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The PROP Expert View: The Prevent policy in the UK’s love-hate with the far-right

The claim to target the far-right was a red herring to bring Muslims on board with the Prevent policy in the UK. Now, the government is saying that to target the far-right would be to police “mainstream” views shared by many in government. What is going on? We discussed this with Surviving Society as part of their Legacies of the War on Terror podcast series. Our podcast included why the long-delayed William Shawcross Review of Prevent will recommend more focus on the Muslim community, despite recommendations from counter terrorism experts to keep focus on the “far-right” and “incels”. We also talked about some of the the far-right cases that we have seen at Prevent Watch among children, and how they could have been dealt with differently, avoiding trauma to children and families. The positioning of the far-right as part of “defending British values” is quite clearly supported by people like […]

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PROP Expert View: How Prevent is excusing far-right agendas in government

In the second snippet from a talk given as part of the Scarman Lecture at the University of Leicester, Prof. John Holmwood, outlines why the designation of ‘British values’ as ‘British’ is problematic, and asks whether they are in fact shared by certain figures influential in counter-extremism policy. These include Robin Simcox, designated head of the  Commission for Countering Extremism and controversial Home Secretary Suella Braverman, both of whom display an agenda is seemingly at odds with the substance of ‘British values’ which include ‘tolerance for different faiths and beliefs’. Source: Scarman Lecture 2022: How Prevent disguises far-right influence in government – The People Review of Prevent

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The PROP Expert View: Changes to Prevent prove the policy is a political tool

There are many indications in the government’s restructuring of Prevent, that the policy is a political tool. The first is the refocusing of the Home Office on Prevent in its security aspects. The second is the new interim head of the CCE, Robin Simcox, who was appointed in March 2021. Simcox has strong links with neo-conservative and far-right think tanks. His first announcement was the need to redefine the policy toward right-wing extremism to distinguish far-right groups who operated within the law which, he claimed, were part of normal democratic politics. Thirdly, a recent report from Policy Exchange recommends that the role of the CCE should be “research into extremism, countering criticisms, and evaluating and providing certification for NGOs”. Expectedly, their only targeted organisations are Muslim NGOs. Source: Underplaying the far-right proves Prevent is political – The People’s Review of Prevent

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Gov.UK: Robin Simcox appointed as Commissioner for Countering Extremism

The Home Office has confirmed the appointment of Robin Simcox as the substantive Commissioner for Countering Extremism (CCE). His tenure will last for a three-year period. Simcox’s appointment has been agreed by the Home Secretary Priti Patel. Previously, Simcox has dismissed the use of the term “Islamophobia”. He also worked for a US far-right think-tank The Counter Extremism Group. Simcox said Extinction Rebellion, Unite Against Fascism and the far left “need monitoring”. Source: Robin Simcox appointed as Commissioner for Countering Extremism – GOV.UK