Originally uploaded to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5SGaMgX57U by The Free Speech Union The Law Commission, an unelected quango that proposes changes to the law – based in the monolith behind me – is proposing what it claims is a new “hate crime act”. In reality, this would be a new anti-free speech act for the UK. Freedom of expression is the central value of a democratic society – but the Law Commission’s proposals say it is merely one among “[other] rights”, and needs not take priority when “setting parameters for acceptable conduct”. Those parameters include extending the “protected characteristics”. Currently, so-called “hate speech” includes “demonstrations of hostility” to these groups (currently race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and transgender identity). The Commission wants to define more and more people by membership of such groups – it says these could include women; “age” could be a protected characteristic; even “sex workers” could become a protected identity. This means you could be convicted for “stirring up hatred” against any of these groups, facing up to seven years in jail. The Commission also discusses an offence of stirring up hatred for disseminating “inflammatory images”. Chillingly, it refers repeatedly to Mohammed cartoons like those in Charlie Hebdo. Prosecuting cartoonists like these would be an astonishing capitulation to terrorism. To police its rules, the Commission wants more surveillance of the population. Authorities have already set up “portals” online to encourage us to inform on each other for speech-crimes. The Commission wants to make this even easier, claiming there are still too many “barriers” to denunciation. But that is still not the most chilling part of these proposals. In a totalitarian society, the state tries to control how you think; and it makes sure nothing is private. First, the Commission admits it wants to control how we think, calling for us to be re-educated: The whole point of hate-crime law, it says, is to educate the public; and remind people that “negative attitudes are not acceptable”. But in a free society, the state has no business policing our thoughts. Next, hate speech laws don’t yet cover what you say in the privacy of your own home. The Commission plans to change that, so that your conversations around the dinner table could get you jailed. Proposals like these will make parents fear their own children, lest they inform on them. This is the Law Commission’s totalitarian plan for Britain.
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