The UK has released a list of people who are barred from the country for "propagating views" that "fundamentally go against our values" according to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

I am seriously mixed up about this.

First, I read Fred Phelps is not allowed into the UK.
Undeniable satisfaction.

Second, a voice of moderate rational argument from Inayat Bunglawala:

“If they step over the line and break the law, it's at that moment the law should be enacted, not beforehand...If people are keeping their odious views to themselves, that's their business. We should not be in the business of policing people's minds."

I feel unease. That's absolutely true. And as far as I know, Fred Phelps, to run with an example, has not broken any laws in the United Kingdom. He is a notorious, vocal bigot with views many people find abhorrent. The fact remains that he has not broken any law in the United Kingdom.

By the time I read (at the bottom of this BBC article) that Martha Stewart had been denied entry to the UK because of her insider trading deal I was positively upset. This is dangerous, ridiculous, populist nonsense.

I've already quoted an excerpt, but this bears repeating:

“Coming to this country is a privilege. We won't allow people into this country who are going to propagate the sort of views... that fundamentally go against our values.”
Jacqui Smith - Home Secretary

I understand there have been attempts under UK law to prevent the instigation of hatred on racial or religious grounds, with varying levels of success or moral objectivity, but this particular quote rings with a dangerous tone of protectionism. If entering the UK is a privilege, there is a standard. This isn't a hint, this is precisely what the government is saying.

Even worse, the standard is vaguely defined as a contrariness to values. 'Fundamentally' is overused and is just as woolly as 'reasonable' and 'actual'. It's a dangerous word - you understand if someone is described as wrong. If they're described as fundamentally wrong, your understanding hasn't changed - but the describer has added nuance to how wrong the person is.

I do not think that the United Kingdom should have a monarchy.

It's a personal view. It crops up in conversation occasionally. I'm not an activist, but if the subject comes up I can get quite passionate about it. I don't know if I've ever changed anyone else's mind, but I may have done. I may have propagated my views.

(I don't want to go off on the explanation, but here is a part of it in a nutshell -  I think that the monarchy is a remnant of a time when we were not self-governed. The institution serves no useful purpose. Any minor purpose it does serve, it would be better as the duty of an elected representative. Even if we are now completely democratic, the monarchy and the royal family form such a grand part of our national identity that their cultural primacy skews it, deforms it, so that we are not modern or rational in our thinking about our place in the global community, or about our role as individuals in a global society...like I said. Part of the explanation.)

Anyway.

If, because the United Kingdom has a monarchy, we can safely assume that is a value or belief the United Kingdom holds...and I am against it.

I am against one of the values of the United Kingdom.

Am I fundamentally against it?
Well yes. You'll have to work hard to change my mind on the matter.

So...what now?

The satisfaction I felt when reading that Fred Phelps was barred from the UK is exactly the sort of feeling this announcement is designed to give. What it's not designed to achieve is the feeling that if I disagree with what the government feels is a cultural value (fundamental or otherwise) I can have my right (sorry) privilege to enter the UK removed.


So, Jacqui Smith - I am against the monarchy, and I've told people about it.
Can I come in?


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