....which headline is a direct quote from this article.
The other day I wrote about soundbites, and how they can be divisive and misleading, drawing you away from the truth of something towards the impression the user wants to convey.
And clearly politicos and journalists aren't listening to me, because they're using exactly the same methodology to try and convince people that the NASTY EVIL TORIES are coming to TAKE AWAY YOUR FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS.
The quote in question, currently being wailed throughout a lobby that have suddenly become devoutly pro-freedoms despite trying to introduce ID Cards, a DNA Database, 90-day detention without charge, Control Orders) is this:
“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone."
Oh. My. God....
Cameron is sending in the jackbooted fascist thugs to stop us from criticising the NASTY EVIL TORIES over our organic morning granola!
Let's have a look at a bit more of the quote and see if it says the same.
“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.
“This Government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation, and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values. Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality."(emphasis mine)
Wow, that looks a bit different, doesn't it? A bit less Mein Kampf?
The legislation itself hasn't been finalised yet and I'm not saying it's going to be good law - we've seen before how well-meaning legislation can be misused - but sources indicate that decisions on what constitutes extremism won't be lying with politicians either, but with the High Court. The point is we don't know yet, and journalists are using a selected quotation to drive traffic and whip up opinion without knowing either.
Cameron's speechwriters and spinners really need to have their heads banged against a desk for coming up with such a stupidly spinnable headline, but that's only half of it.
We need to read more. Rather than blithely assuming that the headline writers are giving us the facts, we need to recognise that they're steering our interpretation the way they want to.
Read more. Read multiple sources. But most of all, read past the apparent money quote.
Because this one was rather different to the headline, and many others are too.