Il n’est pas Charlie

“We stand squarely for free speech and democracy”, said David Cameron last Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, not more than an hour after the attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. This is a rather strange proposition for the leader of a party who proposed to reinstate the ban on “extremists” from appearing on television and have been trying for the past few years to reintroduce the “snooper’s charter”. Indeed, the Tories have gone rather native in the Home Office, in contrast to five years ago when we were all criticising Labour for restricting our civil liberties.

Several hours later, the House of Commons then debated a somewhat–but not sufficiently–diluted Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, in which Tory and Labour frontbenchers alike praised the bill for being an important tool in the fight against paedophiles and terrorists: the two words that friends of this blog have previously highlighted as resulting in universally awful legislation.

After this brief sojourn into hypocrisy, Cameron took a flight to Paris where he stood side-by-side with the world’s autocrats and despots in the name of free speech. Whilst there, he lent his name to an agreement for more surveillance powers. One would think that Charb and his seven colleagues would not want that in their name. But Cameron went one step further, and proposed the worst idea to regulate a specialist field since Labour tried to ban coffee eighteen months ago: a ban on encryption.

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My speech on digital freedom to the Liberal Democrat Conference

Making your first speech at a political conference is tough, especially when you know that the media are watching you as well as delegates there. That didn’t stop me, as a first-time conference attendee, from making a speech to the Lib Dem Spring Conference in York last Sunday, on the Digital Bill of Rights motion. Having been persuaded to by Julian Huppert and Tim Farron to mention digital freedom at Conference, I decided to make such a speech, which I reproduce below:

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The Guardian’s Trans Hate Week

I’m fucking angry. And if you were in my position, you would be too.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, it’s been filled with an onslaught of articles from the nominally liberal paper The Guardian against the transgender community. And finally, thank god, it looks like it’s reached a point where cis people are saying it’s gone too far.

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The Goon who Kicked the Tropers’ Nest

Forgive me for the title; I’ve been on a Stieg Larsson bender over the past week or so, which you can blame on the Fincher/Craig/Mara movie. The English movie led me to the books and the Swedish movies. As of today, I’ve finished Hornet’s Nest (the novel). It’s relevant, I promise.  My first post delved into the ideas of “subjectivity” on the wiki, and my second about the community. In retrospect, those two barely scratch the surface; this’ll be a bumper post touching on some stuff which, themselves, may get a blog post unrelated to TV Tropes. Continue reading “The Goon who Kicked the Tropers’ Nest”