The UK Government’s new definition of “extremism”

The Government has today announced a new definition of “extremism” as follows:

“Extremism is the promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, that aims to:

1. negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or

2. undermine, overturn or replace the UK’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or

3. intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2).

The new definition is narrower and more precise than the 2011 Prevent definition, which did not provide the detail we now need to assess and identify extremism. This new definition helps clearly articulate how extremism is evidenced through the public behaviour of extremists that advance their violent, hateful or intolerant aims.”

The previous definition was “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.

The announcement cause consternation even in advance of its publication. Continue reading