We cherish political, intellectual, religious, artistic, journalistic, academic and professional freedom.
Our fundamental freedoms are under attack. Freedom of speech is being eroded by those unwilling to countenance the existence of decent people who disagree with them. Professional and even legal consequences await those who speak their mind on certain topics. Society progresses by open debate, seeking the truth. So, to prevent injustices against the unorthodox, and to facilitate a flourishing society, we must defend freedom.
Hate speech legislation will lead to increasing censorship and self-censorship. The Police should not be threatening to prosecute those who are “offensive” on social media, for example. No one has the right not to be offended. We oppose all hate speech legislation. We also oppose the “Hate Incident” system under which incidents are recorded with no evidence or investigation at all, leading campaigning groups into an unseemly quest to rack up numbers of incidents recorded in order to further their own agenda.
The Equality Act’s section on “harassment” should be repealed. Again, “offence” should not be a matter for the law, nor should such vague concepts as “violating your dignity.” The Equality Act has led to many injustices and serves to enforce a political philosophy by threat of legal consequence.
Government regulatory agencies should not seek to enforce the government’s philosophy and silence dissent. Other employers should respect the right of employees to express diverse opinions.
People should be free to criticise and ridicule any belief system without fear of state intervention.
The government should not intervene to censor news sources that deviate from the mainstream media narrative, nor should they pressurise social media companies to manipulate access to different viewpoints, or ban or financially undermine political and social commentators that challenge the progressive establishment philosophy. The internet must remain a space for open debate.
Regulation should prevent monopolistic social media corporations from acting individually or as a cartel to skew public debate.
We are supportive of the concept of a national broadcaster producing high quality programmes, helping unify the nation around a common culture. However, the BBC’s ‘progressive’ bias renders it unfit to fulfil its function. News reporting tends to be one sided, often including stories that are obviously included to promote an idea such as transsexualism and assisted suicide. The overwhelming cultural bias evident in other programming, including children’s, is even worse. The BBC’s influence skews national debate and leads to widely held and reasonable views being regarded as dangerous extremism. The BBC should begin to compete with other media companies on a level playing field. The licence fee should purchase access to BBC output, but not paying the fee should not restrict access to other TV channels.
The requirement that broadcasters be neutral should be removed. Broadcasters are not neutral now and it would be preferable to have a choice of news and current affairs from a range of perspectives rather than pretending that the BBC and other existing TV news services are unbiased.
In careers and businesses, where matters of conscience arise, reasonable accommodation should favour the employee where possible. The aim should be tolerance and understanding, not a desire to teach ‘heretics’ a lesson.
Freedom of association should be protected. There is nothing wrong with, for example, golf clubs for men or societies for people with similar beliefs.
People should be free to seek private counselling as they fulfil their life vision, regardless of whether or not the therapy is intended to maintain or desist sexual desires. Moves to prevent such support are ideologically driven and an attack on individual freedom.