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Freedom of speech

Comment 28th July 2010

Negotiate an amendment to the Human Rights Convention which deletes the qualifications to Article 9, Freedom of Expression. The Americans manage perfectly well without them in The First Amendment to their constitution.

May I remind you of the following remarks of Lord Chief Justice LIght in the leading case of R v Haddock (1922):

 

‘The appellant made the general answer that this was a free country and a man can do what he likes if he does nobody any harm…. It cannot be too clearly understood that this is not a free country, and it will be an evil day for the legal profession when it is. The citizens of London must realize that there is almost nothing that they are allowed to do. Prima facie all actions are illegal, if not by an Act of Parliament, by Order of Council, or if not by Departmental regulations or Police regulations, or bye-laws. They may not eat what they like, drink where they like, walk where they like, drive where they like, sing where they like or sleep where they like. And least of all may they do unusual actions "for fun". People must not do things for fun. There is no reference to fun in any Act of Parliament. If anything is said in this court to encourage a belief that Englishmen are entitled to jump off bridges for their own amusement the next thing to go will be the Constitution.’ 

Why does this matter?

There is no more important human right than freedom of expression; and, yes, I include the right to life.

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