As today’s Independent points out, the Tories have slipped plans into their manifesto to extend their ‘Snoopers’ charter’ to include control over what news the British public is allowed to see online.
The manifesto item – tellingly one of the most firmly-phrased in the document – states that the Tories will:
take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy
Considering that the Tories – panicked by the popularity of Labour’s fully-costed manifesto – have been a significant source of fake news on more than one occasion this week – there is no shortage of either irony or arrogance in this plan.
It’s very clear to those who keep an eye on such things that ‘fake news’ is very often a label of convenience used by the Establishment and its supporters against any source of news that is inconvenient rather than inaccurate, so for the Tories to claim this plan is to protect democracy is, frankly, treating us all as idiots.
If Theresa May and her party manage to fool enough people into voting for them, it’s plain that they intend to further rig our democracy rather than protecting it, by preventing voters’ access to the awkward facts that are all too easily omitted by a largely compliant mainstream.
Taken together with the Tories’ plan to proceed with boundary changes that will make it even harder to dislodge them from government – and their plan to require formal ID from every voter, which is known to mitigate against ethnic minorities who are less likely to support the Tories – the Conservative manifesto becomes a truly frightening document for anyone with any concern for the importance of free speech to the proper functioning of the UK’s democracy.
There are reasons not to vote Tory in almost every line of the Tories’ manifesto, but if you want the UK to remain a functional democracy rather than a gerrymandered sham, this ‘Big Sister’ plan is a huge one.
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