Thursday, 8 November 2007

Quote of the day

“ As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State "What does it matter to me?" the State may be given up for lost.”

Jean Jacques Rousseau

UK Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – Yet another threat to free speech

Remember the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill? It has been hanging around since 2006.

It is another of the endless series of legislation the government like to trot out to make it look as if there is any point to them - which it seems there is not, as Belgium, the heart of the EU, are about to celebrate 150 days without a government, hat tip to the ‘Looking for a Voice’ blog.

The bill is actually a multitude of barely related things, many of which it would be difficult to object to that cover for some innocently packaged bits of legislation with some dangerous consequences to liberty, if taken any distance at all.

One of the bits they are trying to slip in (and what it has to do with immigration or indeed criminal justice is difficult to see) is: “Outlawing incitement to homophobic hatred and hatred against transgender people by amending the current offence of incitement to racial hatred in the Public Order Act 1986.”

Not content with this it seems the government are actually touting for other categories of people to include such as the disabled and transsexuals, to push to 'make the case' to extend it to cover them.

On the face of it like much of New Labour’s government by facile sound bite, it sounds ok. The devil, as they say, is in the detail – Much like the ‘Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill’ and the ‘incitement to religious hatred’ tucked away in it, that could have resulted in someone criticising, or satirising religion, or some aspect of it doing 10 years in pokey.

That was rightly watered down when people realised the actual implications and what the government were trying to get away with.

So should this ‘Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill’ be.

This government has a sinister compulsion to legislate to control and criminalise social mores, manners and interactions time and time again.

What will happen to the Little England team if this new bill is enacted? They press so many of the bills buttons they could end up doing life - yet what they do actually seems to increase tolerance.

You may well think that would never be a problem, but there are people out there who seem to make a profession of being offended at the drop of a hat over anything - and there are always ambitious ‘human rights industry’ lawyers willing to try to make a name for themselves.