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UK’s new attack on free speech as TCW fights censorship


‘THE United Kingdom is panting to suppress our core liberties of movement and speech’, and wants us talking only about ‘Legcrossgate’. So fulminated Mark Steyn in another of his searingly satirical GB News monologues on Monday night. As ever he hit the nail on the head.

Why? Because ‘it absolves them from having to address anything that matters.’  

Mark’s observation was particularly close to home for us. Addressing stuff that matters is what we, TCW, pride ourselves on. On Monday, TCW (aka The Conservative Woman) was blocked from doing just that by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) Three on the grounds that it believed our site contained ‘adult’ content.

What could be more ridiculous? The Conservative Woman is the soul of propriety! We are very last outlet where you’d find sex or porn. Compared with the rest of the Internet (what percentage is dominated by genuine adult content? you can give your estimates BTL), we must be the ultimate safe space for under-18s and anxious parents. That’s unless ‘ideas’ are now the true adult content. Regardless, we remain blocked on that ISP despite our protestations.

Listening to Mark, I did wonder if the new declaration he was reporting on, signed by the leading ‘Western’ nations, including ours, on the future of the Internet and combating ‘disinformation’, might have encouraged some enterprising government spirit (one who thinks that ‘the last two years of banning and cancelling haven’t been quite sufficient’) to target us. 

If not that, does another clue lie in the Government’s clampdown on all things Russian? We are grateful to Neil Brown for drawing our attention to the latest and very recent amendment to the Russia Sanctions (EU Exit) Regulations. 

This he explains is a new sanction, updated on April 30, with information on filtering the UK sanctions list and updated again a day later with a statement from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport affecting Internet access providers who provide connectivity to people in the UK.  

As Neil explains in his blog, as this was laid before Parliament only two days before, ‘there has been virtually no time to prepare, or even discuss, this measure’ and no consultation has been carried out on it.’ 

The plain English interpretation of the amendment, Neil explains, is that if you provide an Internet access service to people in the UK, you must take reasonable steps to stop them from using a service provided by a ‘designated person’. That is a person designated by the Secretary of State – in other words, someone the Secretary of State says falls within the scope of the sanction. 

At the moment, the majority of the persons designated under The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 have either or both “Asset freeze” or “Travel ban” as the sanction type. Some have “Prohibition on correspondent banking and sterling clearing” or “Transport sanctions”.

According to a statement from DCMS no-one is a designated person for this ‘internet’ sanction, yet.

It’s creepily Orwellian, if not nakedly authoritarian, to borrow Mark Steyn descriptor for the West’s onward march to oppression. 

As with Covid, the Ukraine-Russia War seems to be providing a further excuse for censorship of what Western governments, quite ironically if not unashamedly following in Stalinist Soviet footsteps, call ‘disinformation’.  

This is the new code word for dissident voices, Mark’s guest, Dutch opinion-maker Eva Vlaardingerbroek, put it on Monday. Joe Biden, Mark replied, already has a Disinformation Governance Board. 

The Free Speech Union is backing our demand to find out why we have been targeted, for which we are very grateful.

We’d appreciate it if anyone else can help, or throw light on why we’re being so unjustly targeted. 

Meanwhile, for some fun and free speech, you can watch the magnificent Mark doing the Full Monty on ‘Legcrossgate’ and censorship here.  

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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