Thursday, November 12, 2009

When humour becomes a crime.

What is it with this government? They get legislation knocked back by either the House of Lords or the European Court of Human Rights and they reintroduce it or ignore legal judgements. You'd think by now they'd have learned a lesson on legal safeguards and freedom of speech, but no, they have to keep trying until they get their way and to hell with any consequences en-route.
The latest piece of freedom snatching legislation comes back at us today.

Last-ditch bid for 'gay hate' law 

The government is bidding to overturn a defeat in the House of Lords over new laws criminalising "homophobic hatred".
The law, intended to protect gay people from threatening behaviour, was backed by MPs, amid fears attacks are rising.
But peers voted on Wednesday to amend the Coroners and Justice Bill to allow criticism of "sexual conduct and practice", to protect "free speech".
The government will again try to pass the law before the parliamentary session ends on Thursday.
It faces deadlock with the Lords over the wide-ranging Coroners and Justice Bill, which aims to remove the defence inserted into a previous act by the Conservative Lord Waddington.
He told fellow peers they had to maintain consistency with laws against stirring up religious hatred.
"If we are to finish up with a free speech clause in the religious hatred offence but no free speech clause here, we're simply asking for trouble," he said.

First off, we don't need this law, a crime is a crime, is a crime and hating something isn't a crime. When such hatred is used to cause harm to individuals or groups then that's covered by ordinary legislation, what this legislation seeks to do is give certain minorities "special" status and this is very wrong. It would mean that even jokes about this minority would become a crime should anyone take offence, freedom of speech also includes the freedom to offend, something that religious and sexual minorities often fail to take into account. To me homophobic crime is simply a crime, the motive behind it is irrelevant, it should be dealt with the in same impartiality in the justice system that any other crime is dealt with.

That however is not good enough for the current government, they want their deserving appreciative "victim groups" such as immigrants, gays and feminists to be voting for them so have to come up with specific laws to give them special status over and above the ordinary person in the street. That this is wrong makes next to no difference to the government so long as their pets continue to vote for them and this legislation is one of the prices of their support.

In any society , freedom of speech is one of the characteristics that defines the free from the authoritarian and this government have done more to limit freedom of speech than any previous in modern times. terms such as racist, homophobe and fascist have been used to shout down any and all criticism of special interest groups, apparently we (the majority) simply don't understand the issues involved and these groups need special protection.

Well, no they don't, nor do they deserve any taxpayers money thrown at them for being "special" either. Homophobic crime, racist crime and religious crimes, are just that, crimes, they don't need special treatment, nor do their followers require special protection, especially from criticism and/or humour, they need to live in the real world and get over their victimhood, stopping people from saying something does not stop them thinking it and claiming or appear to be claiming special status under the law only gets people thinking all the more.

A crime is just that, a crime, your chosen lifestyle should not make any difference whatsoever.

Update, seems like common sense has prevailed (until the next time)

Ministers have admitted defeat in their efforts to remove a "free speech" defence from new laws against inciting homophobic hatred.
MPs have voted four times to scrap it but it has been repeatedly overturned in the Lords, who again last night voted by 179 to 135 to keep it.


4 annotations:

Anonymous said...

At one time, I really did believe that 'diversity' was a good thing for the population. It isn't. What brings social cohesion is a sense of belonging, not a sense of difference, no matter how much we are told to 'celebrate' it.

James Higham said...

Glad you put that - this is the type if thing we're aiming to sweep away if we can get big enough to be heard.

scunnert said...

Good post - agree entirely.

Barking Spider said...

Good post, QM, I knew we were in trouble the first time Bliar mentioned "hate crime"!

And this is something that desperately needs to be swept away, James and there are a lot of people out there who feel exactly the same.