- Report noted how the woke movement led to people being forced out of jobs
Woke campaigners have been condemned as ‘authoritarians’ who deploy hate speech laws to stifle free speech.
A report from a think-tank said elements of the Left have ‘successfully weaponised’ concepts such as hate speech to ‘silence their political opponents’.
Describing the intolerant woke as the ‘Culture-Control Left’, or CCL, the report said their views now ‘stretch beyond the traditional confines of the left and now heavily influence big business, public sector bureaucracies (including the police) and some Conservative politicians’.
The report noted how the woke movement was leading to people being forced out of jobs over their ‘gender critical’ views on transgender rights, and to a growing number of ‘campaigns to remove or deface statues’.
The report by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) added that hate speech laws are applied by police in a ‘partial and inconsistent way’.
It said that ‘when someone who is not white makes what seem like racist remarks’ it is regarded as a ‘form of cultural resistance’ rather than as a crime.
Those seeking to suppress alternative viewpoints in favour of woke views are part of a ‘form of authoritarian politics’, it added.
‘They see censorship as a tool to transfer power between social groups,’ it said.
‘They threaten any open society.
‘Being accused of hate speech is the contemporary equivalent of being charged with blasphemy or seditious libel.’ The paper concluded: ‘The damage that has been done by the CCL at the legal and institutional levels must be undone.
‘This will be a considerable challenge, given the degree of penetration the CCL has achieved into the public life of Britain.
‘Opponents of the CCL must make a special effort to identify and reform specific laws and practices that are incompatible with a truly liberal political order.
‘In particular, advocates for free speech must now create an inventory of specific pieces of legislation that should be amended or abolished.
‘The governing objective should be to have only those laws in place that criminally prosecute speech that directly and immediately threatens or incites violence, or speech that is intrinsically connected to criminal acts such as fraud, robbery and murder.’
Author Marc Glendening, of the IEA, said: ‘British democracy faces an existential threat from those seeking to silence debate.
‘Defenders of political pluralism now need to wage a counterattack based upon a foundational, natural rights-based defence of free speech.’ The Government had previously outlined plans to bolster free speech in a new Bill of Rights, but it was dropped in June.
The legislation would have made free speech a ‘trump card’ over other rights, barring the creation of European-style privacy laws through the back door.
When the Bill was dropped by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government, former justice secretary Dominic Raab – who drew up the proposals – said it was a ‘disappointing’ decision which would mean ‘all the wrong people will celebrate’.
David Barrett Home Affairs