UK Human Rights – “British soldiers go to hell” and free speech

The UK Human Rights blog at is an excellent forum and what’s most it is run by barristers – well done adam, Rosalind and Angus who form the editorial team.

Date: February 21, 2011
Author: Isavel McArdle

Our reply:

There’s always a fine line between “if they don’t like the way we do things in this country then they can go back to their own” and the whole democratic process.

While we may not agree with what these people are shouting, in a free and democratic society we have to consider their right to free speech as much as the next mans right to free speech.

From a personal point of view, we support the efforts of our troops and intellectually we know that they are probably presented with situations which we can only comment upon and unless we are willing to sign up and experience it first hand, we can only offer armchair support.  We own and operate a charity shop which raises money specifically for our lads and lasses who fight for “freedom” – if only they knew….

Let it be said though that this freedom and right to free speech must extend to all equally so the removal of things like Speakers Corner and the concrete blocks placed in Parliament Square to hamper lawful protests are basic freedoms that have been removed from the people of this country unlawfully.

This trend continues unabated with CCTV camera’s invading and monitoring every more we make “for our own safety” – this is the trend that must cease.

The previous government imposed so much legislation that it is difficult to think of a situation in which one will not find oneself at odds with the law.

The current government is doing nothing to repeal those laws and the diluted efforts of the Protection of Freesoms Bill are simply not enough to restore what is rightfully ours so rather than being a “new dawn for privacy” it is simply paying lip service to the rightful concerns of law abiding free thinking men and women of this land.

DEMOCRACY = FREEDOM OF SPEECH … you may not like it but there it is.

Follow up:

To answer Lloyd Jenkins
” Are you sure it’s that simple? Democracy also includes the rights to privacy (itself often at odds with free speech), to fair trial, to life and to freedom from torture. It includes the separation of powers, secularism and the responsibility to follow the law. All of that is reflected in the ECHR and caselaw…it’s messy, you may not like it, but there it is. ”

You’ve hit the nail on the head – nothing is ever that simple but where do you draw the line; if you sanction any limitations against anyone, anywhere, then you open the floodgates for abuse and this government needs no excuse to remove our rights.

Various freedoms may be at odds with each other but no situation should exist where freedoms are removed to make life simpler.

Because I am a non-smoker does that mean that all smoking should be banned or do I stand up and advocate for the right to smoke and depend on the good judgement of smokers to not infringe my right not to smoke?

I would rather inhale a lungful or two of nicotene by way of passive smoking than open the door for self-serving and corrupt government officials to remove basic freedoms in my name.


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