Author Douglas Murray published a scathing review of the British government’s counter-terrorism Prevent program, which has apparently reported that authors like George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis can radicalize readers.
In his column, Murray described how Britain’s Prevent program was founded to support counter-terrorism efforts, but has gradually swayed into a focus on only extremists from Islam and “far-right” ideological mindsets. He evidenced this claim by citing that Prevent was consulted by activist groups such as Hope not Hate, which he argues believes that people who voted for Brexit and are against illegal immigrants are far-right.
He further noted that Prevents’ “Research Information and Communications Unit” (RICU) has previously listed historical texts as red flags. Essentially, if someone is reading “1984,” or works by Lewis, Tolkien, Aldous Huxley, or Joseph Conrad, they should be suspected of being a far-right extremist terrorist. Murray’s own book was on the list.
Prevent was founded in 2019, and is reviewed annually. The purpose of the review is to consider Britain’s “strategy for protecting people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism,” and to make recommendations based on the findings.
— Douglas Murray (@DouglasKMurray) February 16, 2023
In the review itself, written by William Shawcross, he notes that while the boundaries for extremist Islamist ideology are too narrow, boundaries around the idea of extreme right-wing ideology are too broad. This apparently hinders Prevent from effectively dealing with the risk posed by this mindset. But doesn’t it also ignore a whole other ideological spectrum of extremist far-left ideologies too?
In fact, Shawcross barely makes mention of left-wing ideologies throughout the entire report. He doesn’t mention communism. He doesn’t mention China, nor Russia. While I can’t imagine my friends back in the U.K. being recruited into a Chinese terror operation, I do fear for the nation’s collapse into public assaults like those hosted by “activist” group Extinction Rebellion. I do not think that Extinction Rebellion is a terrorist group, but I think they actively campaign for disruption in a very different way to individuals quietly reading the classics.
I was even nearly dragged into that crazy crew of idiots who glue themselves to artwork, but thankfully I have never been one for group activities. (RELATED: A Host Of Cartoonish Bond Villains Are Deciding Your Fate From The Swiss Alps)
What concerns me more is the fact my government has clearly chosen good guys and bad guys, and is ignoring those screaming that though they may “temporarily shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic,” they’re not giving up until their unattainable goals are met. And even if their goals are met, they’ll starve to death shortly thereafter.
A report from the Guardian in 2016 said that Home Office’s Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU) was modeled after a propaganda unit founded in 1948, the Information Research Department. The department was shut down in 1977 but not before members hoodwinked journalists and academics, and targeted unionists. As there is so much money flowing through the hands of elites under the guise of climate change activism and mitigation, surely focusing efforts on those who don’t bow down to the obvious corruption is the best thing RICU can do to enrich themselves, and their buddies in the British government.