Friday Thought: National Mourning, no room for dissent

On Monday, Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will finally take place. It's been a week since she passed away at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. That week has been… interesting, to say the least.

If you’ve been watching the rolling news coverage, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the entire country is in a deep state of depression. They talk about a ‘national mood’ as if the nation is united in one single emotion. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. A relatively small section of the population is devastated, a very small section is happy, and the majority are acknowledging the scale of the event but aren’t particularly emotional about it. That’s my experience, anyway, reinforcing my thoughts immediately after her death that the mourning — rather than being natural- was being imposed from above.

Even on the night the Queen’s death was announced, I saw more people complaining that the weekend’s football was going to be cancelled than I did crying about the Queen. NHS appointments, that have taken months if not years to trickle down waiting lists, have been cancelled. Strikes cancelled. Foodbanks closed. Funerals postponed. Cycles racks closed (seriously!). Events that wanted to go ahead have buckled, terrified of being shredded by legacy media and their obsessions.

“If the individual concerned committed acts of violence, or the police had reason to believe they would, then action was obviously necessary. But if the individual was simply stating an opinion, I trust you agree a liberal approach would be desirable.

“I speak as a strong monarchist, but nevertheless I hope that members of the public will remain free to share their opinions and protest in regard to issues about which they feel strongly.”

David Davis MP

Even more concerning than the forced national mourning is the vicious oppression of opposing points of view. Protesters have been arrested up and down the country for as little as asking who elected the new King and holding up a blank placard. The windows of vocal republican businesses have been smashed in. Protesters assaulted by crowds. Ordinary people mobbed on social media for sharing or writing things that are ‘disrespectful’.

There are legitimate arguments to be had about whether or not now is the right time to protest, share memes or question the monarchy as an institution… but it isn’t up to ‘patriotic’ mob culture to pick and choose when other people are entitled to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, protest and expression.

This period has highlighted what has been, increasingly, becoming the norm in the UK. Freedom of expression and speech is being assaulted by all sides of the political spectrum who refuse to tolerate anything they disagree with. The right to protest is being increasingly stamped out by the Government.

We wage wars in the Middle East and square up to the likes of Russia and China in pursuit of our so-called ‘Western values’, but at the same time we are increasingly not adequately defending these values on our own soil.

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