Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The SNP’s offensive against free speech

A draconian law passed in Scotland yesterday blurs the distinction between hurtful words and harmful deeds
Yesterday, the Scottish National Party (SNP) pushed through a new law stipulating that people can be imprisoned for things they say.

While most of us claim to be proud to live in a liberal, tolerant society, it seems that our tolerance has limits. These limits are defined clearly in the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Bill, which seeks to criminalise ‘offensive’ songs and chants by football fans – especially fans of the two Glasgow clubs that dominate Scottish football, Celtic and Rangers. With prison sentences of up to five years, simply for things that are said or sung, this is one of the most draconian laws ever introduced.

The new Scottish law is the antithesis of everything that Mill, and other prominent free-speech defenders like Voltaire, stood for. The thinking behind the new law places the protection of people from offence above the principle of free speech. But instead of admitting that this is a state infringement on free speech, Scotland’s politicians have sought to justify their intervention on the grounds that words can, and do, cause real ‘harm’.

So why have Scottish government ministers decided that a bunch of football fans singing songs that have been sung for decades now constitutes a harm requiring government intervention? Why will fans who sing songs and shout chants during games become criminals overnight?

The answer lies partly in a more generalised culture in which the idea of a society of resilient, rational, robust individuals has been replaced by the notion of fragile, damaged people in need of protection from each other.

In Scotland, the idea that football fans are a thick-skinned bunch who can put up with abuse from rivals for 90 minutes every Saturday has been replaced by the assumption that the majority of fans are potential victims at permanent risk of suffering offence or psychological damage.



Brian from Rochester said...

Coming to the United States soon, if we don't take a stand NOW!

And they said it couldn't be done.

Bird of Paradise said...

Europe is slowly becoming a socialists nation

Anonymous said...

sticks and stones may break my bones but words will surely harm me what a butch of Pu**ies

Anonymous said...

This must be an article from The Onion.

A. Levy said...

There are always limits to the tolerance of liberals. Their tolerance is limited to those things they like and agree with. All else is taboo.

Kee Bird said...

So who said the SOVIET UNION died off Looks like its back

Anonymous said...

Bullseye A.Levy!!!

Go Away Bird said...

You hit the nail on the head there A.LEAVY