In 399 BC Socrates was found guilty of “corrupting the youth of Athens” and “not believing in the gods of the state”. He was sentenced to death by poisoning by a jury of his peers.
In 1633 Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, for holding the opinion that the Earth moves. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
In Britain, in 2012, the inquisition is once again in full swing:
The Chelsea footballer, John Terry, stands accused of “a racially aggravated public-order offence” for aiming “impious” (racist) insults at another footballer (Anton Ferdinand), who alleges that Terry’s remarks were “very hurtful”. I’m sure they were.
We can of course rest assured that Terry won’t be forced to drink hemlock if he is found guilty, like poor old Socrates was. However, unlike Socrates, Terry has not been afforded the right to a trial by jury. This trial is being conducted by magistrates, dramatically increasing the chance of a politically motivated verdict. This is, after all, a politically motivated prosecution. It is of paramountt importance to remember that this trial is not Ferdinand Vs Terry, but Regina Vs Terry! The State is the complainant, presumably on your behalf?
Terry is being prosecuted under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 which criminalizes the use of “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour”, if it is, “within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.” The term Orwellian gets thrown around rather lightly I think, but it describes this pernicious piece of legislation perfectly.
There have been numerous instances of the abuse of this law. My personal favourite is the almost folkloric tale of the Oxford student who was arrested in 2005 for asking a mounted officer if he knew that his horse was a homosexual.
Recently there has been a concerted effort to repeal or reform Section 5. ‘Veteran’ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has been at the forefront of the campaign. Indeed the Christian Institute and The National Secular society, which I am a supporter of, have found common ground on this issue. And in Parliament the Conservative MP and civil liberties enthusiast David Davis has taken up this righteous cause.
Here is Peter Tatchell on the BBCs’ Daily Politics programme discussing police abuse of the Act:
Take special note of the sanctimonious, lard-faced, lick-spittle Will Riches who appears in this clip defending the police saying, “Of course there should be freedom of speech and it is for the government to decide at what level the threshold is set.” Perhaps Mr Riches would feel more at home in North Korea? I hear the gulags, sorry, ‘political re-education facilities’ are always on the look-out for staff!
Shamefully, there is deafening silence coming from free-speech campaigners surrounding the Terry case and the reason is all too obvious. John Terry has broken the ultimate taboo. He didn’t just insult someone, that person also happens to be black. The high priests of the multi-cult of
Diversity Acquiescense and Tolerance Homogeneity will not put up with such an affront to their precious sensibilities! Mr Terry must do his penance, come what may; rest assured that a not-guilty verdict will result in howling displays of faux-outrage and cries of “Institutional” racism from the Twittering classes.
And the few believers in freedom that remain in this God-forsaken land? They cower in fear at being labeled a racist, because guilt by association is the new black. Am I allowed to say that?