This Week in the New Normal #62

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Ireland’s attack on Free speech

Last November the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill was presented to the Irish Oireachtas. Among other things, the bill was written…

to provide for an offence of condoning, denying or grossly trivialising genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace

Other offences under the act would include [emphasis added]:

possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics

“Denying or trivialising” and “likely to incite hatred” are the phrases which should give everyone pause there. Dangerously vague political language.

Further, if you do possess material “likely to incite hatred”, you will have to prove you didn’t intend it for that purpose, or be assumed guilty.

In any proceedings for an offence under this section, where it is proved that the accused person was in possession of material such as is referred to in subsection (1) and it is reasonable to assume that the material was not intended for the personal use of the person, the person shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have been in possession of the material in contravention of subsection (1).

Overthrowing the presumption of innocence which is the bedrock of any fair justice system.

The reason this bill is freshly in the news is that, this past week, Irish MPs introduced an amendment to include the protection of free speech guaranteed in the UN’s Convention of Human Rights. This amendment was voted down, there will be no protection of free speech in the bill.

2. Looting for a purpose?

Some of you may have been following the recent trending topics on social media: shoplifting. Either individually or in groups, stores across the US such as Walmart or Target are being robbed, and the footage shared on Twitter.

I’ve been wondering where exactly that was going – but now it may have become clear. This is a video of a Target store in San Francisco:

…all the goods put inside locked cabinets. And Target have said they will be increasing the number of stores doing this. Where does it go from there? Well, obviously, an app on your phone or a chip in your hand that is required to open them, of course. They won’t “force” you (see below), but the only alternative will be asking a member of staff to walk the store with you and open the cabinets one at a time…and who would ever do that?

3. Drink a beer and swear we’re faithful to the king

I know most of you planning on watching the coronation next weekend, probably under some waterproofed Union Jack bunting at your local street party, whilst eating cake shaped like a corgi.

These are all perfectly normal things that functioning adults would do, and not at all a forced and rather creepy exercise in trying to create a “national spirit”.

Anyway, while you’re watching with rapt attention, noshing on that corgi cake, do remember to swear an oath of allegiance to the king when instructed to do so.

Yes, at some point during the ceremony, viewers at home will be encouraged to repeat these words…

I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law – so help me God.”

Which, of course, we’ll all be doing. Naturally. Honest. (And kudos to any child of the 80s or 90s who picked up the rather obscure reference in the headline).

BONUS: Historical revisionism of the week

In what is bound to be news to many Canadians, your Prime Minister this week claimed he never forced people to get the covid “vaccines”. Speaking at a panel at the University of Ottawa, Trudeau claimed:

while not forcing anyone to get vaccinated, I chose to make sure that all the incentives and all of the protections were there to encourage Canadians to get vaccinated. And that’s exactly what they did.”



It’s not all bad…

The “good news” this week takes the form of a poem posted into our comments, which we loved:

You’re like a scorpion, my brother,
you live in cowardly darkness like a scorpion.
You’re like a sparrow, my brother, always in a sparrow’s flutter.
You’re like a clam, my brother, closed like a clam, content,
And you’re frightening, my brother, like the mouth of an extinct volcano.
Not one, not five– unfortunately, you number millions.

You’re like a sheep, my brother: when the cloaked drover raises his stick,
you quickly join the flock and run, almost proudly, to the slaughterhouse.
I mean you’re strangest creature on earth–
even stranger than the fish that couldn’t see the ocean for the water.
And the oppression in this world is thanks to you.
And if we’re hungry, tired, covered with blood, and still being crushed like grapes for our wine, the fault is yours–
I can hardly bring myself to say it,
but most of the fault, my dear brother, is yours.

Nazim Hikmet

And in other culturally or spiritually uplifting “news”, there’s this:

Or if you’re in the mood for a laugh, there’s this, which we saw for the first time this week. It’s not topical, from 1991, but it’s hilarious.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention Australian arm chips or “new research” saying eating insect chitin is good for your intestinal health.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


If you enjoy OffG's content, please help us make our monthly fund-raising goal and keep the site alive.

For other ways to donate, including direct-transfer bank details click HERE.