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Should we un-ban rather than ban?

Manchester Salon debates whether we've gone too far in banning trivial 'annoyances'

Published on May 11th 2010.


Should we un-ban rather than ban?

This is an interesting one. Debate group The Manchester Salon is going to talk about ‘lifestyle bans’ next week.

This concerns those seemingly trivial bans, that add up to Britain becoming increasingly Orwellian.

Such lifestyle bans are brought in by the authorities and can cover anything from a ban on flyposting and playing rap music to restrictions on taking photographs and drinking alcohol.

These might seem like sound measures to protect people's rights but as, author Dan Travis, will argue, such bans are increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic. Taking Brighton as an example, Travis, will warn that, "The peculiarities, contradictions and often absurdity of the knee-jerk banning culture needs to be examined.”

Also speaking will be Brendan O’Neill who will explore the trend for people to invite more external regulation or control rather than be responsible for their own community’s conduct.

This is a big issue in Britain now.

Instead of confronting people directly, we get whipped up into a media fear of being knifed if we complain, and thus creep to local and national government to police situations for us.

Maybe as we know our neighbours less, we trust each other less as well, and often seek the cowardly third party way out by appealing to our over-stretched emergency services.

Perhaps we should put a ban on bans for a year. Maybe un-ban a few things. In the end these things add up to a diminuation of liberty, and also an acknowledgement that we have become less tolerant.

The Manchester Salon meeting is on Monday 17 May, 7.30pm (£5 charge to cover costs) at The Shakespeare pub, Fountain Street, Manchester. For further details on the event and Manchester Salon’s activities, contact Simon Belt at events@manchestersalon.org.uk

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Smyth HarperMay 11th 2010.

I think we should ban these kinds of events.

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