A Note Of Caution

By coincidence I find myself writing this section of Prybar against a backdrop of new laws for intimidation of those in public office being announced. I will come back to this point in a moment but first I would like to talk about abusive behaviour in general.

There is no doubt that certain individuals in our society are prone to forms of behaviour that go beyond what most of us would consider acceptable. I would therefore like to make clear from the outset that such people are not welcome at Prybar. Prybar makes, and will continue to make, very strong criticism of Westminster in a manner that many parliamentarians, I am certain, will be spluttering their breakfast out at, but abuse will play no part in what we do.

I cannot say whether the levels of abuse now being directed at those in public office is higher than the historical average or whether Westminster has simply instructed their media arm to create that impression. Either is possible, but for the sake of argument let us assume that levels of abuse have actually risen. If that is the case then we should all be dismayed but not at all surprised.

Over the past few years we have seen some of the most deplorable enabling of abusive behaviour by the very institution whose responsibility it is to safeguard against it. Not only has Westminster been one of the prime inciters of abusive behaviour but they have also chosen not to hold our “free and independent” press to the same standards of behaviour they apply to everyone else.

It is therefore somewhat shocking to see that Westminster are now poised to treat us to yet another oppressive piece of legislation to combat the very problem that they helped to create. This is perhaps one of the most outrageous acts of recent years but it doesn’t end there. A new piece of legislation has been deemed completely unnecessary by the police. When even the UK Police are turning down the opportunity for more power we should all be open mouthed because this means even they can’t justify it and quite clearly they did not request it. So who did and why.

Ever since the abuse of parliamentarians issue began gaining traction my inner alarm bell started ringing. It struck me as an issue that should be taken seriously but also one that was ripe for exploitation by those who have no respect for democracy. It pleases me not at all to see that, some months later, my suspicions seem to have been well founded. Soon we will have a new law with a suitable level of ambiguity such that no one really knows when it can be invoked. A perfect solution for those who wish to have every member of the public hesitate before making even the simplest criticism for fear that they may find themselves in trouble. A true masterclass in how to close down public opposition to all things political. First you create a problem, and then you introduce the solution to the problem you have just created whilst making sure the by-product of your solution strikes the target you were really targeting all along. Truly awful behaviour.

This gives all of us yet another reason, if that was needed, for avoiding abusive behaviour: it actually enables increasingly oppressive legislation by offering Westminster a perfectly wrapped pseudo justification to flex their muscles.

Let’s not make it so easy on them. Please be polite at all times.

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