Britain is often considered an exemplar liberal state, prizing its tradition of tolerance, fairness and willingness to entertain dissent.
The British in their own self conception are the great pioneers of the rule of law and of human rights.
Nor has this view of Britain always been wrong. The British were genuinely horrified by the McCarthyite campaigns in the US in the 1950s, and British public opinion supported the civil rights movement in the US in the 1960s. The Britain I first saw in the 1960s was a genuinely tolerant, law abiding and liberal place.
The events of the last couple of weeks should however dispose of any notion that Britain really is the paradigm liberal state that it claims to be.
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