Thursday, March 12, 2009

Freedom of speech and the incompetence of the police

Cranmer wishes to make something abundantly clear. He believes that these Muslims who protested against British soldiers returning from Afghanistan had every right to make their thoughts and opinions known. He does not agree with them, but freedom of speech cannot be so limited as to deny the right to protest against an armed conflict. They would have been wiser to have protested against the Government - since the soldiers were simply obeying orders and are but pawns of foreign policy - but these Muslims appear not to be able to discern where responsibility lies. As unpalatable as the protest may have been, Cranmer’s ‘bottom line’ (opposite) is inviolable.

Free speech, expression and lawful demonstration must be permitted, even if it be born of misguided motives, political naïveté or religious bigotry. The alternative is a censorious regulation of conduct and the imposition of state-defined orthodoxy. In religio-political matters, private conscience must be permitted public expression within the tolerance of the law.

Cranmer does not agree with the BNP. But this is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and they are a law-abiding, non-violent group which should have the right to protest in a land which enshrines freedom of speech as a defining feature of its liberal democracy. Yet had they protested so provocatively against Islam in the fashion of the Muslim protesters in Luton, there is no doubt their placards would have been confiscated and arrests would have been made.

But Cranmer wishes to move the argument beyond the BNP, if only to avoid further harassment by its supporters (which is becoming increasingly frequent, and rather irritating).

Consider what the police would have done if a Christian group had protested at a ‘Gay Pride’ march, with placards which talked of sin or hell or dared to quote Scripture.

The police are attuned to ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia’ to such an extent that they have lost sight of their function in society, and are oblivious even to the possibility of ‘heterophobia’ or 'Christianophobia’. The police are not there to discern morality or to distinguish between individuals or groups in the same action: they are there to apply the law equally to all of Her Majesty’s subjects and to ensure that all are treated equally under that law. It is not for them to choose à la carte who may be guilty and who may not, depending on the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation: such judgement is the preserve of the courts.

The Public Order Act 1986 (Section 4a) refers to those who display any writing, sign, or other visible representation which is threatening abusive or insulting, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress. Section 5 refers to offensive conduct - using slogans or language that causes distress - after a warning from a police officer.

Yet these protesting Muslims were not arrested, despite their evident abusive behaviour and insulting placards, clearly intended to cause harassment or distress. This is the threshold at which protest becomes illegal, and Muslim groups like the Muslim Council of Britain and the British Muslims for Secular Democracy have been unequivocal in their condemnation. MCB Secretary General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said: "Whilst we understand the deeply held and widespread opposition to the disastrous war in Iraq, the Muslim Council of Britain condemns any form of protest where individuals are harmed or threatened. The 'protestors' did not speak for the majority of people who opposed that war."

The case of Redmond-Bate v. DPP (1999) concerned evangelical Christians who were leafleting and preaching outside Lichfield Cathedral. This led to their arrest for breach of the peace due to the reaction of members of a gathering crowd. The courts found them not guilty, and Lord Justice Sedley’s judgement is worth considering in this context:

‘Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having. What Speaker’s Corner (where the law applies as fully as anywhere else) demonstrates is the tolerance which is both extended by the law to opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear. From the condemnation of Socrates to the persecution of modern writers and journalists, our world has seen too many examples of State control of unofficial ideas. A central purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights has been to set close limits to any such assumed power. We in this country continue to owe a debt to the jury which in 1670 refused to convict the Quakers William Penn and William Mead for preaching ideas which offended against State orthodoxy.’

Let Luton’s Muslims protest against Her Majesty’s Armed Forces; let the BNP raise its voice against foreigners; and let Christians disseminate leaflets about sin and hell.

And let the police arrest those who choose to respond to peaceable and lawful protest with threats or violence.

Even at the risk of police officers being accused of ‘racism’ or ‘homophobia’.


Blogger Jomo said...

Tolerance is one thing licence is another.

As recent events have reminded us the creation of a state within a state leads only to death and destruction.

The parading of real and imagined grievances by the demonstrators is reminiscent of the early days of Mr Adams and Minister McGuinness.

The lessons of NI are clear to the jihadists. Push HMG and they will eventually give in for the sake of peace and quite.

Reports in the press suggest that the PSNI is unfit for purpose thanks to the efforts of Blair and Patten.

We seem intent in creating the conditions for further terrorist outrages in the UK while at the same time neutering the Police and the Security forces.

I am not sure that allowing a mob to insult the Army meets the criteria of peaceful protest and free speech.

12 March 2009 at 08:40  
Blogger Botogol said...

"Consider what the police would have done if a Christian group had protested at a ‘Gay Pride’ march, with placards which talked of sin or hell or dared to quote Scripture"

- I don't think there are many christian groups that *would* dare to quote scripture, out loud, to peoople who don't want to hear it - do you know of any?

- but I think that if some christian group WAS brave enough to put it's head above the parapet at a gay pride march, I don't think they would be arrested, or cleared out by the police, any more than he anti-war mulslims were.

12 March 2009 at 09:02  
Blogger Gnostic said...

The question I would like answered is who gave the demonstrators permission to hold their little protest? Don't you need to seek the approval of the local authorities these days? Aren't there things like risk assessments and health & safety to consider?

We already know this wasn't an impromptu protest because there was a leaflet campaign designed to whip up a frenzied mob.

When I saw the mob on the news it was evident that only a small group of hot-headed malcontents had rallied to the call. It was the Muslims who weren't there who spoke for the community. Such a shame their silent voices will not be heard by our own hot-heads.

The placard wavers were attempting to incite a breach of the peace and they succeeded. The fact that only angry people reacting to the provocation were arrested is telling. Positive discrimination policing policies are alive and in operation on our streets. This type of policing is partisan and deeply unfair.

It has to stop. The politically correct Nazis need to cease interfering with the way public order is conducted at street level or anywhere else. No one person or group should be above the law. And that includes our own government!

12 March 2009 at 09:06  
Blogger Witterings From Witney said...

Whilst I would agree with Your Grace in that freedom of speech is a right everyone in this land has; and would also agree with the rhetorical question you raise on the question of a Christian protest against Gay Pride I must return to one basic point.

If this land of ours is so abhorrent to that section of the Muslim community then why don't they leave and live somewhere else? If they choose to live in this country then they must accept our 'way of life', our beliefs, our laws and our country without reservation.

Were I to consider emigrating or a holiday and the country of my choice was abhorrent to my beliefs, I would not go. When visiting other countries I observe their culture, their way of life, no matter how odd it may seem.

All I ask is the same courtesy from those who choose to live here.

12 March 2009 at 09:27  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

I felt a bit sorry for the soldiers, but at the end of the day I think you will find that BNP policy is not to get involved in spurious empire building wars. China brutalises people in Tibet. Look at Mugabe in Africa. The Darfur situation, Blah blah, the list goes on. But we do not get involved, quite right to: We have the united nations (a useless bunch of ywats agreed).

Lots of innocent Iraqi people were killed during the preemptive assault. There were NO WMD's. Iran is more of a threat to the world than Iraq could ever have been, and yet ....? So basically, I personally do not have issue with what they were protesting about on this occasion. If it was down to me, then we would not be in the present situation where we have a major Muslim infestation in the country, but we do, so you can't have it all ways: lie down with dogs and you come up with fleas, is what I say. I look forward to more of this freedom of speech, especially if it causes discomfort to the appeasers.

12 March 2009 at 09:32  
Anonymous Shakassoc said...

Your Grace: Please stand in a corner and write the following word ten times -- 'Lichfield'.

12 March 2009 at 11:17  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Shakassoc,

His Grace has corrected his trivial mistake - he does not have time to stand in corners. The occasional typo has to be endured because he types each morning with burnt stumps powered by a frazzled brain.

12 March 2009 at 11:26  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

There is a paradox in the interpretation of the law that the more sensible and self disciplined the target of a demonstration, the less likely that they will respond to the "provocation" and thus the more offensive it may be.

Conversely the more hot headed the recipient of protest, the more likelihood that a modest criticism will result in arrest of the low key critic.

12 March 2009 at 11:31  
Anonymous Hans Wildebeest said...

The - quite extensive - report of this protest on BBC Radio 4 yesterday evening made not one mention of the fact that the protesters were Muslim.

12 March 2009 at 12:46  
Anonymous len said...

If these protesters had been anything other than muslims they would have been arrested and their placards confiscated.
I wonder what the penalty(If any) would be under sharia law?, British law apparenly does`nt apply to muslims.

12 March 2009 at 13:30  
Anonymous Patriot said...

I'm all for Freedom of speech but we do have a problem here.

The Religion of Peace In Britain

12 March 2009 at 14:57  
Blogger Microcosm said...

It makes you wonder what Royalty needs with its own standing army, especially when Joe Public can be arrested for the mere posession of a pen knife.

Talk about insecurity.

12 March 2009 at 15:11  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

"Consider what the police would have done if a Christian group had protested at a ‘Gay Pride’ march, with placards which talked of sin or hell or dared to quote Scripture."

Well pointed out!

The difference is that the muslims want others to obey them, submit all society to Allah (that is what Islam means: submission) and are VIOLANT and FULL OF HATRED to anyone who does not agree with them.

There is no one - to my knowledge - that speaks out against these hate-mongering arrogant muslims right there and then! They simply avoid confrontation.

Christians that would protest with placards that quote Scripture about homosexuality, on the other hand, do so, trembling and with much fear (as apostle Paul also wrote he had) but they do not do so to force théir view on the public, but out of their love for God in the first place, demonstrating for Christ and for those who are entrapped in a lifestyle that leads them to hell, obeying Christ out of that love, desiring to see some come to true repentence and be set free.

The Christians do not seek confrontation. They seek to serve! Their demontstration is an expression of His love.

The muslims is a demonstration of their hatred of anything non-islamic!

The Christians invite the sinners to life and liberty in Christ.

The muslims demand all to submit to Allah.

The difference is also in the fact that the law-abiding Christians, receive a lot of hostile reactions of the public. The public shits in it's pants for the violant muslims, and avoid them at all cost, while they have a big mouth, and violant reactions against the Christians who would 'dare' to make himself/herself/ themselevs visible.

The police should therefore protect the Christians, while they should round up, arrest, prosecute these violant muslims who have no respect for our society and our lifestyle. Send them to Mecca...since their Quran says that the islamic ummah (society) is the best society on earth. Why not be graciious enough and fill a boat with such and dump them on the shores of Saoudi - Arabia?

Islam is a DISASTER to the whole world...let's remove it from our midst!

12 March 2009 at 15:25  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
I note that none of the protesters placards stating all sorts of evil rhetoric said anything at all about a certain Mr S. Hussain, & the multiple massacres that he commited, one wonders what would have been the response if similar demonstrations had been held in Bahgdad before he was deposed? One could also conject that the reason that the same people are here in the first place & have the right to demonstrate so freely is in some way connected to their fear of instant demise if they had done the same back "home". So really they should be holding placards thanking the troops for saving their necks (literally). Well perhaps these same militants who shout so loudly for sharia law should go & live in Saudi, where Islam rules & demos against the status quo only happen once.

12 March 2009 at 15:57  
Anonymous Patrick Hamilton said...

Remember Harry Hammond - RIP -Street Preacher and his brush with the law.

He was indeed a Christian and is now at home with his Lord.

12 March 2009 at 16:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine what jolly japes the police would have had if it had been a few miners

12 March 2009 at 16:45  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

While we are on the subject of the Governments Muslim Love feast, Lord Ahmed has been released after only 15 days on appeal. Something smells disgusting.

12 March 2009 at 17:12  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

You aint going to like my opinion I can tell, but in all fairness, Lord dodah did not commit any heinous crime. If I am driving up a motorway, and some drunken ywat has crashed into he central reservation and has landed sideways on in the dark, the chances are that I am going to kill him instantly.

Who in here has never read a text message while driving at some point they felt necessary? Yes it is very wrong, but be careful what you wish for!

If Lord dodah represents something that seems irksome at times, I still do not see how it would help to see anything other than justice to be served.

12 March 2009 at 19:05  
Anonymous len said...

Anyone ever see a muslim speaking peace and love for his fellow human beings, or his message only one of hate and violence?.
Perhaps that is all he has got?

12 March 2009 at 19:21  
Blogger Microcosm said...

The muslims would have gained more sympathy by pointing out Saddams WMDs were purchased from America. Our self same special friends who supported the IRA, turned a blind eye to the USS Liberty sinking and now have a third world 'dreg' of a President. Who cannot even produce a birth certificate!

12 March 2009 at 20:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the subtitle of this antry misses the point. It is not that the police are incompetent: rather, their leadership (and the individual officers to some extent) are infected by the traditionally liberal moral cowardice. Unwilling to stand against a crowd, they will invariably choose to oppose those who are least dangerous, least problematic. So, knowing that Muslim organisations will raise hell if they are confronted by peace officers, those peace officers stand aside. Meanwhile, those who would argue for social order are targetted.

12 March 2009 at 21:45  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...


I have never texted or read a text while driving, admittedly because I'm rubbish at it, but I genuinely don't agree with it. what irks me is the inconstancy between Lord Ahmed and that young girl from Norwich way. Very similar crimes but very different outcomes. They both should have done time that reflected the death of a person. You can bet your bottom dollar that if it was you or me driving Ahmeds car that evening, the full force of the law would have been brought down upon us.

Your Grace, I apologise for rambling on off topic.

12 March 2009 at 21:56  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Seeing that the title of the post is police Incompetence, then I suppose it is related (plus the Muslim nature of this thread).

But I get no pleasure out of people being scape-goated. The accident, by all accounts, had nothing to do with the use of mobile phones. It was an accident caused by a drunken prat. Lord Ahmed received a prison sentence for text messaging while driving, which is about as full as the law gets in my mind. Speaking of law, it seems that Karmic law came into effect with the drunken prat. It could just as easily been a car full of kids that slammed into him, but Allah and His grace had a different plan.

I think justice has been served, and the message should now be loud and clear. Don't use your mobile phone while driving: if you are not a Muslim, you will be roasted in court; if you are a Muslim, Allah will slam your arse into some kind of bad Karmic situation.

Seriously though, I don't know about the young Norwich girl case so I can't comment. But there was this taxi driver in Llandudno who was caught smoking off duty in her car, and was busted by some jobsworth Dog Nazi Warden freak of nature. It was her car, but because it was also licensed she was fined heavily in court. So I think the law is way out of proportion myself as it is, and it needs no more encouragement. It definitely will not be the answer to de-infestation of Islam from the Christian skin of the nation.

12 March 2009 at 22:29  
Blogger Hugh Oxford said...

I think your defence of these people from the perspective of freedom of speech is flawed.

It is one thing for the people of a nation to speak out against their government.

It is another thing for aliens to enter a country and then undermine the very state itself, coming from a perspective of a greater allegiance to a foreign, totalitarian ideology or peoples.

Would you have defended Hitler Youth marching through the streets of London in 1941?

What is sedition if it is not an abuse of freedom of speech?

12 March 2009 at 23:15  
Anonymous len said...

Hugh Oxford,
I am in total agreement with your post.
Muslim intent is to undermine the basic structure of our society.

13 March 2009 at 07:33  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Off topic, sorry.

I do not use my mobile while driving. It's dangerous and that's why there's a law against it. Texting while driving in the fast lane of a motorway is criminally stupid.

Lord Ahmed managed to plough into a stationary vehicle that other drivers had managed to avoid. That means his eyes were not on the road ahead. Where was his attention focused?

It doesn't matter if the driver of the crashed vehicle was drunk or not. It could have been a vehicle that had crashed through some defect such as a blown out tyre. Would this have mitigated Lord Ahmed's inattention when his car struck and killed the victim? No.

How does the judge know that Lord Ahmed wasn't texting at the time of the collision? We only have Ahmed's word for that. His and two family members. Circumstantial evidence suggests that his attention was elsewhere prior to the collision. It's not a great leap to suspect he was engaged in creating another text. No sensible explanation for his inattention has emerged from the trial and the dead driver being drunk is nothing more than a smokescreen. Making the victim the scapegoat is a recognised strategy.

Ahmed had to come clean about the texts he'd already sent because there would be a record of them on his mobile account. There wouldn't be a record if he was busy compiling a further text at the time of the collision. We only have his word that he wasn't. What if was lying?

There were two other people in the car at the time. Why wasn't one of them sending the texts while he was driving? Did the judge not think to ask?

Lord Ahmed killed a man through negligence. He is one of the Establishment and was given a very dubious benefit of the doubt by another member of the Establishment. Justice was not served that day. Letting this idiot out after a mere two weeks is an insult to justice and it makes a mockery of the law.

13 March 2009 at 08:32  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...


I fully concur with your view and in fact have said something similar in an earlier post on either this blogg or another. Did the police check the nature of the conversations in the texts to see if it was ongoing? Also you quite correctly point out that others managed not to plough into the stationary vehicle as he did.

I am sorry to anyone that doesn't agree, and that's their right, but to me this is a slap in the face of justice.

Just a thought, but what if the stationary vehicle had belonged to a prominent person and not an eastern European immigrant.

I am also sorry if I seem obsessed with this but right from the first I heard of this case I knew Ahmed would get off lightly. After his antics with the house of Lords, it makes it all the more sickening.

13 March 2009 at 09:55  
Blogger Young Mr. Brown said...

I am in agreement with Your Grace, and I am proud to live in a country that tolerates this sort of protest, highly offensive though it is.

In fact, I find myself thinking that the action of these protesters was so completely offensive that it is difficult to believe that they are either incredibly thick, or their purpose was to provoke a violent reaction.

Did they hope to be lynched by the crowd and thus enter paradise as martyrs?

13 March 2009 at 10:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try this for free speech, go into your local mosque and insult allah.
See how free speech is!.

13 March 2009 at 13:26  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

Judge in Ahmed case is a former political appointee.

see my blog.

13 March 2009 at 14:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

When Christians can organise themselves to swing constituencies and to bring MPs to heel, then they will have the influence that Muslims seek to exercise.

Irrespective of party Muslims are able to operate as an identity-bloc and hold certain seats to ransom. Christians have failed to see the rise of Communitarian Politics in Britain and they have been very weak in seeing that organised lobbies have subverted the democratic system

13 March 2009 at 16:19  
Anonymous Penny said...

A couple of posts here have questioned why Muslims who disagree with our way of life don't go to a country more to their tastes.

I watched Newsnight some time ago, where one extremist cleric was in discussion with several members of the intelligentsia. When tackled with this obvious question, the cleric replied that we(the Brits) don't own the UK, Allah does.

In the Cleric's mind he was, therefore, entitled (via Allah) to everything the British welfare state could provide - including the benefits he lived on. He was biding his time until the UK became a fully subscribed Islamic state.

The frustration emanating from the intelligentsia during that program fully illustrates our problem in the UK; we are attempting to solve these issues with our Western logic and values; we seem unable to realise that not every nation shares those values, nor does their brand of logic necessarily resemble ours. As the saying goes, it's like taking a knife to a gun fight.

As for these young protestors - British born lads - no matter how much they think they want the UK to become an Islamic republic, I wonder just how seriously they have pondered the reality of it? It's one thing to trumpet a cause when you're in a lenient, welfare state; it's something else when the rights to which you are accustomed drift up the Swanney.

13 March 2009 at 21:48  
Anonymous len said...

The problem with the intelligentsia is that they are dealing with a spiritual matter using western logic and values.
The driving force in humans is the spirit not the mind.
What you see in behavior is the fruit of the spirit that is driving them.
You can`t judge a book by its cover but you certainly tell a tree by its fruit.

14 March 2009 at 00:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree broadly with His Grace's defence of free speech, I felt rather uneasy with the post as a whole, I sensed a flaw somewhere. I couldn't put my finger upon what it was, until I read Hugh Oxford's comment (12/3/09 23:15): "Would you have defended Hitler Youth marching through the streets of London in 1941?"
Realising that Hugh was referring not to British conscientious objectors, but to aliens whose intent was invasion and conquest, and realising that this was precisely analogous to those Muslim "protestors" in Luton, I at once realised that His Grace was perhaps mistaken in using this incident to back up his worthwhile argument.
The issue with this Luton protest (and the overwhelming public outrage against it) has little if anything to do with upholding or repressing the notion of free speech. No, this is all about our anger towards, and our resistance against, a group of aliens whose clear long-term aim is to conquer these fair Isles.
Let there be free speech (by all moderate Britons) by all means - but 'up with THIS we will not put'.

14 March 2009 at 00:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further to the above, I was sad to read that His Grace has recently complained about his website being plagued with a host of ungracious and immoderate comments, mostly in response to his posts about the Israel/Palestine situation.
His Grace's reaction to these comments: He (quite rightly, in my opinion) deleted them, and denied them their "freedom of speech". So, we see, "free speech" does have limits and boundaries. And just as His Grace is perfectly at liberty to define the boundaries of free speech within his own blogsite, and to delete undesirable/unwanted "alien" commentators, so I contend that we too, the British, may set for ourselves such boundaries, and may deem it fit to expel from our midst such undesirables, along with their noxious viewpoints.

14 March 2009 at 01:12  
Anonymous Point of order said...

But it's not a state blog, it is his Grace's blog, he too has the freedom to delete and postings he wishes.
Just as I have the right to stick my fingers in my ear and sing lalalalalalalala I'm not listening i'm not listening.

14 March 2009 at 15:08  
Blogger Hugh Oxford said...

And of course these are the very people campaigning to remove all our freedoms, including, of course, freedom of speech.

14 March 2009 at 16:38  
Anonymous barrie singleton said...

I (and others) understood that Lord Ahmed's criminal record is to be adjusted down to a suspended sentence. Why is the media not going ape as we ape those countries we used to decry for false histories? Isn't this the last refuge of a scoundrel culture?

14 March 2009 at 23:10  
Anonymous madmarvin (aus) said...

islamics refuse to abide by the laws of their supposed adoptive countries, they see non islamics as second class citizens, they want their own laws and they want to stifle OUR customs, they are in essence, traitors to their so-called adoptive countries, and as traitors they should NOT enjoy free speech or any other rights, under their law (sharia), we would have no rights at all, and it would be lawful for them to kill us, these islamic scum need to be shipped back to the lands of their descendants, and they can take their bloody converts and all the overly tolerant do-gooders with them.

15 March 2009 at 01:39  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

Just a thought, but isn't this a bit like Germans in WW2 demonstrating in our streets about the bombing of German cities. Weather one agreed with the policy or not, we certainly wouldn't have seen that happen as most of them were interned. Maybe we should intern these odious oiks or at least deport them to a place with Sharia law.

15 March 2009 at 10:42  

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