Britain is currently in the process of passing a bill — which, given the way parliamentary systems work is guaranteed to be made into law — “that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years’ prison.” Although the upper house of the legislature attempted to add a free speech amendment, the ironically-titled Justice Secretary took it out. Though this legislation is new, the practice of suppressing speech in Britain is most definitely not:
Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government’s anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: “If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you.” Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: “If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings.” It took him five years to clear his name.
Page was obviously making a political point, but nevertheless he was harassed over it by the government, as have numerous others have been including children, members of the clergy, and, best of all, a television show’s puppet. Read more here.Published in