We live in a free speaking, liberal democracy. We are rightly proud of the fact we have freedom of speech, freedom of information, freedom of religion and a free press. Our Grandparents and their parents before them sacrificed everything for these freedoms in this country and around the world. This article examines the extent to which freedom exists in this country and whether or not we should be concerned.

I am British and proud to be so. As I have said before, I am not an academic, I write purely based on observation and a decent understanding of global modern history. I am only human, I’m sure I will make mistakes and welcome any comments below to improve my understanding.

Last weekend I went to the ‘United Against Fascism’ march against Islamophobia (another word spell check doesn’t like). Having never been on a protest before it was with a sense on nervous trepidation that I waited outside broadcasting house with what looked like thousands of others. This fairly quickly dissipated as I was handed I sign reading ‘No to Islamophobia, No to war’ and had  an enlightening chat with a man from a union.

The march passed with much chanting, singing, discussion and laughter but without real incident. The EDL had only managed to recruit 30 people to stand, rather ironically, on the ‘Statue of Eros’ and hurl abuse at us. It was with pride that I marched past them chanting ‘NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL’ in defiance with the others.

The march finished at Trafalgar Square where a number of speakers including, Diane Abbot MP, Owen Jones, Talha Ahmad (MCB National Council), Christine Blower (NUT General Secretary), Natalie Bennett (Green Party Leader), George Galloway MP and Steve Hart (UAF Chair), as well as many others, gave impassioned speeches in open condemnation of UKIP’s racist election campaign and the establishment’s failure to control the growing atmosphere of Islamophpobia in Britain and across Europe.

Some of the speakers compared Europe today to Europe in the 1930’s with respect to the rise of far right parties and the growing incitement of racial hatred, this time directed towards those of the Islamic rather than the Jewish faith.

There was a strong message from all speakers that the establishment was returning to the ‘divide and rule’ policies of historic British Governments. A population at war with itself is far easier to govern than one united in a true multi-cultural society.

Despite the fact 15,000 people were out protesting across Britain, there was not one report in the mainstream newspapers or on television. Why the media black out? I thought we lived in a country that cared about freedom of speech, a free press and more importantly cared about what goes on within our own country.

Perhaps the British public are so disengaged with politics because the media refuse to report on the things that matter. We have heard all about an eclipse (which happens every 10 or so years, so not that interesting), the fact that some one left one direction (probably very interesting if you happen to be a one direction-er, but pretty dull for the rest of us) and the fact Jeremy  Clarkson has been sacked from the BBC (do we really care that much about the fact he’s left the BBC? I’m sure he will make a much better car show somewhere else, without the constricting influence of the BBC). However, there was no mention of a peaceful protest with 1

To compare 21st century Britain to 1930’s Europe is in my view inaccurate. However, the warning signs are there. Islamophobia is in my view one of the biggest evils threatening our society today. The question is: Why is it spreading?

islamophobia

Picture Rights; David berrill

We are constantly bombarded by anti-Islamic sentiment from the mainstream media. The situation in the middle east is hugely complex but has, undoubtedly, been made worse by the actions of the west over the last decade or so. I am not condemning current policy necessarily but over the last decade we have dealt with the wasp’s nest that is the middle east by poking it with a fucking big stick.

The rise of ISIS has been widely reported in the mainstream media and rightly so. Careful distinctions are made between extremists and Muslims. Despite this Islamophobia is spreading like wildfire.

The xenophobia upon which UKIP have based their election campaign is frightening. We live in a multicultural society so the fact a xenophobic and racist party is gaining significant support is, in my view, indicative of a wider problem.

Fear is a mind killer and an anesthetic, as a character played by Russel Brand, once told us in a Noel Gallagher video. If we live in fear of those who are different to us we cannot have sensible discussions about sensitive issue such as immigration or instability in the middle east.

Let us stand up for what we believe in as equalitists. To counter discrimination of all kinds: racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and the many other vices used by those who seek to divide us, we must unite. Don’t believe what you read in the papers or on the BBC, that great bastion of truth who’s trustee members sit on the boards of companies such as HSBC and Pepsi co. I call for a journalistic revolution. We have the power, through social media and the internet, that no generation has had before us, to stand up to the Rupert Murdoch’s of this world. Let us simply apply our basic human principles of love, understanding and compassion, to the politics of a country that we are, so rightly and justly, proud to live in and we’ll be OK.

 

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David Berrill

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Vet Student at the RVC. Big into football, music, films, current affairs. I'll write about just about anything to be honest. Right wing economically, socially liberal and cynical towards big business and mainstream media.