Extremism definition could end up targeting far-right Tories. LOL.

  • Post last modified:March 10, 2024
  • Reading time:9 mins read

The UK has seen regular mass demonstrations since Israel began its campaign against Palestinea campaign which is being investigated for the crime of genocide. Given the continued pressure exerted by these protests, the Tory government – namely Michael Gove – has two options. Stop financially and politically supporting the Israeli government in its crusade against the Palestinians. OR, try to convince the public that actually the people protesting against the violence are the extremists via an ‘extremism definition’.

Can you guess which option the Tories have chosen?

The problem is that the approach is already a source of ridicule – and one which is seemingly doomed to failure:

Extremism definition: legally dubious – politically ridiculous

Regarding the government’s push to redefine extremism, the Observer reported on 9 March:

Michael Gove is set to announce a controversial plan this week to ban individuals and groups who “undermine the UK’s system of liberal democracy” from public life, despite fears inside government that the scheme is at risk of a legal challenge, leaked documents reveal. …

Organisations and individuals that breach a new official definition of extremism will be excluded from meetings or any engagement with ministers, senior civil servants, government advisory boards and funding.

Councils will be expected to follow the government’s lead, cutting any financial ties or support to individuals or groups that have been categorised as extremist. …

In internal briefing papers, Gove’s officials admit there is a risk of a legal challenge. Gove already faces strong opposition to the plans, including from civil liberties groups, officials and some senior Tory MPs.

The Guardian previously reported that the proposals weren’t popular within the party as they’d potentially target many right-wing activist groups:

The rightwing Tory MP Miriam Cates and Lord Frost, the high-profile rightwing peer, are among those who have expressed opposition amid concerns that the move could have an inadvertent impact on anti-abortion groups, advocates for socially conservative causes and those opposed to transgender rights.

“Any attempt to define extremism or fundamental British values is very risky because one person’s extremism is another person’s sincerely held and lawful belief,” Cates told the Guardian.

“An obvious is example is where I regularly call trans rights activists extremists for believing a man can be a woman just because he says he is, and that this gives him the right to enter women-only spaces, but equally I am called an extremist for believing there are only two biological sexes and that you can’t change sex.”

“These are debates that we should be able to have lawfully in society. We should be able to call each other extremists, but it also means those views should not be banned,” said the MP, one of the leaders of the New Conservatives grouping of Tory MPs.

Who extremes the extremists?

Many online have highlighted the impossibility of creating a definition which would work:

Some have pointed to the complete lack of trust that now exists in our political class:

Others have pointed out the ways in which the extremism definition could inevitably diminish our democracy:

It’s also worth being aware who the people leading this charge are:


Politicians seem to keen to label any group they don’t like ‘extremists’, even when doing so demonstrably makes life worse for everyone:

Some pointed at the alleged ‘extremists’ that Gove and the Tories are so worried about:

Many are simply making fun of the situation:

Would you believe that Labour is supportive of the general idea of updating the extremism definition?

If you are surprised, you probably shouldn’t be, as there’s pretty much no political difference between the two parties at this point besides the fact that one is in power and the other isn’t.

Where will it end?

You might be in complete agreement with Gove and the Tories that these people marching for peace in the Middle East are extremists – hence the new extremism definition.

The question you should ask yourself is what happens when your political enemies get in power and decide that you are the extremist?

Featured image via Wikimedia – UKinUSA

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