‘EU law will end free speech’
Well, three years imprisonment is indeed to be relished when compared to being burnt at the stake, but Cranmer is somewhat concerned that the EU is legislating in this area at all. The Council Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia is portentous indeed, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the effective functioning of the single market. It is proof positive that the EU is acquiring criminal jurisdiction – a legal personality - which supplants the role of the Home Office and may override the authority of the Home Secretary. But since this centuries-old Office of State is soon to be
Europe's justice ministers have agreed genocide denial and race hatred legislation that will outlaw remarks which are ‘carried out in a manner likely to incite violence or hatred’. This includes publicly inciting to violence or hatred, even by dissemination or distribution of religious tracts, pictures or other material, directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.
The document declares:
Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that racist and xenophobic motivation is considered an aggravating factor, or, alternatively that such motivation may be taken into consideration by the courts in the determination of the penalties.
Since ‘xenophobia’ is defined as the fear of things foreign, there is nothing that distinguishes irrational fear from the perfectly rational. To criminalise a fear which may be rationally explained (or even one that is irrationally held) is a move towards the creation of thought crime, and this demands the formation of a pan-EU thought-police to patrol our consciences and opinions, to ensure that both conform to the prevailing religio-political zeitgeist.
The Government and Mr Blair tried a number of times to introduce a law against incitement to religious hatred, and they failed in their quest. The very concept which was explicitly rejected by Parliament is now being incorporated into UK law through EU mechanisms. Defining terms like ‘xenophobia’, ‘religion’ or ‘hatred’ is fraught with difficulty, and the effect will be to censor essential debate, and criminalise those who raise such concerns. While Cranmer has no time for those who deny the Holocaust, the notion that one should be imprisoned for the idea is a step towards denial of the freedom of belief, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech.
It is no wonder that the Prime Minister has now decided to deny the British People a referendum on the