Where are the right-wing defenders of liberties now?


by Sunny Hundal    
1:41 pm - May 3rd 2011

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Over the weekend I highlighted the disgraceful arrest of Chris Knight – who neither planned to commit any crime nor was there any evidence he would.

The same went for the squats in Brighton. But that wasn’t the end of it: during the Royal Wedding the Met police carried out many more similar operations.

According to the Guardian, nearly two dozen people were arrested on Thursday before most protests had even taken place.

1. There the even more disgraceful arrest of Charlie Veitch. Veitch not only runs an activist group called ‘Love Police’, but was in contact with the Met before the arrest, explaining his protest would be entirely peaceful and focus on voicing support for free speech.

For that, he was arrested for ‘conspiracy to cause a public nuisance’. Here’s the video of his arrest:

Veitch later said in a statement:

I spent 16 hours in Parkside police station [in Cambridge] in a box-like cell. Then at 10am the next day, the Met police came to Cambridge and took me to Edmonton police station.

They never made anyone aware of where I was. To my family, it was like I had been disappeared for the entire duration of the royal wedding.

For a crime he did not commit or was charged for.

2. There was also this teenager who was arrested, pre-crime, of having a pen that could be apparently used as an offensive weapon. (via Guy Aitchison).

3. The police also detained for six hours a man called Adam Moniz, after he stepped off his train from Southampton, for carrying a concealed banner reading “Democracy not Monarchy”. He had merely planned to attend the ‘Not the Royal Wedding party’ in Holborn.

4. There was also this Met undercover ‘snatch and grab’ of people peacefully singing in the park.
Watch

Update with more incidents

5. A group of ten were also stopped and detained in Charing Cross for no other reason that they might later be involved in protests. The policeman says: “If you are not going to do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about,” and then asks them for their personal details. The ten refuse.

6. The police also arrested and detained for hours four ‘zombie protesters’ which may have been related to the Chris Knight event. Hannah Chutzpah has written about her experience here.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The response of the right has been to either pretend none of this happened, or brand them as ‘anarchists’ and imply it was ok to arrest them for pre-crime.

They were arrested and detained not for any crime, but because they wanted to peacefully express sentiments that didn’t chime with the royal wedding hysteria.

All those on the right who used to shriek about Labour’s authoritarian ways are now silent. I wonder why.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Please don’t pretend that this wouldn’t have happened under Labour!

Needless to say that of course it is a disgrace.

2. mediocrity511

Sad but true. Unfortunately most right wingers are only interested in civil liberties for people like them.

Vile. Vile, vile, vile. These people were “public nuisances” in the sense that they were inconvenient dissidents who might look out of place among the blissful conformism of the happy day. I’m reminded of the folk who disappeared before the Beijing Olympics.

Sunny,

If the facts are as you report (please note, this is a standard proviso for reading anything in papers or on blogs), then all of these things other than the squats (which would be tresspass would it not?) are clear infringements of liberty.

So rather than asking where people like me are (the answer is obvious: behind you if any of these cases have legs), try and direct the anger at the police, or at those who have allowed the police to act in this way (presumably in the main the previous governments). If this is the police taking liberties, then it is not an issue of right versus left, but an issue of freedom versus tyranny (right versus wrong if you like).

” I’m reminded of the folk who disappeared before the Beijing Olympics.”

Did they reappear?

You missed out this! http://4therecord.org/2011/04/30/democracy-in-the-uk/

The account of the guy who filmed the snatch and grab, as he was later detained and assaulted.
The police then came up with the excuse that they suspected his credit card wasn’t his, and was stolen.
Eventually he was given a slip basically saying “We arrested this dude because he was at the TUC demo… and what?”

I’m afraid I’ve no idea. The point is that the motive and the tactic was the same.

Sad but true. Unfortunately most right wingers are only interested in civil liberties for people like them.

Can I suggest that we stop playing the games that those who would deprive us of liberties (government, police, big corporations and other such organisations) want us to play of fighting each other over issues where we pretty much agree, such as the right to free speech and protest? I doubt many of the right-wing commentators/’trolls’ on here actually support this sort of thing, so that makes us allies against it surely?

If scoring political points is all that counts to you, can you consider yourself a champion of free speech?

9. mediocrity511

Ok, I can qualify it a bit more then. Right wing people I know, aswell as internet comments in places such as the Spectator and Telegraph, have been gloating over these arrests and making cheap jibes about “soap dodgers deserving it” and similar. Maybe not all right wing people, but certainly a fair number even, rather bizarrely, a self proclaimed libertarian that I know.

Out of interest, has the coalition brought in any draconian new laws in the past twelve months, or are the police using existing laws?

11. Gavin Williams

We live in a country where the marriage of a couple of overprivileged people is deemed newsworthy.
It also seems we live in a country where basic civil liberties do not exist. Arresting a child for the heinous crime of carrying a pen? Sorry pre-crime obviously, the powers that be must have spent time monitoring this kid’s intentions!
I am furious at the disdain shown towards us as a people by a succession of governments who seem intent on controlling every aspect of our lives.
I was not interested in the wedding at the weekend. I am not interested in the royal family.
There is no need to read my thoughts. I am not a violent man, but that doesn’t matter does it? I disagree with you, so go on, arrest me.

Marvellous how the police turned up bang on cue to transform lyrics that could be perceived as flippant or exaggerated, into undeniably accurate and justified. God bless the queen and her police officers, who all take this oath to:

‘well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people’

Here’s my – increasingly understated sounding – take on the royal wedding:

http://www.dreaminggenius.com/2011/05/royal-marrying-of-celebrity-culture-and.html

For info, this is from a report of Monday on the BBC website:

After Mr Veitch’s arrest he was taken to a police station in London.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “Officers arrested a 30-year-old man at an address in Cambridge on 28 April on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and to prevent a breach of the peace.

“He has been bailed to return to a north London police station on a date in mid-June for these offences.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-13260455

Of course, since any kind of public disagreement or protest can be construed by the Police as a public nuisance and likely to cause a breach of the peace, it is profoundly challenging to know what possible defence can ever be made against such a charge.

But try reading Para III of the 1848 Treason Fellony Act:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1848/12/pdfs/ukpga_18480012_en.pdf

I reckon Mr Veitch is fortunate not to be charged under its sweeping provisions.

The logical implication is that if monarchy can only be preserved in Britain by application of such draconian powers, it really is in a bad state.

I read about the disgraceful arrest of Charlie Veitch on Old Holborn yesterday not heard about them all though so thanks.

I fail to see how this is a particularly left/right issue. As a previous commenter said this would almost definitely have also happened under Labour whose record on civil liberties was appalling.

Left ,right or centre the British government doesn’t give a damn about ancient English liberties.

15. Watchman

Ok, I can qualify it a bit more then. Right wing people I know, aswell as internet comments in places such as the Spectator and Telegraph, have been gloating over these arrests and making cheap jibes about “soap dodgers deserving it” and similar. Maybe not all right wing people, but certainly a fair number even, rather bizarrely, a self proclaimed libertarian that I know.

Can we assume therefore these are the standard idiots that wander round not thinking but just repeating stupid ideas (the soap dodgers reference is a distinct clue), and which bedevil every political position apart from extreme apathy (since they can’t be bothered to be a pain)? Knee-jerk tribalism is a problem from right-wingers as much as left-wingers (more so to me, as people then try to paint me in the same colours).

As to the ‘libertarian’, I presume he or she has not actually figured out that the point of libertarianism is that you have to accept other people have the right to be obnoxious idiots (insert stronger words there if you wish) – and therefore has not seen the true path to enlightenment. Or he or she is simply a phony (Sally will no doubt be along to claim all Libertarians are phonies in a minute…).

@14: “ancient liberties” ??

“Some thirty-five thousand people were condemned to death in England and Wales between 1770 and 1830, and seven thousand were ultimately executed, the majority convicted of crimes such as burglary, horse theft, or forgery. Mostly poor trades people, these terrified men and women would suffer excruciating death before large and excited crowds.”

From the publisher’s intro for: VAC Gatrell: The Hanging Tree – Execution and the English People 1770-1868 (Oxford UP, 1996)

At the time of the first census in 1801, Britain’s population was 10.5 million.

ObiterJ’s article about this may be of interest. It concludes with:

Whilst the precise basis of the individual arrests is not entirely clear it seems that they were based on one of other of these common law concepts: breach of the peace or public nuisance and maybe with an element of conspiracy thrown in. The concepts lack precision but, in practice, seem to enable the Police to arrest almost anyone who is doing something which either they dislike or which they consider others will dislike. For all its antiquity, this is not satisfactory law in modern times. Given that the actual cases may come before the courts, this post expresses no opinion on the actual conduct of those concerned.

@17 ukliberty

I seem to recall that there were similar discussions a few years ago when the Met went off on one during the state visit of the President of the People’s Republic of China when they confiscated banners and tried to stop people demonstrating against the visit and China’s policies in Tibet.

Nothing much changes…..

19. johnPReid

The arrest for those in squats in brighton the Police maybe able to justify it under section28 searches for stolen good, and Charlie veithc arrest ,they may get away after his anti jewish remarks abouth them not erven haivng foreskins on youtube, but the I reckon Police new that they haven’t a leg to stand on and were prepared to end up giving everyone else payouts rathers than have then on the news during the wedding

pretty disgraceful behaviour by the police chief who came up with this,

Are there any legal actions being planned to oppose these police tactics, or are we into the realm of politics here?

In other news, John Catt is suing the police:

An 86-year-old man has been granted permission to launch a lawsuit against police chiefs who have classified him as a “domestic extremist” and kept a detailed record of his political activities on a clandestine database.

John Catt, who has no criminal record, is bringing the high court action against a secretive police unit which systematically logged his presence at more than 55 peace and human rights protests over a four-year period. …

@22 Timely! The Guardian coverage is pretty damning of Harwood.

This is typical partisan nonsense from Sunny – I agree with Watchman @4, who points out that this is more to do with freedom vs. tyranny.

Just as the more ‘liberal’ wing of the left railed against Labour for acting authoritarian, there are plenty of right-wing liberals willing to level the same charge against the government, the insitutions that permit such injustice – the state itself.

It is these we should be fighting, not trying to score cheap political points.

25. Dan Factor

When it comes to liberties both those on the Left and Right are preety selective of who they think liberties should and should not be afforded to and what liberties should be curbed.
Free speech is a case in point. Those on the Right seek to surpress the free speech of those making fun of Christianity or try to censor anything with a whiff of sex about it (the ISP porn block and Safermedia for example) whilst many on the Left see talk of free speech as mearly a justification for racism against minorities.
Both the Right and the Left seek to remove liberties for people they don’t like. With the Right it’s Muslims, homosexuals and the working classes in general. With the Left it is 4×4 drivers, people who fly using cheap airtravel etc.

26. Watchman

Dan Factor,

Congratulations – that’s some wonderful stereotyping there.

But those who defend freedom of speech accept people may say things they don’t like (and although I am right-wing I encourage criticism of religion and think we need more sexual liberation and less censorship, so I clearly don’t fit your stereotypes), on both sides of the political divide. I think you are confusing those of us who argue for freedom of speech with the idiots who would limit it.

Liberties, like taxes and morality are only for the little people according to tories.

It is only when a tory front bencher gets held in a police station for 8 hours do they concern themselves with issues of justice and rights.

Don’t expect David Davis to do another of his ‘stunts’ over these issues now the tories are in power. It is why I laugh in the face of libertarians, particularly so called tory libertarians.

Maybe not all right wing people, but certainly a fair number even, rather bizarrely, a self proclaimed libertarian that I know.

Sunny, you are told time and again that libertarians are not right wingers but you wilfully fail to grasp this.

The official Libertarian Party response, highlighting exactly the points you make, was posted a couple of days ago.

http://lpuk.org/2011/05/first-they-came-for/

29. BlueRock

I feel sick.

What can we do about this? Obviously write to our MPs, which I will do immediately after writing this comment. What else?

It’s a good job The Sex Pistols weren’t around this time round.

With this latest, despite the unlawful killing verdict on the death of Ian Tomlinson and that attempt to fit up Colin Stagg with a murder charge, the Met hasn’t learned the lessons it needs to:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23605111-colin-stagg-im-still-coming-to-terms-with-being-proved-innocent.do

sally,

Liberties, like taxes and morality are only for the little people according to tories.

It is only when a tory front bencher gets held in a police station for 8 hours do they concern themselves with issues of justice and rights.

Don’t expect David Davis to do another of his ‘stunts’ over these issues now the tories are in power. It is why I laugh in the face of libertarians, particularly so called tory libertarians.

David Davis is by no means perfect (who is?). But on 25 January 2011 an article by Davis was published in the Times that strongly criticised control orders and “control orders lite”, with the byline, “Unless we sweep away this authoritarian policy, the radicalisation of Muslims will continue”. Do you think “Tory front benchers” are likely targets of control orders or likely to become “radicalised Muslims”?

Tremendous: I see a ‘Richard Murphy’ twitted, “do we live in a police state now? It looks like it.” No it doesn’t – let’s not demean the experiences of people who have lived or do live in police states.

Look at Charlie Veitch’s arrest – no, on the face of it, ISTM he shouldn’t have been arrested (hopefully the truth will out), but that isn’t the police breaking the door down and dragging people away to the gulag, that’s an apologetic and polite officer (and I as I said elsewhere Mr Veitch handling a stressful experience with dignity).

Hyperbole doesn’t help, in my view – it just makes it easier to dismiss the argument, which is serious enough. Let’s get some perspective and leave cartoon rhetoric out of the debate.

34. Bills and Orders

“”, “Unless we sweep away this authoritarian policy, the radicalisation of Muslims will continue””

That will continue as long as they are Muslims and follow an unreformed zealot religion.

Which came first?
Islamic terrorism by Muslims, or control orders for Muslim Islamic terrorists?

EXACTLY!

When will you Left idiots realise that they need no excuse really (and those excuses are everything from a Pope’s speech, a cartoon, a book, a film etc etc etc) as their religion itself and the 1000 year old black and white words that run through it are all the reason they need.

Wake up! It’s better than blowing up, right?

35. Mr S. Pill

@34

Bill, you clown, that quote you quoted was originally said by David Davies, a Conservative MP and hardly a left-winger by any stretch of your fevered imagination.

36. Bills and Orders

Charlie Veitch is a ranting communist, rich boy hypocrite, nutty anarchist and Islamist apologist who spends his entire life spitting on every single aspect of British culture and history and The West as a whole.

He should fuck off with his quisling pal Galloway to Iran, or Russia.
Live in his personal paradise there.

But like all ranting haters of the eeeeeeevil West, he won’t. Sadly…he won’t.

37. Bills and Orders

And shouldn’t his girlfriend Silkie Carlo (name says it all) be studying as she’s a supposed student?
Too much free time on her hands it seems.
Back to those books young miss!

“Where are the right-wing defenders of liberties now?”

its funny how quickly you forget that only a few weeks ago various self styled anarchist groups & ukuncut & blackblocees were rampaging thru central london spreading violence & vandolism during the trade unions march against the cuts.

As Chris Knight and the various other arrestee anarcho- nutters mostly appear to consider themselves anarchists it doesn’t seem unreasonable for pc plod to practice the precautionary principle to prevent potential problems.

unless of course your looking for some anarcho ultra violence to spoil the wedding spectacle for most of britain and justify your republican thesis.

@38

“As Chris Knight and the various other arrestee anarcho- nutters mostly appear to consider themselves anarchists it doesn’t seem unreasonable for pc plod to practice the precautionary principle to prevent potential problems”

Spoken like a true Torygraph commenter. Lay off the sauce, friend.

its funny how quickly you forget that only a few weeks ago various self styled anarchist groups & ukuncut & blackblocees were rampaging thru central london spreading violence & vandolism during the trade unions march against the cuts.

As Chris Knight and the various other arrestee anarcho- nutters mostly appear to consider themselves anarchists it doesn’t seem unreasonable for pc plod to practice the precautionary principle to prevent potential problems.

unless of course your looking for some anarcho ultra violence to spoil the wedding spectacle for most of britain and justify your republican thesis.

ISTM odd that dissent and protest is so naturally linked with “violence”, and Chris Knight and Charlie Veitch etc linked, absent evidence, with the vandalism on 26 March. And I’m not sure anyone around here thinks that the violent should not be held accountable (although some appear to think that vandals should not be held accountable when the vandalised property belongs to someone they don’t like).

Let’s cut to the heart of it: did Chris Knight, Charlie Veitch and others do something or intend to do something that merited time in prison? Time will tell.

41. Flowerpower

@ 9

Right wing people I know, aswell as internet comments in places such as the Spectator

Could you please post a link to stand this up? I’ve done Google searches of all the names above for the Spectator Coffee House site, but can’t find anything…..

It would be wise IMO for Buckingham Palace to distance itself from these highly objectionable actions of the Metropolitan Police.

At a time when we are being repeatedly told that public spending has to be cut – even to the extent of staff redundancies in the NHS and longer waiting lists for treatment – those with republican sentiments opposed to the extravaganza of the royal nuptials are entitled to express their say if the strident claims to Britain’s “free society” are to be seen as having any substance.

Some of the Lefties on here are stinking hypocrites.

Imagine if Nelson Mandela was in London being presented with a major award for a lifetime’s service to humanity – joint meeting of the Houses of Parliament, the Queen, the full works – and was then going to do a walkabout, behind barriers, to meet the huge crowd of well-wishers.

The EDL plan to turn up, get into the front of the crowd, waving anti-Mandela banners and chanting abuse at him.

Should the police (a) take no action (b) wait until this outrage takes place then act after the fact or (c) pre-empt the protest by detaining the arse holes?

95% of lefties would choose (c) and rightly so. Just because a few extremists want to express their minority view at moment of maximum sensitivity, doesn’t mean they should be allowed to. Would all these free speech purists be happy to see a Royal funeral disrupted? What about the funeral of a child?

This is bullshit – people have loads of opportunities to express themselves publicly. Republic were allowed to hold their pathetic tea party in Red Lion Square while the wedding was happening. MAM were allowed to protest outside the gates of Buckingham Palace a few years ago. The only bar was on holding protests in the secure zone during the festivities while a million people were on the streets celebrating. The irony is that the very police you shit on are the ones who have to protect you from EDL thugs when you do protest (as happened in Trafalgar Square on Friday).

In short, grow up and tone down the sanctimonious claptrap.

Colin,

Imagine if Nelson Mandela was in London being presented with a major award for a lifetime’s service to humanity – joint meeting of the Houses of Parliament, the Queen, the full works – and was then going to do a walkabout, behind barriers, to meet the huge crowd of well-wishers.

The EDL plan to turn up, get into the front of the crowd, waving anti-Mandela banners and chanting abuse at him.

Should the police (a) take no action (b) wait until this outrage takes place then act after the fact or (c) pre-empt the protest by detaining the arse holes?

Why only three options including “pre-emptive detention”? We could for example have a time-limited and location-specific “banning order” (e.g. a ban from the wedding procession route for the few hours of the procession), issued by a magistrate or judge after the police show reasonable grounds, breach of the order resulting in detention for that period of time. Why should such dissent as you describe lead to detention?

@43 Colin

I suspect many (hopefully most..?) people whether right, centre of left in mainstream political terms would think that people have a right to protest, even if you find their views objectionable.

If people want to protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet, or their appaling human rights record during a state visit of the Chinese head of State, they should be allowed to do so. Similarly, people should be allowed to protest against things even if we think they are nutters or that their cause is offensive.

One has to draw a distinction between disrupting, and peacefully protesting, no?

Louis theroux did an interesting programme about a bunch of religious nut-jobs in the USA (OK, I know it isn’t here..but the same principle applies) who protest at the funerals of US service personnel; they are obviously deeply unpleasant, and their actions are repugnant….. but most people in the US would probably support their right to protest, even if they profoundly disagree with the motive.

The police can detain someone if they have reasonable suspicion that he or she intends to commit an offence.

That covers Friday. Any obnoxious anti-Wills&Kate demo would have caused public disorder because furious Monarchists would have attacked it.

A bit like holding a ‘Fuck Allah’ demo outside a mosque after Friday prayers.

@43: “In short, grow up and tone down the sanctimonious claptrap.”

That’s unmitigated rubbish.

We are talking about folk with republican sentiments who wished to protest at the extravaganza of the royal nuptials at a time when public spending is being cut so NHS jobs are being lost and waiting lists for the treatment of patients are being increased.

As Walter Bagehot put it in: The English Constitution:

“Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions. A Republic is a government in which that attention is divided between many, who are all doing uninteresting actions. Accordingly, so long as the human heart is strong and the human reason weak, Royalty will be strong because it appeals to diffused feeling, and Republics weak because they appeal to the understanding.”

“No feeling could seem more childish than the enthusiasm of the English at the marriage of the Prince of Wales. They treated as a great political event what, looked at as a matter of pure business, was very small indeed. But no feeling could be more like common human nature as it is, and as it is likely to be. The women — one half the human race at least- care fifty times more for a marriage than a ministry.”

http://dbwf.net/images/W_Bagehot_on_the_British_Constitution(1877).pdf

Btw Walter Bagehot became one of the most illustrious early editors of that subversive periodical: The Economist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Bagehot

48. Chaise Guevara

@ 46 Colin

“The police can detain someone if they have reasonable suspicion that he or she intends to commit an offence.

That covers Friday. Any obnoxious anti-Wills&Kate demo would have caused public disorder because furious Monarchists would have attacked it.”

Hang on… monarchists would have created the disorder, so their prospective victims deserve to be detained? Nice logic.

It’s amazing how much people will tie themselves in knots to avoid saying what they really think, i.e. “I don’t like that particular cause so I think its supporters should be arrested”.

49. BlueRock

Colin (and many of his authoritarian fuckwit chums) remind me of Monty Python’s grateful, ranting prisoner. “Crucifixion? Best thing the Romans ever did for us! This country would be in a right bloody state without it! Nail some sense in to ‘em! Nail ‘em up!”

And note how he offers the threat of violence as justification for people not being allowed to express opposing opinion:

> Any obnoxious anti-Wills&Kate demo would have caused public disorder because furious Monarchists would have attacked it.

Difficult to separate him from the extremist Muslims that the rightwingers are so terrified of and obsessed with.

50. Mr S. Pill

@46

“That covers Friday. Any obnoxious anti-Wills&Kate demo would have caused public disorder because furious Monarchists would have attacked it.”

I’ve read these sentences 6 times and they still make no sense whatsoever.

Colin,

The police can detain someone if they have reasonable suspicion that he or she intends to commit an offence.

A criminal offence, not merely offence.

That covers Friday. Any obnoxious anti-Wills&Kate demo would have caused public disorder because furious Monarchists would have attacked it.

In such a case, the fault would lie with the “Monarchists” who could not exercise sufficient self-control so as to not become violent.

@48: “It’s amazing how much people will tie themselves in knots to avoid saying what they really think, i.e. I don’t like that particular cause so I think its supporters should be arrested’.”

Let’s always remember that the Metropolitan Police were supposedly acting on “reasonable suspicion” that Colin Stagg brutally murdered Rachel Nickell in July 1992 on Wimbledon Common.

They were so “reasonably suspicious” that they tried to fit him up for the murder and he was duly indicted and sent for trial at the Old Bailey. Fortunately, the trial judge, Mr Justice Ognall, caught on and threw the case out of court, saying he judged that the police had shown “excessive zeal” and had tried to incriminate a suspect by “deceptive conduct of the grossest kind”. The entrapment evidence was excluded and the prosecution withdrew its case. Mr Stagg was acquitted in September 1994. In 2008:

A Broadmoor patient has pleaded guilty to killing former model Rachel Nickell, who was stabbed 49 times in front of her young son 16 years ago.

The 23-year-old was attacked as she walked with her two-year-old son on Wimbledon Common, in south-west London, on 15 July 1992.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7783796.stm

So much for “reasonable suspicion”.

“Hang on… monarchists would have created the disorder, so their prospective victims deserve to be detained? Nice logic.”

“And note how he offers the threat of violence as justification for people not being allowed to express opposing opinion:”

“In such a case, the fault would lie with the “Monarchists” who could not exercise sufficient self-control so as to not become violent.”

I won’t take your pious posturing seriously unless you also affirm the right of the EDL to hold an offensive demo outside the East London Mosque after Friday prayers.

54. Mr S. Pill

@53

Because chanting “Allah is a paedo” (and worse) is exactly the same as saying “Let’s have a democratically elected head of state” isn’t it… right.

@53 Colin

I find the mindset of people like you interesting; the presumption that “lefties” would OF COURSE have such double standards that they would seek to ban an EDL demo outside a mosque, but support the rights of republicans to demonstrate against the monarchy.

Your allegation is as unfounded as it is offensive; much the same is tried by those who insist there is a bias against the Catholic church on this site, or that it is soft on Islam/Muslims. The fact that you “think” it is true, doesn’t mean it intersects with reality at any point.

@53:

In view of the grossly inflammatory comments on monarchy by Walter Bagehot quoted @47, you will presumably be arranging for the burning of copies of his book on: The English Constitution.

I mean what could possibly be more offensive than to write: “No feeling could seem more childish than the enthusiasm of the English at the marriage of the Prince of Wales.” ?

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 53 Colin

“I won’t take your pious posturing seriously unless you also affirm the right of the EDL to hold an offensive demo outside the East London Mosque after Friday prayers.”

Which I do, obviously. I love how you think it’s “pious” to support freedom of speech, BTW. Way to fail, kiddo.

58. Bills and Orders

“””but most people in the US would probably support their right to protest,”””

Hardly.
But just as in the UK, the weak-willed Courts and Judges in the U.S. allow many a thing to continue that the majority of the population would rather have banned completely.

@58

If you knew anything about the US, and their attachment to freedom of speech in JUST such circumstances, you’d see that you are talking out of a hole in the top of your head.

Is that why you wear a tin-foil hat?

60. Bills and Orders

*Sniff sniff* What’s that stench?

Oh, it’s Galen.
The Commie Bin Ladin jockstrap.
Bitter now you’re out of a job cupping his precious Muslim balls?

61. Watchman

Bills and orders,

Can we take it you’ve lost the debate then? Or was that actually a mature and well-reasoned comeback?

And for the record, although any death is regretable, Mr bin Laden’s is a hell of a lot less regretable than just about any other.

62. Bills and Orders

Argument?

There is none.

If you think that even in Bible swinging America the majority of Americans would not welcome that Westbro Baptist scum (who actually share so much ground with zealot Islam bangers it’s hysterical) being banned from abusing dead American soldiers as they are laid to rest…You’re a fool.

Sadly fools make the laws more often than not, and when they don’t sadly most laws are bent to please them.
Idiot rule. Idiot power. it’s what the 21st century is all about.

63. Watchman

Bills (if I may),

I think you fail to understand the American attachment to the Bill of Rights and the first amendment, which is part of the almost religious experience of being an American citizen (the veneration for the post of President – even one as (unintentionally) devisive as Mr Obama – is another part). So long as they have the right to protest against the Westboro idiots in turn, the American people generally are happy that the idiots will exist.

Note that in US popular culture those that are seen as wanting to ban free speech are generally those of a similiar mindset to the Westboro idiots (Fox may suggest that there are liberals who want to moderate free speech, which there probably are – but these are extremists as well). As with many stereotypes, there is some truth there – it was the more extreme religious right types (as far beyond Bush and Cheney as they are far from Michael Moore) who pushed for this sort of restriction (along with the likes of McCarthy…).

Colin,

“In such a case, the fault would lie with the “Monarchists” who could not exercise sufficient self-control so as to not become violent.”

I won’t take your pious posturing seriously unless you also affirm the right of the EDL to hold an offensive demo outside the East London Mosque after Friday prayers.

Why would I affirm such a ‘right’? After all, I haven’t “affirmed the right” of anti-monarchists to be at the wedding procession. I think this needs careful consideration of the competing interests: the freedom of the Muslims to peaceably exercise their religious freedom weighed against the freedom of the EDL to exercise their freedom of speech and assembly.

All I said was – and for some reason you claim to find this “pious” – is that if Group A finds Group B offensive and therefore violently retaliates, the fault for violence lies with Group A. You, on the other hand, seem to think that the fault for violence lies with Group B…

Bills and Orders,

But just as in the UK, the weak-willed Courts and Judges in the U.S. allow many a thing to continue that the majority of the population would rather have banned completely.

They are “weak-willed” in that they make unpopular decisions to uphold the First Amendment? Could you elaborate on this notion, please, because it doesn’t make sense ‘as is’?

@ 62

“Argument?

There is none. ”

The fact that you don’t think there is an argument speaks more eloquently than your infantile name calling.

As others have pointed out above, you obviously know next to nothing about American political culture and their attachment to First Ammendment rights. Similarly you are peculiarly unable to distinguish between your belief that most American would happily ban people like the Westboro Baptists from demonstrating at the funerals of US service personnel, and the much more likely scenario that most Americans, whilst deploring their actions, would actually uphold their right to do so.

You see no argument because you are as ill-informed as you are inarticulate.

66. Chaise Guevara

@ 65 Galen

It always cracks me up when someone says there is no argument to be had, and then goes on to argue some more. For some reason, these people have a better-than-average tendency to talk out of their backsides. The only thing funnier is when people think they can prove something by writing “FACT!!!” at the end…

@66 Chaise

Agreed; it’s also symptomatic that they can’t see that their attitudes lie on the same continuum as those they purport to hate so much; so some people should not be “allowed” to demonstrate in circumstances they have decided (such as against monarchy at a Royal event, or Muslims almost anywhere it seems, or indeed the nutters of the Westboro Baptist Church), but it is intolerable that such a right be denied to people demonstrating for something they approved of.

I’m always more than a bit suspicious of the types making these argument; they always seem to smack of desperation (the CAPITAL LETTERS, the sweary ranting, the attempts to close things down with “trump” “FACT/QED” ending)…. makes you wonder if they realise in their heart of hearts that they actually have more in common with the fundamentalists than they care to admit; far easier after all to project your (barely) closeted fanatacism on to others.

“Methinks he doth protest too much” to misquote the bard.

68. Sam's big nose

Sigh.

There is good free speech and bad free speech. Dictated by the level of evolution of that society.

Westbro is bad free speech. Un-evolved free speech that has no place anywhere.

But here is good free speech. Good, evolved, free speech that is a glorious shining light of common sense and evolved decency.
And yet this free speech is the speech that is persecuted.
And it’s persecuted by Islamist stooges like you lot;

http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/6916904/free-speech-dies-in-denmark.thtml

Another bad blow against freedom in the west. Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and The International Free Press Society, was yesterday found guilty of hate speech under the Danish penal code. His crime – as I wrote previously here, here and here – was to draw attention to child abuse and violence against women in Muslim culture.

The trial was a show trial in which Hedegaard was unable to mount a defence, because under the Orwellian rules of the Danish legal system he was in effect convicted before his trial even took place. In the lower court, however, he was aquitted – but only on the technicality that he had not known that these remarks, made in an interview, would be made public. A higher court, however, has now decided that Hedegaard did know that his remarks would be made public.And so he has now been convicted of racism.

The Danish court has convicted Hedegaard of racism for drawing attention to violence in Muslim families.

The message Denmark has thus sent out is that it is racist and a crime to seek to defend Muslim women and children from the phenomenon of ‘honour violence’.

******Where are the western feminists and defenders of free speech now?******

69. Sam's big nose

The comments are also interesting on that story;

This says it all;

philiphuw
May 5th, 2011 9:49am

Islam is not a race, it is an idea.
The same goes for all other religions and cults.
**That it is now a criminal offence to question ideas in a supposedly progressive western country is extremely disquieting.**

But you care not. As it is your bedfellow.

70. Chaise Guevara

@ 68 Sam’s big nose

If, as you claim, the guy was persecuted and convicted in a show trial just for denouncing “honour violence”, then I and everyone else arguing with you on this thread would call that abhorrent (I reckon I can speak for them here). In fact, you could have found that out by asking, but it’s easier just to make moronic assumptions about people, isn’t it? So much more convenient for trolling.

Meanwhile, in saying free speech should be denied to groups you dislike, you demonstrate that you have no idea whatsoever what “free speech” even means. “Free speech for the opinions I approve of” is the maxim of every dictator ever.

I look forward to your apology and relevant comments… but I won’t be holding my breath, as we’ll no doubt just get another bunch of straw men and ad homs interspersed with your claims not to be a troll. What laughs, eh?

71. Watchman

Not that there is anything to apologise for…except the truth.

Well, apologise for it then, since you apparently need to do so.

You are of course aware that truth, unless in relation to your own actions, is in fact a debateable issue. It is not simply what you believe to be true, as I could equally claim that I believe hippotomi to be wise and generous beasts that bestow riches on all that approach them in the wild (never having seen one in the wild). Clearly wrong, but if I were to claim it to be the truth, how is it any different from you claiming there is good free speech and bad free speech as being a true situation?

Sam:

Melanie Phillips is a proven liar and lunatic. Quoting her bullshit take on things will get you precisely nowhere.

Reading the English-language Danish press‘s take on Hedegaard, which uses such novel things as ‘facts’, it’s clear that he said:

Girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins, or their fathers.

and:

When a Muslim man rapes a woman, it is in his right to do so.

The first of those could, just about, be taken as “some girls in some Muslim families”, and therefore be factually accurate, although pretty fucking disgusting in implication. The latter is clear, blatant lying incitement to racial hatred.

The Danish court has followed similar laws to those in place in the UK – he was acquitted on the basis that he didn’t expect his words to be disseminated to the extent that they’d actually incite racial hatred; and the acquittal was overturned on the basis that actually, he did.

73. Sam's big nose

Censored again.

Hey pricks…Muslims, Islam….NOT a fucking ‘race’.

Thank you.

That it is now a criminal offence to question ideas in a supposedly progressive western country is extremely disquieting.

Waddya mean “now”? David Irving and others could tell you that this ain’t a unique development.

75. Chaise Guevara

@ 73

“Hey pricks…Muslims, Islam….NOT a fucking ‘race’.”

Hey moron, the comments policy bans xenophobic trolling, not just racism. Which has you and your other online personalities down to a T.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  2. Andy Bean

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  3. Broken OfBritain

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  5. Chris Butler

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  6. Carl Baker

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  7. Spir.Sotiropoulou

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  9. Stuart B

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  10. KATE BUTLER

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  11. Josie S

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  12. Gavin Williams

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  14. Old Holborn

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  15. kirst

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  16. Steve

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  22. robbie craig

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  28. Sean Albiez

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  29. Oliver Reichenstein

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  30. Amster

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  31. Alex Lillo

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  32. Laurent Fintoni

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  34. Andrew Simms

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  35. Brian Moylan

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  36. James Tregaskis

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  37. Jason

    RT @libcon: Where are the right-wing defenders of liberties now? http://bit.ly/l0EvJY

  38. Pucci Dellanno

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  39. Tim Hardy

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  40. Richard Murphy

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  41. Stuart Sorensen

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  43. Homo singularis

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  44. Gavin Thomson

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  45. Steven Maclean

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  46. David H

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  47. Zoe Stavri

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  48. M.Tampe-Haverkock

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  50. Calm Confusion

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  54. karl dubost

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  55. Adam Pogonowski

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  56. Mat M

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  58. Sam Dodsworth

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  60. Erik Wesselius

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  61. James Iain McKay

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  62. Florian Engel

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  64. Casper ter Kuile

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  65. Riddle like

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  69. ali zaidi

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  75. E B-H

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  77. Set In Darkness

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  81. Rachael Louise Evans

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  87. Ray Sirotkin

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  90. Mark

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  91. Ruth Ward

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  92. Richard

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  103. Shaun Chamberlin

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  104. Threadbare Panda

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  105. Gods & Monsters

    WRT to my tweet on UK / USA / #pussyriot, remember when police arrested people before Royal Wedding, without charge? http://t.co/GfaoZ5PG

  106. SiobhanC1

    WRT to my tweet on UK / USA / #pussyriot, remember when police arrested people before Royal Wedding, without charge? http://t.co/GfaoZ5PG

  107. Stephe Meloy

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  108. Tony Gray

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  109. Collin Whittaker

    WRT to my tweet on UK / USA / #pussyriot, remember when police arrested people before Royal Wedding, without charge? http://t.co/GfaoZ5PG

  110. Sean Stanley

    WRT to my tweet on UK / USA / #pussyriot, remember when police arrested people before Royal Wedding, without charge? http://t.co/GfaoZ5PG

  111. Richard Alexandar

    WRT to my tweet on UK / USA / #pussyriot, remember when police arrested people before Royal Wedding, without charge? http://t.co/GfaoZ5PG

  112. Jack Watkins

    http://t.co/YyAOLwKE

  113. Abu Sultan

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