Rowan Atkinson on Reform Section 5
His Grace deeply desires to be mocked, criticised and insulted. Not gratuitously, of course, but rather upon the matter of his opinions or beliefs - political or religious - because mockery, criticism or insult are often the means by which those opinions may be changed or beliefs develop and mature. He doesn't enjoy having his feelings hurt, but feelings are the pathway to the spirit and may naturally disturb the mind toward deeper reflection.
To outlaw 'insulting words or behaviour' - as Section 5 of the Public Order Act does - is to inhibit freedom of speech and impinge upon freedom of expression. Since its entry into statute, there has been a rather chilling effect on these freedoms, such that people have been arrested for (peaceably) calling Scientology a 'cult'; questioning the value of a hijab; screening New Testament texts in a cafe; displaying a sign which said homosexual conduct is immoral; objecting to seal-culling; placing a sign in a window which says ‘religions are fairy stories for adults’; and calling a police horse 'gay'.
According to Section 5, a person is guilty of an offence if (s)he uses abusive or insulting words (orally or written) 'within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby'.
It is difficult to measure such subjective reactions, but basically it means you can no longer tell people what you really think about Islam, homosexuality or the police. Criminal law rightly protects individuals against unjust discrimination, incitement and violence. But it is unacceptable that it has moved into areas of annoyance, disturbance and inconvenience. The law should punish violence or the threat of violence; it should not be used to protect us from having our feelings hurt, especially since people may manifestly choose of their own volition to be offended.
In fact, His Grace is rather offended that you are offended. But he, being Christian, is sure to get short shrift in a court of law.