Politics

No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Posted to Politics on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:07:50 AM EST (promoted from Diaries by port1080). RSS.

56 days in jail for Twitter comments.

Related.

The BBC reports

A student who admitted posting racially offensive comments on Twitter about footballer Fabrice Muamba has been jailed for 56 days.

Swansea University student Liam Stacey, 21, from Pontypridd, admitted inciting racial hatred over remarks about the Bolton Wanderers player, who collapsed during a FA Cup tie at Tottenham.

A district judge in Swansea called the comments "vile and abhorrent".

Muamba, 23, who suffered a cardiac arrest, is still in intensive care.

Sentencing Stacey at Swansea Magistrates' Court, District Judge John Charles told him: "In my view, there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence.

"It was not the football world who was praying for [Muamba].... everybody was praying for his life."

[...]

Jim Brisbane, chief crown prosecutor for CPS Cymru-Wales, said: "Racist language is inappropriate in any setting and through any media.

"We hope this case will serve as a warning to anyone who may think that comments made online are somehow beyond the law."

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1

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:25:16 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

It's incontestable at this point that liberalism is a sick and evil ideology.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

MC Nally.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:52:22 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

It's incontestable at this point that liberalism is a sick and evil ideology.
Though I don't generally find the terms "liberal" or "conservative" to be terribly useful due to significant disagreements among various groups as to what they mean, and particularly think in your case a variant of the "no true Scotsman"  I think it likely that you would consider many of my positions to be "liberal" but unless he was specifically exhorting people to engage in violent action I greatly disapprove of the UK's decision in this matter and am glad to live in a country where freedom of speech is better protected.

(I'd like, in fact, to give a stronger condemnation of the UK's actions but none of the reporting I've read has contained the full text of the comments that got Stacey into trouble, so I'm leaving open the slim possibility that I would agree something he said went beyond the pale and was deserving of punishment..  However, I really doubt that to be the case.)

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:44:25 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Speech restrictions are a consequence of liberalism "progressing". Not all liberals want speech restrictions now, but over time they will. It's similar to how only a short time ago only a small percentage of liberals supported homosexual marriage, and now most view it as a self evident right.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

thefadd.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:47:33 AM EST

none

I've come to more and more see it as a problem. The banning of language is far and away most frequently seen in the liberal political domain today. It's not surprising given that liberalism turns to government to solve just about everything. But it is a big reason why I've turned my back on the ideology and am highly critical of it in the presence of my liberal friends. The liberal feeding frenzies in the media are particularly disgusting and the modern ritual most similar to Orwell's "five minutes of hate."

I HAD HAD SEX WITH HUNTER S THOMPSON. HE CAME IN MY MOUTH AND I SWALLOWED IT. I SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BABY. WE WOULD BE BALLIN' LIKE KOBE'S SON!!

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^ 1

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

HidingFromGoro.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:16:57 PM EST

none

It's incontestable at this point that liberalism is a sick and evil ideology.

Yeah, we know.

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

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^ 1

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Toby Flip.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:32:46 PM EST

1.00 (flippant)

You determined the judge is a 'liberal' based on what?  His belief in excessive jail times for relatively minor crimes?  

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

arromdee.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:30:39 AM EST

5.00 (astute)

Punishing people harshly for racism is liberal, even though punishing criminals harshly in general may not be.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

natophonic.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:26:45 PM EST

3.50 (centrist, brilliant)

Punishing people for racism by compelling them to attend sensitivity classes and interact with racial minorities, with the implicit belief that this will somehow change the minds of virulent racists, is liberal.

Realizing that such people are very unlikely to change, and adhering to the letter of the law (even if their limited capacity for empathy tells them it is unjust) and punishing the violation harshly, is conservative.

Standing up for the right of ordinary citizens to yell SHITCOCK on a crowded internet is, apparently, uniquely American.

Call me a centrist American.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

tjb.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 12:54:55 PM EST

5.00 (professional)

I am proudly pro shitcock!

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^ 21

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

natophonic.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:24:39 PM EST

none

Actually, America was embarrassingly late to the party in affirming the right to have anal sex in the privacy of one's bedroom.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

thefadd.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:52:17 AM EST

none

Don't rationalize. Who enacted the law? Certainly not conservative MPs. The idea that individuals should be jailed for saying "hurtful" things is a uniquely liberal development. It is an overzealousness as condemnable as China jailing political dissidents.

I HAD HAD SEX WITH HUNTER S THOMPSON. HE CAME IN MY MOUTH AND I SWALLOWED IT. I SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BABY. WE WOULD BE BALLIN' LIKE KOBE'S SON!!

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^ 36

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

improper.

Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 01:10:59 PM EST

none

The idea that individuals should be jailed for saying "hurtful" things is a uniquely liberal development.

Mullahs in Pakistan, who are proponents of the anti-blasphemy laws, are now Liberals? People seeking censorship, such as against pornography are now Liberals?

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

thefadd.

Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:23:19 PM EST

none

They're not jailing people for saying "hurtful" things. They're oppressing with religion to gain power.

I HAD HAD SEX WITH HUNTER S THOMPSON. HE CAME IN MY MOUTH AND I SWALLOWED IT. I SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BABY. WE WOULD BE BALLIN' LIKE KOBE'S SON!!

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Toby Flip.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:20:47 PM EST

none

a catch 22 definition... surprise.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:51:18 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

His enthusiasm for punishing speech liberals find offensive and necessary to restrict for the purposes of managing a liberally desired multicultural state indicates he is a liberal.

2

There Was Free Speech.

Haggis.

Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 06:01:53 PM EST

5.00 (totalitarian)

Stacey was allowed to spew his bile.  Now he finds out there is a price to pay for that spewed bile.

I am shitfitter; hear me roar.

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Re: There Was Free Speech.

John Adams.

Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:04:54 PM EST

5.00 (kinky)

So . . . it's only a violation of free speech principles if you're forcibly gagged?

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^ 3

Re: There Was Free Speech.

Haggis.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:36:32 AM EST

1.00 (inane)

Free Speech /= Speech Without Consequence.  If your words can be shown to be tied to violent, destructive acts then don't be surprised if someone hauls your butt into court.  Nobody forcibly gagged this guy; he engaged in unfettered, free speech and he learned there was a price attached to all that free speech after all.

I am shitfitter; hear me roar.

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^ 5

Re: There Was Free Speech.

John Adams.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 07:28:01 AM EST

5.00 (astute, astute)

he engaged in unfettered, free speech and he learned there was a price attached to all that free speech after all.

I really can't tell if you're serious.  It's not "unfettered, free speech" if he's sent to prison for it.  The "price attached" to it that allows it to still be free speech is social opprobrium of varying degrees, not government sanctions.

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Re: There Was Free Speech.

port1080.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:10:49 AM EST

none

" If your words can be shown to be tied to violent, destructive acts then don't be surprised if someone hauls your butt into court.  "

Such as?  This guy posted offensive garbage, but I don't see anything in the article that suggests anyone acted on what he was posting.  This wasn't an anti-abortion group posting a "hit-list" of abortion doctors, or even something like a pro-gay marriage group posting the names and addresses of all the people that donated to the anti-Prop 8 campaigns with vaguely veiled threats attached.  This was just some dumb-ass spouting off on the Internet.  

Allons-y!

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Re: There Was Free Speech.

tjb.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 03:09:52 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Nobody forcibly gagged this guy

Ummm, he was sent to prison.  For saying something.  On twitter.

Are you not clear on this whole freedom of speech thing?  

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Re: There Was Free Speech.

MC Nally.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:59:13 PM EST

none

Free Speech /= Speech Without Consequence.
Actually, when we are talking about consequences coming specifically from the government, to a first approximation that's pretty much what "free speech" DOES mean.
Free Speech /= Speech Without Consequence.
Was that shown?
Nobody forcibly gagged this guy; he engaged in unfettered, free speech and he learned there was a price attached to all that free speech after all.
See my response above concerning "prior restraint", which I think is part of your confusion here.

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Re: There Was Free Speech.

Ephraim Gadsby.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:55:22 PM EST

none

By that logic North Korea is a free country.

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^ 2

Re: There Was Free Speech.

MC Nally.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 09:43:35 PM EST

none

Stacey was allowed to spew his bile.  Now he finds out there is a price to pay for that spewed bile.
I think you're confusing the free speech with the subclass of free speech issues dealing with prior restraint.

Just because the UK government didn't actually prevent him from speaking, that doesn't mean they can punish him after the fact and still claim that he had "free speech".

4

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

improper.

Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:37:00 PM EST

5.00 (english)

The Speech laws in the UK are fuckin' stupid.

You can't even make fun of religion in the UK.

9

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:59:40 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Liberalism compels the importation of racial minorities, then management of the ensuing "diversity" requires speech restrictions.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Toby Flip.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 11:45:24 PM EST

none

This is absurd and I know you are just trolling.  Liberalism does not compel the importation of minorities but it may compel you to treat minorities as equal human beings.  But that is actually a tenet of humanism, not liberalism.  Your usage of the term liberalism is so ill-defined it is effectively meaningless.  

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 01:49:07 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Someone enacted the UK's immigration policies and speech restrictions. Maybe it was the Bavarian Illuminati

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Toby Flip.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 09:19:54 PM EST

none

(a) Tony Blair's Labour Party did not initiate the UK's open immigration policy.  That precedes the Blairites by decades;

(b) Blair's Labour was not particularly 'liberal' in any case (if we are substituting the term left wing for liberal as you seem to do).  Obama is also not a 'liberal' by any reasonable definition of that word.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 01:18:12 PM EST

none

10

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 01:00:26 PM EST

none

Some beaner who writes for the LA Times argues the US needs "hate" speech restrictions.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 05:06:19 PM EST

none

That article mentions the book  The Harm in Hate Speech, by professor Jeremy Waldron:

Every liberal democracy has laws or codes against hate speech--except the United States. For constitutionalists, regulation of hate speech violates the First Amendment and damages a free society. Against this absolutist view, Jeremy Waldron argues powerfully that hate speech should be regulated as part of our commitment to human dignity and to inclusion and respect for members of vulnerable minorities.

Causing offense--by depicting a religious leader as a terrorist in a newspaper cartoon, for example--is not the same as launching a libelous attack on a group's dignity, according to Waldron, and it lies outside the reach of law. But defamation of a minority group, through hate speech, undermines a public good that can and should be protected: the basic assurance of inclusion in society for all members. A social environment polluted by anti-gay leaflets, Nazi banners, and burning crosses sends an implicit message to the targets of such hatred: your security is uncertain and you can expect to face humiliation and discrimination when you leave your home.

Free-speech advocates boast of despising what racists say but defending to the death their right to say it. Waldron finds this emphasis on intellectual resilience misguided and points instead to the threat hate speech poses to the lives, dignity, and reputations of minority members. Finding support for his view among philosophers of the Enlightenment, Waldron asks us to move beyond knee-jerk American exceptionalism in our debates over the serious consequences of hateful speech.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Gaius Petronius.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:43:37 AM EST

5.00 (patriotic)

In the US we have the most vigorous political debate environment in the world. Every shade of opinion has its say. The result is that hate speech has utterly failed to intimidate any "vulnerable minorities". Fringe movements like home-grown Nazis and left-wing anti-semites have remained fringe movements.  Holocaust deniers are considered cranks, like the Flat-Earth Movement.  The purveyers of hate speech continue to marginalize themselves, since they have not been rebranded as desireable forbidden fruit as they have in Europe and Canada.

We see a similar situation with the US vs. European concenpts of religious freedom. In Europe they have tried the contradictory policy of established churches that cannot comment or guide their adherants on moral or political issues. And as a result religion is dying in Europe, replaced only by booze and soccer football. The result is their current suicidal demographics.

In the US, on the other hand, churches get no direct government support, but anybody can set up their own house of worship, and religious figures offer their opinions on all sorts of issues, just like Media Matters and the ACLU. The result is that over here religion is strong, and a vital part of our cultural and political life.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

MC Nally.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 04:33:18 PM EST

none

In the US, on the other hand, churches get no direct government support, but anybody can set up their own house of worship, and religious figures offer their opinions on all sorts of issues, just like Media Matters and the ACLU. The result is that over here religion is strong, and a vital part of our cultural and political life.
Be careful.. you really haven't shown a causal relationship and to imply one reeks of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.  

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Gaius Petronius.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:46:34 AM EST

5.00 (interesting, familiar)

In the US we have the most vigorous political debate environment in the world. Every shade of opinion has its say. The result is that hate speech has utterly failed to intimidate any "vulnerable minorities". Fringe movements like home-grown Nazis and left-wing anti-semites have remained fringe movements.  Holocaust deniers are considered cranks, like the Flat-Earth Movement.  The purveyers of hate speech continue to marginalize themselves, since they have not been rebranded as desireable forbidden fruit as they have in Europe and Canada.

We see a similar situation with the US vs. European concenpts of religious freedom. In Europe they have tried the contradictory policy of established churches that cannot comment or guide their adherants on moral or political issues. And as a result religion is dying in Europe, replaced only by booze and soccer football. The result is their current suicidal demographics.

In the US, on the other hand, churches get no direct government support, but anybody can set up their own house of worship, and religious figures offer their opinions on all sorts of issues, just like Media Matters and the ACLU. The result is that over here religion is strong, and a vital part of our cultural and political life.

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Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Gaius Petronius.

Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 12:28:08 PM EST

none

A coment so good it bore repeating!

11

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Ephraim Gadsby.

Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 01:09:23 PM EST

none

I've tried, but I can't think of reason why it would be a bad thing if District Judge John Charles were dragged into the street and lynched.

26

Re: No free speech in the UK, again

Jackkeefe.

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 03:35:08 PM EST

none

 Sometimes the inanities of contemporary liberals can make liberalism seem almost comical,   but cases likes this remind me that tyranny that is the ultimate result of liberals able to use power as they see fit.  Their always one step away from Jacobinism, and here they've crossed that line .  

This is  a country where the police have pretty much abandoned their primary function, protecting the safety and property of its citizens.  Somehow they have time to jail someone for exercising the most fundamental of rights.  In that shithole, you are much much better off beating  the shit out of someone or robbing  them of their last penny that saying anything that might offend the political correctness police.  

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