The home secretary Suella Braverman seems to have been leading the attacks on free speech, routinely referring to the demonstrations for peace in Gaza as “hate marches.”

Then, she attacks the police for the way in which they handle these marches.

The language is inflammatory and totally inappropriate, especially from someone who holds one of the highest offices of state in this country.

Most though know that the home secretary indulges in this dog whistle style politics as part of a broader aim to become the next leader of the Conservative Party.

The attack on protest, though, has been underway for some years with this authoritarian government.

Another form of restriction on dissent has been the increase in what is known as cancel culture.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Cllr Paul Donovan says that the attack on protest has been building for yearsCllr Paul Donovan says that the attack on protest has been building for years

This too has been evident regarding events in the Middle East, with a talk about a visit to Palestine by National Education Union members due to take place in an East London library cancelled a week before it was due to happen. The organisers found a new site for the talk.

One of the most blatant examples of censorship has been the cancelling of the film Oh Jeremy Corbyn: the Big Lie.

The film is about the Corbyn years and how he was brought down. There are a series of interviews with key players, narration comes from Alexei Sayle.

The film was released earlier in the year in Liverpool but it was later that the cancellations began, the biggest being Glastonbury.

Other cancellations have followed across the country, including Carlisle, North Ayrshire and Walthamstow in London.

The film is one view. What the rights or wrongs of the film are is not for discussion here but the act of outright censorship at this time in the 21st century is breath-taking.

What the deniers of free speech never seem to understand is that banning dissent does not make it go away, rather it just gets displaced elsewhere. In the case of media like films, it just makes them more popular.

It is only when the causes of dissent are addressed that problems can be resolved. A functioning democracy is one at ease with itself. Such a democracy will have high tolerance levels, little will be banned, and if it is. a high bar should be set, for such a draconian action.

Unfortunately, in Britain today there is no democracy at ease with itself. Instead, there is an unpopular government, elected by a minority of the population, which imposes suffering on many people - at home and abroad.

A growing number of people dissent from their mantra, so the response is to shut down the avenues of free expression. It won't work, the truth will out.

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (