Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thought crime in Britain

Peter Saunders

Last week, Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London staged a five-day trial (cost to the taxpayer: unknown, but doubtless staggering) at which Chelsea and England soccer star John Terry successfully defended himself against the charge that he had racially abused an opposing player, Anton Ferdinand, during a Premier League game last season.

Ferdinand told the court that during the game, Terry had called him a ‘c---,’ so he called back him a ‘c---’ back and accused Terry of ‘shagging his team mate’s missus.’ Terry responded with the words: ‘F------ black c---,’ although Ferdinand did not hear him say it. The incident was later posted on YouTube, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) started a criminal investigation, resulting in Terry’s arrest and trial.

It was not the foul language that landed Terry in trouble. The word that put him in the dock was the only part of his utterance fit to print without asterisks (and the only bit that was descriptively accurate). It was the adjective, black.

Ever since 1965, incitement of racial hatred has been a criminal offence in Britain. This was incorporated into the 1986 Public Order Act, under which Terry was charged. This Act has subsequently been extended to prohibit incitement of hatred of religious and sexual minorities as well, so if Terry had referred to Ferdinand as, say, a ‘f------ Muslim c---’ or a ‘f------ gay c---,’ he could have found himself in the same sort of trouble (calling someone a ‘f------ bald c---’ or a f------ old c---’ is, however, not currently illegal, so bald old Brits like me have no statutory protection).

This case has given middle Britain a ghastly insight into the depraved culture of England’s sporting elite. Foul-mouthed men like Terry earn around £150,000 per week and are revered as role models by youngsters up and down the country. They are gross, yet they are treated as heroes.

What is more disturbing, though, is that Terry was brought to trial simply for the language he used. The case shows how Britain’s race relations laws attempt to control, not just what we do, but the way we think. Words betraying negative emotions about racial (or religious or sexual) minorities are illegal, regardless of whether they have any influence on behaviour.

It obviously makes sense to prohibit language intended to stir up violence, but that was never the case here. Terry and Ferdinand exchanged gross and abusive insults, nothing more. Yet Terry was arrested – not for anything he had done, but because he added that Ferdinand was black. That was enough to get him charged with what Orwell would recognise as ‘thought crime.’ It showed (in the eyes of the prosecution) that Terry was a ‘racist.’

In the end, Terry got off because the prosecution failed to prove that he had intended to abuse Ferdinand when he mouthed the words he used. But this case is only the tip of a monstrous iceberg, and others have not been so lucky.

Since 2000, UK schools have been required by law to report ‘racist incidents’ to the authorities: 30,000 incidents were reported in 2008–09, more than half of them from primary schools. Even though 95% involved only verbal abuse or name-calling, the CPS launched almost 3,000 prosecutions against children aged between 10 and 17 for ‘hate crimes.’

Sometimes I wonder what has happened to the country that gave birth to John Stuart Mill.



Bird of Paradise said...

Countrary to popular belief the Soviet Union didnt die after all its now the entire EUROPEAN SOVIET UNION thats why we must opposes the NORTH AMERICAN SOVIET UNION

Anonymous said...

If sports "heroes" are seen to get away with insulting people on grounds of their ethnic or other group-background, then their mindless fans will take it as a licence to do the same, and the result will end in violence and social unrest.

Anonymous said...

This stroy is simply more proof that Britain is a dying nation. And it's being killed by it's own weakness, stupidity, and it's incredible addiction to extreme political correctness.

Good riddance!

Anonymous said...

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.
John Adams
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)

In otherwords.. It'll likely take an ocean of blood to regain freedom in the UK. I might be an old man by the time the straw breaks the back of those forced to be tolerant. They would likley be put down quickly and violentlt since the Brits have been castrated, and lack any real means to resist. I would weep for them but I must reserve my tears for home where the same disease of Statism, autocracy, and thought crime seems to be trying to take hold.

Go Away Bird said...

Just be thankful that becuase of the FOUNDING FATHERS and AMERICAN REVOLUTION were no longer part of th British Empire they have allowed for too many illegal aliens and opened borders

Anonymous said...

Ironic that Yanks here are so critical of the UK when their own country has so many social problems, only highlighted so recently by yet another random mass shooting in Colorado, and not by a muslim or a foreign terrorist, but by one of their own. Doesn't the Bible (so much quoted on this site) say something about not judging others while having a worse situation of your own, OR those who live by the sword (read widespread ownership of guns) die by it!?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:42, while you are quite right, there is one major difference. At least there are many of us here in the US that resist, unlike you Brits who seem to be incapable of resisting anything that requires any backbone. Then again, you have a very long history of being somewhat short on backbone.

Anonymous said...

3:11 AM has obviously never heard of WWII where the Brits stood alone against Hitler, while the US stood back until 1942 just offering to lease for payment surplus equipment, and the USSR was then onside with Hitler.
And why do you presume again about 2:42 being a Brit because he/she says "Yanks" and tells the truth?