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Alistair Thompson: One indulgent free speech law for the extremists, another for traditionalists


Our way of life is being eroded by the tyranny of the ultra PC-Left.

Last week, saw two of the worst examples of a dangerous ideology that is doing great harm to our country.

An ideology that seeks to silence the majority through intimidation, threats and the force of the State. No I am not talking about some corrupted version of Islam, I am talking about the Left’s ultra-PC agenda that is having a chilling effect on free speech.

For last week, at the same time as the broadcasters gave massive amounts of airtime to an apologist for the evil terrorists of IS, the forces of the State arrested and prosecuted a street pastor.

That’s right. While the Left delighted in their “tolerance” by filling our TV screens with Asim Qureshi, a Muslim researcher for terrorist apologists CAGE, Mike Overd, a Christian from Somerset, began his trial for public order offences in Taunton.

While Mr Qureshi was telling us that Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John,  was “extremely gentle, kind” and “a beautiful young man”, Mr Overd was being hauled before the courts.

Mr Overd’s solicitor revealed that his client had faced five years of hostility from the police ever since he started preaching on the streets of Taunton. The solicitor even highlighted how the local force appealed to the public in a local newspaper to record him preaching so that they could get evidence of him making “offensive remarks”.

Astonishingly his crime, was not inciting violence, spewing bile against the State, or even calling on his fellow Christians to launch a crusade against Muslims, no his crime was talking about “biblical sin” and calling on those listening to return to God and the love of Jesus.

But in this strange and terrifying world we live in,  the Crown Prosecution Service could not stop themselves from bringing charges against him. You see in their mind, traditional values equal extremist views. Support the Queen, Country and institutions such as the Church and marriage and you are looked down on with utter contempt.

Those who think this an absurd suggestion need to look no further that the Overd trial. The CPS cited witnesses who said that they could not remember what was said, just that it was “offensive”. Not rude, hateful, sexist, anti-Semitic or racist, just “offensive”. Breathtaking intolerance.

Were this just an isolated case, you could possibly dismiss it, feeling sorry for this man and hoping justice will prevail. But the truth is far more troubling, because the Overd case is just one in a long list of the State using its oppressive powers to target those with “non-conformist” views.

Adrian Smith, a housing association manager from Trafford, was demoted and had his wages docked by his employer for posting a message on his personal Facebook page, which read “Gay marriage in churches, an equality too far?”, while Reverend Brian Ross was sacked as the Chaplain for Strathclyde Police for his belief in traditional marriage as was Lillian Ladelle, a registrar from Islington.

Its not just Christians who have been having their collars felt. Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested for leading a protest against a  Hizb ut Tahrir march, which was advocating killing apostates, Jews and gays.

And while a herculean effort by groups including the Christian Institute, National Secular Society and peers pressured the Government into amending the ludicrous Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act – a law that criminalised unintentional insulting language, the police now use Section 4a, which criminalises the intentional use of insulting language, ensuring many of the previous injustices will continue.

This is why we should be so concerned at the unedifying Dutch auction that  both the Conservative and Labour parties are engaged in.

Yes, they claim the new laws are needed to clamp down on extremism, but the plethora of regulations and legislation have done little to stop extremism. They have become weapons wielded by the Left to attack those they see on the Right, which really means attacking ordinary people.

Ever since the election of Tony Blair, we have seen the development of a kind of culture police. They may not wield sticks like the religious police in Iran but they have an equally damaging effect on free speech.

Offer views that run contrary to their own and you become public enemy No 1.

It is not all doom and gloom, in rare victory for common sense, the Government has just ditched plans to impose restrictions on visiting speakers at our universities that would not have looked out of place of 1930s Germany.

They would have forced every speaker to submit a full script of their speech not less than two weeks before the event and entitled the university authorities to send in an observer to monitor the meeting.

This victory, although important, only slows the ever expanding and every increasing nature of anti free speech regulations in the UK.

Regrettably, Cameron and Miliband have forgotten their history lessons. The answer to concerns about free speech is more free speech not less; after all, closing down debate and silencing criticism is exactly what the fanatics and terrorists want.

We must never forget that or give in to those who would silence us all.

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Alistair Thompson
Alistair Thompson
Alistair Thompson is a political campaigner and director of Team Britannia PR.

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