Monday, November 16, 2009

Government backs down on 'free speech' amendment

The government has now backed down on the attempt to remove the so called free speech amendment inserted into the legislation in a previous session.

I am sorry to say that, though I oppose the amendment, I think it was a mistake to try to reverse it as the Government did not have the votes in the House of Lords and it was never likely to win on the issue.

The 'free speech' amendment is not needed and is unhelpful. On the other hand there have been instances where people's misguided and no doubt intolerant speech has been investigated by the police, thus giving ammunition for the Christian right in Parliament (admittedly from a mere handful of unrepresentative instances).

And of course the Christian Right in the UK has not been in a rush to defend freedom of speech when under attack in Uganda, just to give one example so their attachment to the principle of freedom of expression is more synthetic and tactical than real.

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