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The Guardian’s Editorial, 24th September 2015: ‘Counter-terror initiatives must never be allowed to warp into social engineering; instead, they must build the broadest support by working to the narrowest of definitions. The first Cameron government, however, imposed a “new duty to prevent” support for terrorism on public services, from schools to hospitals, that would not ordinarily regard security as part of their work; and the second is moving towards enshrining a new definition of “extremism” which does not require any connection with, or even support for, violence.

David Cameron has talked about ditching “the passive tolerance of recent years”, and moving towards a “much more active, muscular liberalism”, which makes for good headlines, but could also trigger the systematic suspicion that’s so unhelpful. The mooted definition of extremism is opposition to “fundamental British values”, which only patriotically fundamentalist historians would pretend this country has always measured up to. “Mutual respect and tolerance”, for example, is listed as one such value, and reactionary attitudes towards homosexuality are increasingly held to be a warning sign in schools. But only a dozen years have passed since parliament scrapped its own sexual Jim Crow law, section 28, in a division in which Mr Cameron abstained; not 30 months have passed since the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, voted against gay marriage. And even if these much-vaunted values were more than humbug, at a time when 45% of Scots, and over 90% of Scottish MPs, are committed to dis-inventing Britain, the whole idea of “British” values is now contested.’ click here.

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