In the aftermath of Woolwich, people are looking to MPs for answers - the most sought after of all being: 'how can we prevent this from happening again?' Well, as usual, Home Secretary Theresa May has stepped up to the plate with a legislative solution that's almost as trite as it is naïve.
Indeed, the answer to preventing such atrocities as that faced by soldier Lee Rigby is apparently simple: we should give the government more powers to monitor our web activity, tighten people's social media access and - most importantly - have an outright ban on all organisations that have been accused of fomenting division (even if they don't advocate violence). Are you kidding me?
Okay, let's overlook the potential human rights catastrophe concerning our freedom of speech for two seconds - why? Because I'm more curious as to just what constitutes "inciting hatred and division". After all, if we're going to ban all groups that incite division, perhaps Theresa May can start with her own political party.
In an attempt to compete with right-wing zealots such as UKIP, the Tories have taken several undeniably and unnecessarily harsh stances on some major issues lately. These include plans to keep as many migrants out of Britain as possible (divisive), as well as Iain Duncan Smith's grand Welfare Reform Act - which has successfully torn a huge rift between the UK's social classes by implementing detrimental and thoughtless welfare cuts that only perpetuate the nation's ever-increasing poverty divide (also divisive).
Then we could open up a whole different can of worms by taking on an internal examination of the Conservative party itself - which is so divided over issues such as gay marriage and Europe that your average voter doesn't have the foggiest idea as to which side of the line their MP rests his or her head. The Tories are divided within, and they're slowly but surely dividing the rest of their support base, too.
Meanwhile, Labour and the Lib Dems are no better concerning immigration, and UKIP has somehow managed to do what the BNP has only dreamed of accomplishing by bringing far right radicalism into Britain's political mainstream. These groups all indirectly 'incite division' without condoning violence - and are currently shaping a radical 'us versus them' rhetoric that's slowly marginalising the way foreigners and poor people are treated in our culture.
Consequently, not only do these unwelcoming messages help to establish a more factitious and bigoted society, but they also pit neighbour versus neighbour in a race to see who can radicalise their beliefs quicker. Two years ago, your average UK citizen would've been appalled at the suggestion that poor immigrants shouldn't have access to our NHS - now? Anyone who thinks otherwise is a naïve fool who puts 'foreigners' ahead of their own countrymen.
The EDL can blame Islam for Lee Rigby's death until the cows come home - but at the end of the day, virtually none of the world's Muslim population would ever support such an atrocity. Meanwhile, who's to say banning a radical group from using Facebook will prevent one or two zealots from committing the unthinkable? There will always be crazies out there who hijack some greater calling as a rationale for their half-baked terrorist views, and no amount of censorship will ever change that. That being said, Ms May's idea of silencing the divisive rhetoric and bigotry of our mainstream political parties is probably the best idea she's ever had. Let's look into that...Suggest a correction