Since I mentioned civil liberties not so long ago, here are some recent contributions to the topical discussion of freedom of speech in relation to Jack Straw’s latest proposals about hate speech (his benevolent concern this time being focused on outlawing incitement to homophobic hatred) –
- Rowan Atkinson in a letter in the Times
- Iain Dale in an article in the Telegraph
- Peter Tatchell in Comment is Free
Key quote from Rowan Atkinson:
It will be interesting to see exactly what words or actions the Government considers should be criminalised that would not already fall foul of public order or incitement laws. A worrying aspect of the initiative is that it appears to be infinitely extendable: witness the fact that the Government has invited two additional groups — the disabled and transsexuals — to “make the case” for the proposed legislation to be extended to them. I am sure that they could make a very good case, as indeed could all those who can claim that they cannot help being the way they are. Men, for example. Or women. Or people with big ears.