Skip to main content

Freedom of Speech and Incitement to Violence - Why the proposed march through Wootton Bassett should be banned

Some of the subtleties of freedom of speech are often missed out of public debate. It is important to maintain freedom of speech and with it the right to protest.

At its most restrictive freedom of speech can be constrained so much that people are even prevented from revealing that they are restrained from talking about an issue. This is the "super injunction" or the Court Order what shall not speak its name.

I am a strong believer in freedom of speech. That is why I oppose having secret court orders (although there may be an argument for a short time limited constraint on a particular order).

However, at the same time I do not support the use of the freedom of speech to incite disorder. I took the view that the protests of the English Defence League in Birmingham were attempts to incite disorder.

In the same way I see the proposals from Al Muhajiroun (aka Islam4UK) to march through Wootton Bassett as being an inflamatory attempt to incite disorder.

I do think it is appropriate for the authorities to use their powers to prevent both of these types of event from happening. This is not a constraint on freedom of speech instead it is a reasonable approach to restrain people from taking actions which work towards inciting violence and disorder.

It became clear to the police after the last EDL demonstration that it was about inciting disorder. It was clear to me before it happened. The same principle applies to the proposal to march in Wootton Bassett.

It remains that I am unhappy with the government's strategy in Afghanistan. However, nothing is added to this by irresponsible attempt to incite disorder in the UK.

Comments

Chris Black said…
I'm with you on this one John
PoliticalHack said…
Not going to argue over this one. However, I don't think for a second that there was ever going to be a march. The aim was to get publicity on a slow news day and with a live interview on the Today programme and the print media suitably riled, this has been achieved.

Popular posts from this blog

Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker

Statement by John Hemming
I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever.
I would like to thank Emily Cox, my children, Ayaz Iqbal (my Solicitor), my local lib dem team and many others who supported me through this dreadful experience. There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

Statement re Police investigation into Harassment and Perverting the Course of Justice.

It was recently reported that the police were not investigating the allegations of Perverting the Course of Justice that I had made. This came as a surprise to me as I had been told for some time that my allegations were to be considered once the VRR had been rejected. I have now had a very constructive meeting with Staffordshire police on Friday 29th June 2018 and the misunderstandings have been resolved. At that meeting the evidence relating to the perversion of the course of justice and the harassment campaign against my family were discussed. The police have decided to investigate both the perversion of the course of justice and also the harassment campaign. I would like to thank them for changing their decision and I accept their apology for the way in which they did that. I am also in possession of written confirmation a police force would be investigating allegations that a vulnerable witness has been harassed for trying to expose the campaign against me. I hope that the aut…

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

I have only just found this one which I think is accurately reported below (but if it is not please give me an accurate report).

KING’S BENCH DIVISION

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

Here, the magistrates’ clerk retired with the bench when they were considering a charge of dangerous driving. The clerk belonged to a firm of solicitors acting in civil proceedings for the other party to the accident. It was entirely irrelevant that there had been no evidence of actual influence brought to bear on the magistrates, and the conviction was duly quashed.

LORD HEWART CJ:
It is clear that the deputy clerk was a member of the firm of solicitors engaged in the conduct of proceedings for damages against the applicant in respect of the same collision as that which gave rise to the charge that the justices were considering. It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when that gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the…