Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reminder: Liberty Is Not Actually A Civil Liberties Organisation

Here's Universal Shami preaching in defence of the vital civil right to parade round in fascist regalia. The thing is there's at least two problems with her position.

The first problem is that the pro-regalia tendency don't just want the freedom to wear the uniform of this nation's enemies in time of war, they want the state to repress the freedom of anyone who might think worse of them for being fascist weenies, lest they discriminate against these charmers.

Problem number two is that non-partisan campaigning group Liberty only ever seem to get excited about the liberties of certain people. If the right to wear enemy uniform in wartime is an essential part of British liberty, how about the vital Right to Comedy?

Was the gag funny? Probably not, but neither are most club acts, and no one's suggesting their performances should be interrupted by cops jumping out shouting 'Satire Squad! Drop the mike, you're under arrest'! Armed entertainment criticism would be a strange use of police resources at the best of times, but there's the other thing that there may not even have been an actual offence committed.

I'm not a lawyer, but these people are, so let's hear what they say:
Threats can be calculated and premeditated, or said in the heat of the moment. The defendant does not have to have the intention to kill but there has to be an intent that the person to whom the threat has been issued would fear it would be carried out. Where it is doubtful whether the threat carried the necessary intent a charge under section 4 Public Order Act 1986 may be appropriate. Refer also to Public Order Offences incorporating the Charging Standard elsewhere in the Legal guidance.
OK, so let's see what Sec 4 says:
The following types of conduct are examples which may at least be capable of amounting to threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour:

* threats made towards innocent bystanders or individuals carrying out public service duties;
Hey, I'll take a shot in the dark here and say that the definition of 'towards' requires the accused to actually address the alleged victim, not be tapping away on a twitter feed that the victim has to be specifically told to look for.

These airport guys remind me of nothing so much as the old joke about the woman who called the police because her neighbour was sunbathing nude in his garden. The cop comes round, looks out the window and says 'I can't see anything', and the woman says 'you can if you go upstairs and climb on the wardrobe'.

All of which is by way of saying, they must have gone to an awful lot of trouble to be harassed, alarmed and distressed.

To the point, in so far as a young man exercising his right to free speech has been seized by agents of the state on a charge that's legally absurd and morally ludicrous, it is exactly the type of thing a soi dissant civil liberties organisation should regard as nearly as important a freedom as the right to coerce employers into hiring people dressed in enemy uniform.


Ross said...

"Liberty only ever seem to get excited about the liberties of certain people."

In that article Shami Chakrabati does defend the Christian BA worker who wants to wear a crucifix, a step which most of Liberty's natural supporters would view as tantamount to supporting the Taliban*.

* OK bad analogy as many of them do support the Taliban but my meaning is clear enough.

alison said...

"Here's Universal Shami preaching in defence of the vital civil right to parade round in fascist regalia"

Do you mean her moustache? yeah it's gross. Not digging the Alice Cooper attempts Princess Di look either.

Liberty are a sham(i). Cannot stand them.