Welcome to 1984-er, 2018 in the UK, where police are monitoring tweets about the ongoing Alfie Evans situation and threatening to act on anyone who crosses a line about it.

According to the Merseyside Police, they’re watching Twitter like a hawk for disagreeable tweets about the Alfie Evans saga and the Alder Hey children’s hospital where he’s currently being — and I’m not kidding — left to die by doctors who have thought Alfie not worth trying to help.

As Kira Davis highlights in her excellent post about the situation, a hospital from Rome is ready to take Alfie and try to help as best as they can, but British authorities will not release the child into their helpful hands because that would endanger the NHS system by pointing out how horrible it is and that you could get better care elsewhere.

From the Merseyside Police Facebook page:

We’ve issued the following statement following reports of social media posts being made in relation to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation with Alfie Evans:

Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said: “Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.

“I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.”

As it stands, there are reports about threats being made to the hospital, as well as some attempting to raid it. Monitoring Twitter for this is completely understandable.

However, the phrase that should catch your attention is “malicious communications.”

What is the definition of malicious communications? If it just means saying mean things about the doctors, the hospital, and the entire NHS system that Brits are apparently so proud of, then the world has been sending malicious tweets all day, including myself. This is a nightmare situation where a baby has been deemed unworthy of help because doctors and courts have deemed him to be not worth the effort. Not only that, they are forbidding the baby from getting help from those who are willing to do so, as well as eat the cost.

That’s not a characteristic of a free western country.

And you may say that perhaps I’m overreacting and that police are just monitoring for violent speech. That’d be a fair assumption, but that’s not the rule the UK police tend to stick to.

I remind you of the story of Matthew Doyle who was arrested by UK police after he posted a tweet following the Brussels attack that simply read “I confronted a Muslim women [sic] yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said “Nothing to do with me” a mealy mouthed reply.” Police accused Doyle of inciting racial hatred, and I’m struggling to see how his asking a Muslim (which is a religion, not a race) to explain something a fellow Muslim did and being unsatisfied with the answer is inciting racial hatred. However, we have to remember that this the UK where police ignored a child rape and sex-trafficking operation because they don’t want to be seen as racist.

Then there was the case of Paul Chambers who made an obvious joke about blowing an airport sky high. Thankfully his case was overturned by a high court, but Chambers was wrapped up in legal troubles for two whole years over a joke he posted on Twitter.

Speaking of jokes, I’ll remind everyone that YouTuber Mark Meechan (aka “Count Dankula”) is currently facing a year in prison because a UK court found him guilty of hate speech after he taught his girlfriend’s dog to do a Nazi salute as a prank on her.

And it doesn’t stop at social media posts. Say the wrong thing on the train and you’ll find yourself locked up.

The UK isn’t a free western country, it’s a police state that wears a smiley face.