Whenever some regulation comes along, the Twitter libertarian push — Phelps, James Morrow and the like — go into their peanut gallery chorus. “Nanny state!” “Nanny state!” “Free minds, free markets!” Blah, blah.

This is a position which can only be held by ignoring what has been going on in the UK under Tory governments for the last eight years: the uninterrupted extension of police powers over speech.

Thus, South Yorkshire police have recently launched a campaign to encourage people to report racial etc hate-based speech to them, even if those reporting it do not believe it reaches the status of a hate-crime. The force’s aim is for their remit to be total, with the sort of ideology that entails.

Thatcher started it — as part of inaugurating neoliberalism; Blair continued. By the mid 2000s, everyone could see that it was out of control. A government containing self-styled freedom warriors such as Boris has had no interest in winding back such practices; they need them, to control a society they’ve torn apart, so they can continue to bang on about the Nazi-like horror of charging for plastic bags. How dumb can this get? Over to you, Rita Panahi:

It’s a sign of just how soft and coddled we have become as a nation when an entire industry is sent into chaos thanks to the actions of one, or a few, demented drongos inserting needles into strawberries …

Yes, she’s bloody done it: created the right-wing hot take that is indistinguishable from self-parody. “Eee-oppp when I were a lass we dreeeamed of having a needle pierce the roof of our mouth, we did. Eat up, our girl, its only blood …”

Boldly go, scourges of the nanny state — nanny’s main role being of course TO STOP YOU PUTTING SHARP OBJECTS IN YOUR MOUTH — and defend our right to bleed internally, while people are jailed for joke tweets, and stateless humans rot in our island camps. Cry, freegahhhh, what just went through my cheeks?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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