50 years ago today, Scientology was banned in the UK - Here's why it was a bad move - 2018-07-25
Fifty years ago today on 25 July 1968, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to introduce nationwide restrictions on Scientology. Foreign Scientologists were banned from entering the country, and Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard was classified as an "undesirable alien". The British Health Minister, Kenneth Robinson, addressed the House of Commons to issue one of the strongest condemnations of Scientology ever made by a member of a government.
"The Government is satisfied," he said, "having reviewed all the available evidence, that Scientology is socially harmful. It alienates members of families from each other and attributes squalid and disgraceful motives to all who oppose it. Its authoritarian principles and practices are a potential menace to the personality and well-being of those so deluded as to become its followers; above all, its methods can be a serious danger to the health of those who submit to them." Robinson declared that Scientology was "so objectionable that it would be right to take all step … to curb its growth."
The ban lasted twelve years before it was repealed. Fifty years on, it's worth looking again at this episode to see how it came about, whether the British government did manage to curb Scientology's growth and what lessons can be drawn from the affair.