Monday, November 27, 2006

Defending The Right To Cause Offence

More calls from the police to curb our freedoms (here). This time, it isn't the burning of flags that's an issue, but it is coming from the same source, the Met's Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur. The Met is now calling for powers to crack down on protesters that are causing offence. A recent report states, "there must be a clear message that we will not allow any extremist group to display banners or make public statements that clearly cause offence within the existing law".

I'm disgusted by these continued attempts to curtail our rights. We must defend the ability to cause offence. As despicable as many of these protesters are, they must be able to put forward their views. We can then counter them with our own reasoned arguments if we disagree. What we shouldn't do is put the police in charge of censorship. That road leads to a dangerous and dark place.

Scarier still is this quote from the same document, "The result has been to create an imbalance in public perception that is manifesting itself in passionate responses from elements of the community not traditionally given to publicly protesting. What we are seeing in effect is a rise in the politicisation of middle England and the emergence of a significant challenge for capital city policing." I for one am all for passionate responses and the politicisation of middle England despite misgivings from the police.

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