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Protect the right to criticise religion and the state

Comment 20th July 2010

I propose to abolish any law that restricts the right to criticise religions or the authorisies or any other group or creed as this restricts a person's right to free speech

Why does this matter?

Recent laws passed in the name of "racial harmony" now make it very easy to be prosecuted for merely making a harmless joke or general comment in public. It is now possible to arrest a comedian who makes a racist or anti religious joke. Just because someone make a joke or an off hand comment doesn't make them prejudiced. They only become prejudiced if their comment affects their attitude or actions. It is time for a more common sense approach to this rather tabboo subject.

 

Also,  the authorities have too much power to stop people doing quite innocent things or arrest people from rather innocent actions. A few months ago a young man was charged under the terrorism act for allegedly making a bomb threat against Doncaster airport. He had his computer seized, his flat searched and spent a significant time in custardy. And what did he actually do? Well, the airport had been closed due to snow and he was due to go on holiday so he put, jocularly, on his twitter page "If Doncanster airport doesn't reopen in time for me to go on holiday, I blow the place up". Aside to this, there are numerous accounts of photographers and tourists being abused by the police for taking photograph in a public place because "They might be a terrorist".  When ever since has it been illegal to take a couple of holiday snaps?

 

In addition, I would not restrict any political debate. A person is entitled to their opinion, how ever tasteless or revolting it may be. The BNP, for example, preech what I consider to be a scandalous message of hate, yet I would never gag them because, in doing that, you are giving them the oportunity to legitimise their arguement "in the name of freedom of speech". It is far more constructive to engage them in debate and defeat them through intelligence rather than woolly minded legislation.

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