Our Way of Life

As the coronation looms you can see your democratic rights being stripped away – as the basic right to peaceful protest is removed.

But there’s another aspect of this that’s worth noticing as a convergence of ‘threats’ are recognised by the British State. One is specifically climate activism – here watch Just Stop Oil protestors being arrested – another is those of us arguing for self-determination. In an article that closely followed this one ‘Britain and the new National Conservatism’ – Neil Mackay notes that National Conservatism argues:

“One tenet reads like a thinly-veiled threat to devolution. “Subdivisions” of the nation state “in which law and justice have been manifestly corrupted, or in which lawlessness, immorality, and dissolution reign” will lead to “national government [intervening] energetically to restore order”.

This has history. Some of you will remember when Theresa May compared those who argue for self-determination for Scotland with ISIS (we covered it in 2017).

Among the reactionary and repressive new legislation of the Public Order Bill is a notion that brings together attacks on refugees and immigrants – that is the idea of a ‘British way of life’ – a vague and nebulous idea that assumes superiority and exceptionalism but defines nothing:

What is being protected here is capitalism and order and the British state. There is no ‘British way of life’ unless you want to refer to chronic deference and a history of violent imperialism.

Conservative minister are doubling down to promote this:

Climate activists are being branded as ‘anarchists’ (though to be fair some of the finest are).

As we reported back in 2020 (‘Domestic Extremist’): “You live in a state that can’t tell the difference between Extinction Rebellion and National Action, between Judi Dench and Combat 18, and thinks cyclists and vegans and peace activists are a threat to society.”

Some of the roots of the current legislation is in Counter Terrorism Policing, which has analysis of ‘threat’ that subsumes anti-fascists with actual fascists, and CND, ‘Nuclear Power No Thanks’ and anti-GM activists with the far-right.

That the legislation is being brought in just days before the coronation is no surprise.

What is being defended is ‘order’ in the most general sense. In the past the description of Britain as a ‘police state’ was used to freely too glibly. But now the authoritarianism of the British state is advancing in leaps and bounds, Our rights are under relentless attack. In these circumstances if we are not ‘intent on disruption’ we are doing something wrong.

Comments (10)

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  1. Sandy Watson says:

    Perhaps it is time for the justice system and it’s implementing and enforcing authorities to acknowledge the damage being done by nasty Westminster government and take action to stop it and protect citizens from it.

    1. jim ferguson says:

      that you sandals

  2. Antoine Bisset says:

    “A difference that makes no difference is no difference.”*
    What the loonie left and loonie right lose sight of is that ordinary people have the right to go about their business, to be left alone. So looked at this way, there is no difference between Extinction Rebellion and National Action. Their actions produce similar outcomes, disruption and risk to ordinary folk. Neither really hold credible views.

    *William James

    1. Derek Thomson says:

      Bilge, if I may say. Hogwash, if I may be allowed.

    2. Well if you’ve reached the stage that you make no distinction between Nazis and peaceful environmental protestors in the teeth of catastrophic climate change there’s little I or anyone e4lse can do for you Anotine

      1. Antoine Bisset says:

        The protestors are not peaceful, have look at the videos , photos etc. Blocking streets is “breach of the peace” and spraying paint is criminal damage.
        “Catastrophic climate change” may happen but cannot be entirely laid at the door of mankind. Carbon dioxide is 0.04% of our atmosphere. If we cut that back to 0.02% life on earth will vanish. Coal is the remnant of forests and jungles that flourished in an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide. The planet was warmer in the past.
        Cutting use of plastics is sensible, building factories to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere is happening and is insane.

        1. Possibly the stupidest comment posted here in over a decade. Its a very competitive group.

        2. John says:

          Well Antoine just ignore the increasingly overwhelming consensus of scientists who have studied the changes in the climate and the role of human behaviour in the process but come up with an unquoted source from climate change sceptics. However if it makes you feel that you know better than the people who study the subject and those of us that base our judgements on scientific evidence than the need to boost our own personal ego’s then so be it but don’t complain when those of worried about the effect of climate change on future generations treat you with utter contempt.

    3. Frank Mahann says:

      In other word, pay your taxes, draw a cross on a piece of paper every few years and go away and shut up.

  3. SleepingDog says:

    Yet nothing screams ‘extremism’ like a £100m celebration of the divine right of Kings accompanied by an exhortation for subjects to swear allegiance to their hereditary Great Leader while indulging in the kinds of performative luxury excess that fuels the fall of human civilization.

    In How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire (2021), Andreas Malm writes (p90):
    “A group of American and British criminologists have consequently argued that conspicuous consumption of fossil fuels ought to be classified as a crime.”

    Perhaps you could easily make a case that British royalty was institutionally evil, but global consumer capitalism cannot be far behind. The non-crimes of their opponents are being criminalised to legitimise their own crimes.

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