The problem is, the un-serious people are in charge. “The Sound of Silence,” by Mark Steyn, February 9, 2015 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
You can get away with anything when you smother it in blather about “enhancing” public safety and “advising appropriately”. But the fact remains that, a few days after the hideous opportunist Cameron was marching under the #JeSuisCharlie banner in Paris, his coppers were ordering newsagents to cough up the names of anyone who bought the magazine. This is Mother England in 2015: You can still read samizdat literature, but your name will be entered in a state database.
Equally disturbing was a recent English court judgment re the Home Office ban denying Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller entry into the United Kingdom. Their Lordships’ appalling decision essentially extends the heckler’s veto to Her Britannic Majesty’s immigration policy:
A British Court of Appeal handed down its judgment dismissing our appeal challenging our ban from entering the United Kingdom. The key element of its decision is its emphasis on the fact that “this was a public order case where the police had advised that significant public disorder and serious violence might ensue from the proposed visit.” In writing that judgment, Lord Justice Tomlinson (with whom Lord Justice Patten and Lord Justice Floyd agree) has only made it clear that the British government has decided to set aside established law and the freedom of speech in order to appease violent Muslims.
No serious person thinks Spencer and Geller are any threat to “public order”. They speak without incident all over not only the United States but also the Dominion of Canada, and without unduly stressing the Queen’s Peace. So, if they can’t speak without incident in the United Kingdom, that is a reflection not on them but on Britain. What Lord Justice Tomlinson means by the prospect of “serious violence” is that, if you’re booked to give a speech in Oxford and some Islamic grievance-mongers threaten to go bananas over it, your speech has to be forbidden in deference to the crazies. The decision thus incentivizes those who threaten violence. As Laura Rosen Cohen likes to say, “security concerns” are the new “shut up”.
And, if you think David Cameron’s ministry has grown far too comfortable with using state power to restrain the opinions of a free party, wait till the other fellows take over:
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, will on Monday unveil a strategy to tackle the UK’s soaring rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and abuse of people with disabilities. The package includes making homophobic and disability hate crimes an aggravated criminal offence, ensuring that police treat such offences in the same way as racist hate crimes.
Cooper will outline changes to the criminal records framework whereby such offences will be clearly marked on the criminal records of perpetrators. Currently, records checks do not highlight homophobia, disability or transgender identity as a motivating factor in a conviction, and do not automatically appear in police data used for vetting applicants in sensitive vocations, such as those working with vulnerable people, including the disabled.
Labour’s move comes as a new breakdown of police figures reveals an escalation in hate crimes since 2012, with a steep rise in abuse reported by the transgender community alongside the well-documented rises in antisemitism and Islamophobia.
As that grab-bag suggests, right now the leftie sexual identity groups are happy to make common cause with the Islamocrazies because they’re both about shutting people up. For example, the feminist comedienne Kate Smurthwaite is already in Britain so, unlike Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, she can’t be turned back at Heathrow. But she apparently holds insufficiently “respectful” attitudes to “sex workers”, so she had her speech at Goldsmiths College canceled because of – what else? – “security concerns“. The topic of her talk was, of course, free speech.
Professor Jonathan Turley says:
Western leaders have increasingly spoken out against the dangers of free speech. For politicians, free speech is an abstraction, the consequences of free speech tend to be more tangible in the form of riots and murders.
You don’t have to be a politician to think “free speech is an abstraction”. Robert Spencer might want to give speeches about Islam, and Mrs Keat might want to read Charlie Hebdo, but most people don’t want to give any speeches at all and are content to read Hello! or People or whatever’s filling the rack where Charlie Hebdo used to be. In some ways, it’s the easiest right to surrender, particularly to regimes that smother the expansion of state regulatory power in soothing twaddle about “enhancing public safety” to protect “vulnerable people”.
Speaking of “vulnerable people”, how about this headline from The Daily Mirror?
Child sex abuse gangs could have assaulted ONE MILLION youngsters in the UK