|The Glorification Of Terror
||[Feb. 15th, 2006|06:04 pm]
OK, so the new law probably won't be used to stop folkies singing Irish rebel songs in North London pubs, but even so....|
Can we trust the authorities and/or the police not to abuse this new power? Of course we can't.
Yeah, I got hot under the collar seeing those dumbclucks marching up to the Danish embassy with posters saying things like "behead the enemies of Islam", but banning the posters won't stop the dumbclucks thinking the thought.
And denying them the right to voice the thought may well get them thinking it all the more intensely.
Was I offended? Sure I was offended. So?
"Better out than in", as my (fictitious)old granny used to say.
And how can one argue against a bad idea if the bad idea isn't allowed an airing?
"behead the enemies of Islam"
As I understand it, such phrases may currently be actionable under the offence of incitement to violence. I don't object to that as a law since it is fairly clear what the term means. By contrast, glorification of terrorism and incitement to religious hatred are meaningless terms.
I did find myself nodding vigorously when William Hague described the act as 'ineffective authoritarianism.' Absolutely spot on.
"incitement to violence" is clear enough.
I've just been listening to Hazel Blears dodging questions about who and what the new law will catch. It wasn't a particularly reassuring performance.
EXACTLY!!! Most (Western) countries do have existing general legislation that sanctions certain types of unacceptable utterances, and to make specific legislation that is really inherent in the general legislation is a) pointless and b) likely to be less fair than an across-the-board approach.
In Denmark religious hatred etc. is covered by regular legislation about freedom of speach and it's limitations (slander, incitement to hatred or violence, blasphemy, lése majésté etc.), and one might easily argue that this is already too many limitations and that it should be more general. Why, for example, does this country bestow such importance upon religion; it's legal to mock a political leader, but not a religious one? Also, the courts seem to think that the blasphemy article can't be used in the case of the Mohammed cartoons, consistent with the fact that for the past many years every blasphemy case has been thrown out in the city courts (lowest-ranging courts, below the two regional courts and the supreme court), so why should we have it at all if it's inconsequential? That article is now purely at the mercy of the judge in any blasphemy case, and thus not a very fair type of legislation. < /rant >
On article describing what sort of public utterances aren't acceptable should, surely, be enough in a legal system, rather than a whole array of ad hoc articles for particular situations.
The situation is the same here. We already have legislation covering incitement to violence, which ought to cover posters saying "kill the Jews and the crusaders" (if we want it to.)
I have two concerns over the various laws of this type. Firslty, it seems impossible to draw a meaningful distinction between legitimate criticism that needs to be protected on the grounds of freedom of expression. Cases relating to incitement to religious hatred and glorification of terrorism will have to be vetted by the Attorney General (a politician not a member of the Judiciary) before they will be permitted to come to court on precisely these grounds. This leads to the second objection; the introduction of these various laws seems to me to undermine equality before the law. Most obviously, gender, race and religion are now all protected categories under British laws but sexuality is not.
SHREK was your granny?????