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The Death of Free Speech in England

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 11 October 2012

Some welfare scrounging criminal moron wore a T-shirt “one less pig – perfect justice” just after the recent murder of two policewomen. The “B” side of his T-shirt noted “Kill a cop for” He is a vile scumbag. He is beneath contempt. I do not agree with his opinions for a second. But he is now in jail for 8 months (4 months relating to his T-shirt design, the rest to an earlier offence). This is all wrong. It is Orwellian and frightening.

It comes just after some other total scumbag posted his offensive thoughts about something or other on Facebook and was sent down for three months. Both were convicted under a Section 4A Public Order Offence (displaying writing or other visible representation with intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress).
As it happens the T-shirt moron was not referring to the recent police deaths. He has a long running feud with the Old Bill after the death in custody of his son three years ago. But that is irrelevant.

We now live in a Society where if you “distress” either the mores of the State or attack one of its organs directly you can go to prison. How do you define distress? I find Islamofascists holding placards with a swastika inside the Star of David something that causes me distress. But the State opts to do nothing. There is more chance of the State prosecuting me for using the term Islamofascist following a complaint that it caused distress to the wife of Mr Hamza as she contemplates life alone in her £1 million Council Mansion while her husband is er…detained elsewhere.

The point is that the selection of who is “distressed” is utterly arbitrary. And the State is using it selectively. Instinctively, as a libertarian, I do not trust the State whichever second rate career politicians are nominally in charge. Please do not prosecute me Call Me Dave for causing distress by calling you second rate… I am aware that the law as it stands does allow you to do just that.

Free speech, a concept that once upon a time was cherished means that we can all say or write whatever we want. If I choose to write offensive things about Madeleine McCann or Dead Policeman, society will show its disapproval as most folks exercise their right to free speech in condemning me. That is as it should be. But when the State has the power to decide what can be said and who is worthy of protection from hostile comment (those who work for the State + celebs) you tread on very dangerous ground indeed.

Banging up this jerk with a T-shirt will cost the taxpayer tens of thousands in prison and legal fees. The case has wasted weeks of Police time. And it is wrong.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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