The Freedom Association's response to the Coronavirus Bill

The Government will today start to rush through emergency measures in the Coronavirus Bill. It is expected to pass all stages in the House of Commons today. The House of Lords will debate the Bill tomorrow and Wednesday. COVID-19 is a national and international crisis. In these extreme times, extreme measures can be justified. It is clear from reports over the weekend that many people are ignoring medical advice to stay indoors, or, if they leave home, distance themselves from others. Those who are acting selfishly and irresponsibly are making it easy for those who advocate draconian measures to get their way.  Continue reading

Is the Culture Secretary ready to fight the BBC?

Oliver Dowden (pictured left), the new Culture Secretary, gave a speech at the Enders Media and Telecoms Conference yesterday. He told the audience that "in the coming years we will of course be taking a proper look at our public service broadcasting system and the BBC’s central role within it." He also said that we need to consider three questions. Does the BBC truly reflect all of our nation and is it close to the British people? Does the BBC guard its unique selling point of impartiality in all of its output? Is the BBC ready to embrace proper reform to ensure its long term sustainability for the decades ahead? Continue reading

The Law Commission to undertake a review of the legislation related to hate crime.

Lord Vinson, The Freedom Association's Patron, recently asked the Government in a written Parliamentary Question "what plans they have, if any, to review the definition used by the Crown Prosecution Service and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to identify religiously motivated incidents or crimes, in particular regard to the relevance of section 29J of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006". Here is the answer given by Baroness Williams of Trafford, a Home Office Minister: Continue reading

Boris Johnson is about to make a second major mistake since the general election

Boris Johnson is about to give HS2 the green light. This is despite ballooning costs (over £100 billion and counting); despite evidence from France and Spain that the major city hubs (Paris and Madrid respectively) benefit  far more from high speed rail, which in turn means that London will suck in more investment and regional English cities will not benefit by as much as some would have you believe; despite the fact that most people will not benefit; despite the environmental damage that will be inflicted on those areas which will not benefit. I could go on.  In a recent article in the Sunday Telegraph, Simon Heffer observed: Continue reading

Decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee is good, but the Government must go further

In an article published in the Daily Mail yesterday, Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan, wrote: "Twenty years ago Blockbuster, the then heavyweight of video rentals, turned down a £38 million merger offer from Netflix. Today Netflix is worth £50 billion, 1,300 times its offer to Blockbuster – which has gone from 3,000 stores to a museum in Oregon, for people who want to remember what video cassettes look like. Netflix now competes with the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple for dominance of the multi-billion-dollar streaming market. The result is that people now spend three times as much time watching subscription services such as Netflix than they do BBC iPlayer. More children now recognise the names Netflix and YouTube than they do the BBC. I believe, no matter how well-funded these international streaming giants are, UK public service broadcasters are vital". Continue reading