jeremy Clarkson, calling someone a one-eyed Scottish idiot.”
He said government orders rather than independent courts would have clamped down on the so-called “extremist activity” which would have included “legitimate political and religious speech”.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Lord Anderson said, “The notion [of extremism] is far too broad to be suitable for legislation. Coercive state powers should not be applied to ‘extremism’, but only to specific types of violent, abusive and anti-social conduct that there is sufficiently strong reason to prohibit.”
Hayley Dixon, "Extremism definition fails the Clarkson test", The Sunday Telegraph, 7 April 2019, pp1-2.