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‘No right to not be offended’, says Tatchell

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  1. Yawn – clearly P. Tatchell feels he isn’t getting enough press coverage. Talk about sinkin to new depths.

    Your past it Peter, give up and let someone more meaningful take over, preferably someone who’ll stand up better for gay rights and values without feelin ashamed of them!

  2. On a similar point, Anjem Choudary, who want to install sharia law in the UK, is apparently crying foul over the ban his organisation is facing, saying this morning on the Today programme, apparently with a straight face and no sense of irony whatsoever, that it is “a failure for the concepts of democracy and freedom”…

    I think that’s called having your cake and it, Mr Choudary!

  3. Lead the way Squidgy, why don’t you?

  4. They also had banners outside the hearing saying what we can do with our freedoms. Deport these men and have done!

  5. Kris Jones 12 Jan 2010, 1:48pm

    It may be a hackneyed expression, I subscribe to the view that with freedom comes responsibility. Just because one can shout “fire” in a crowded cinema doesn’t mean one should.

  6. Sorry peter, I disagree! They would not stand in court for the judge which constitutes contempt of court and the person of HMQ for whom the Judge stands. They don’t like our country but I am sure they like the money (who is paying their £500? The tax payer no doubt!) If you don’t like it, please leave the UK and let us get on with our lives thank you!

  7. BrazilBoysBlog 12 Jan 2010, 2:11pm

    Very distasteful though it is, I have to agree with Peters broad points. We are supposed to be a democracy, where does it all end? As Peter said, no one has an automatic right ‘not to be offended’. If that is the case, I’m sure there are plenty of people who would line-up to be ‘offended’ with some of our ‘pro gay rights’ demonstrations/Pride parades?

    I agree that it is unpalatable, these muslim extremists are sick fu’ks, but unless someone atually advocates violence or murder, there should be no prosecutions for free speech.

    It’s a difficult one, but whilst it’s okay to have a big stick…Just make sure that someone else doesn’t end-up using it to beat YOU with!

  8. Peter Tatchell is spot on. THis is a stupid verdict. It’s time we too on these idiots – ridicule them, debate them – no point in banning opinion. It doesn’t make it go away by magic.

    We should defend civil liberties first – if we sacrifice them at the first opportunity, the fanatics have won.

  9. Peter is right, these laws against thoughts and words likely to do something are ridiculous, how does someone know if anyone else is going to be offended, and why should it be illegal to offend someone?
    Perhaps if the police had let the friends of the soldiers “debate” with them and then ask a jury to convict anyone who was alleged to have harmed them, things may have been different, and we might have seen how devout to the sharia cause these Muslims would have been when a group of squaddies gave chase.
    However, the police do not do such things, they only stand back and laugh when elected BNP MEPs are being attacked, or threaten to arrest M&S models.

    Scum as these people are, they should not be prosecuted for thoughts and words, but should be for incitement to violence. And as they are all on benefits should they not be “actively looking for work”, not protesting?

    Nick them for benfit fraud, much easier threshold.

  10. Jean-Paul Bentham 12 Jan 2010, 3:04pm

    I can see AdrianT’s point, but only if moderate Muslims join in the debate. We don’t and can’t possibly know, how a fanatical Muslims thinks and is capable of twisting things around to drive us crazy. Moderate Muslims know all about the extremist mentality.

    Maybe moderate Muslims are active and articulate in the UK, but I have yet to see them in action.

  11. the.kitty.channel 12 Jan 2010, 3:19pm

    re. the posting by JPB (12 January, 15.04). I’m no expert on this, and I hold no brief for any faith, nevertheless it’s a fact that the Muslim Council of Britain did, on 28 December 2009, post a statement: “Attempted Airline Bombing Condemned by Muslim Community – The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) strongly condemns the alleged attempted bombing aboard an airliner in Detroit, USA on Christmas Day. The connections to the UK are equally disturbing and today the MCB urged calm on all sides. […] [MCB spokesman said:] “Terror and violence is not the way to convey a message however legitimate the cause may be. It is totally counter-productive.” […] [The press release continues:] The overwhelming majority of Muslims have no truck with extremists. […] The actions of one misguided individual should not tarnish the reputation of the majority. We will let terrorists win if bigotry is allowed to flourish.” [ source: http://mcb.org.uk/media/presstext.php?ann_id=381 ].

  12. There is no “right” to freedom of speech if it is used to stir hatred or cause offense. You can’t have people walking around saying what they want about others. We have ways of conveying misgivings or concerns for the different aspects of society.

  13. everything has a line, and somewhere it has to be drawn. Usally I agree with Peter but in this case I dont. When would he draw the line. Now or if they did get into power, when they stoned to death the first gay man?.

  14. When you have to resort to defending terrorists rather than our troops abroad then you lose any credibility
    These people don’t even believe in our laws, they simply look for loopholes to get their twisted message across

    And if they do get their way and get Sharia in this country then do you expect a thankyou Pete?
    They will execute all of us and silence the women
    Use your F*ckin brain before you say something!

    Tatchell doesn’t speak for us, he speaks for himself

  15. The blame does not lie with these Muslims who are exercising their cultural instinct through their words and behaviour. No, the blame lies entirely with New Labour which has let mass immigration reach such uncontrolled levels wherein minorities like Muslims have reached such numbers that they feel empowered, not to mention entitled, to rage against their host nation. As more and more enter Europe and give birth here Islamification will continue, but it is the politicians, not the Muslims themselves – encouraged by the ease of entry and an automatic right to endless welfare benefits – who are to blame. Mass immigration, sold to us under the glamorous cover of “multiculturalism”, of course serves to keeps the masses divided and further dilutes Britain’s cultural identity, therefore making us easier to control. No wonder the traitors in Whitehall can’t wait for our population to hit 70 million.

  16. If the government wants more terrorist acts to take place then they are going about it in the right way forcing these people underground and back into the shadows will result in more terrorist acts!

    However if the government wants to keep an eye on them, then they must allow them to protest.

    Banning there organizations will force these people to come up fighting with bombs and not words!

  17. I actualy agree with Peter We (dare i say it…) as a comunity canot have our cake and eat it. The Brazil boys blog seem to understand the point that he is making. You canot make rules for one and then change them for otheres By doing so you play right into the hands of the extrimest, christian or muslim
    Im pleased to see that the MCB has started to realise that THEY need to be seen conding the actions of some of thier comunity and i hope this will grow

    Hey Rob i wonder who you vote for ? Please try to remeber that we are a minority…

  18. Bishop Ioan 12 Jan 2010, 5:36pm

    I believe that if these people don’t like the UK, take a hike back to where they came from. It is past time to start cracking down on these fanatics.

    I’ve noticed that you never hear a word from moderate Muslims. Why is that? If they don’t want to be lumped in with the fanatics, now might be a good time to speak up. I suspect they have been terrorized into silence–either that or they know that the Qu’aran tends to back up those of the Islamist persuasion.

  19. I’ve never understood how come the UK lets these islamic extremists and potential murderers to enter the country to spread all the hate and take up british nationality, while on the other side the british goverment denies access to gay asylum seekers whose lives are in legit danger back in their native countries…

  20. This organisation is to be banned for saying that “our brave boys” murder children – anyone who has watched even the highly manipulated reports from Iraq and Afghanistan – Christ the RAF even admitted killing a child with a pile of propaganda leaflets . Of course, some racists on this website will say that killing a few thousand foreign children is a price worth (their) paying but no one can doubt “our brave boys” spend their time abusing civilians and that those, like Tatchell, who resit the racist moves of our Government must be silenced.

  21. Tigra “Tatchell doesn’t speak for us, he speaks for himself”. Who the hell are you calling “us”? As an anti-racist I would hate be be part of whatever group you belong to. You don’t speak for me or anyone other than your dodgy skinhead pals.

  22. The Menstruator 12 Jan 2010, 6:31pm

    i think bell hooks put it best? in order for any revolution, free speech is always the first to be protected. without it no message will get across, whether you agree w/ the message or not.

  23. I completely agree with Peter here.

    Civil rights must be upheld for all, no matter how distasteful the remarks.

  24. No Andrew Q, there is every right to cause offence. Thankfully so.

  25. I’m in two minds about this whole free speech thing. Take for example the case of Michael Savage, the Homophobic shock jock who’s banned from entering the country. Now if he hadn’t been banned, chances are we’d be asking “Michael who?” as I wouldn’t even know him from Adam and he certainly wouldn’t be getting his own radio show on any mainstream UK channels. He’d just be another anonymous redneck wingnut. Nick Griffin got as far as Question Time but was generally ripped a new one, as the public weren’t impressed.
    But it requires a leap of faith that the public will always vote for what’s best. Hitler’s final solution wouldn’t have really caught on without a certain propaganda minister called Goebbells, and the infamous Milgram experiment is another example of how an authority figure can make otherwise rational people fall in line and do irrational barbaric things.
    And then there’s the argument that by shutting down free speech you can’t debate the point and it merely forces fanaticism underground. And also the notion that gagging those we don’t like can backfire when it’s the fanatics calling the shots. So where do we draw the line? The Nuremberg rally?
    I don’t think there’s a clear yes or no answer to this one, it’s always struck me as a philosophical grey area. And all this fencesitting is making my backside sore!

  26. nostroanus 12 Jan 2010, 8:16pm

    Peter is not the oracle and he is clearly wrong on this one . He believes in free speech which any right minded person does. However dont you think it is a question of Where free speech takes place. If the queen was giving a broadcast would you think its okay for muslim extremists to demand a platform at that broadcast. No . of course not. If the Phelps clan want to shout homphobis slogans at your gay partners funeral, would you say its their free speech….no.If muslims fanatics want to upstage a welcome home for the troops should they…bloody hell no.
    Hitler was given a platform for free speech and look what happened millions dead. Britain is so fascist…not.
    sorry Peter. your mantra of free speech is fine but becoming blinkered.

  27. How about giving terrorists a prime time TV slot. That would preclude all acts of violence wouldnt IT!

  28. Adrian T – How so?

  29. Well Adrian,

    some of the threads on her seem to think that giving a platform to fanatics will reduce terrorism as the would be terrorist will feel he is being listened to. Hence my sarcastic comment that giving them a mainstream platform like a TV show would satisfy them. hitler had lots of opportunities to express himself but that didnt stop him from being the terrorist from hell.

  30. Nostroanus supports free speech (like “any right minded person”) but thinks that organisations should be banned for exercising that right – yeah, right!

  31. Never mind “offence”. It’s time to dust off the old treason laws

  32. Angelica,
    you seem pretty dogmatic in your belief and do not seem to engage in an argument. you just take a dogmatic view and stick to it. you did not take on board the argument that Nostroanus was making. that free speech is fine, but what if it actively prevents others free speech. that is harrassment! but that okay….yeah right. i seem also to remember you made a nasty little comment about the heiress who recently died from an OD. I can see why you love free speech.

  33. so, remember a couple of months ago when a woman murdered her disabled daughter then killed herself because the yobs of her housing estate were exercising their free speech to make her life unbearable? Yes, people have a right to be offended and they have a right to be protectd from that offence. From playground bullies to housing estate bullies, to office bullies, to borderline terrorists insulting every citizen of this country by claiming their offense is free speech.

  34. Peter is right. I am tired of the one-sided vitriol of so-called liberals on this site (see the campaign to push Mrs Robinson to No.1). That’s not liberalism it’s liberal totalitarianism. It’s patently absurd to claim the right to free speech without offence. In all societies there will be extremes of opinion – it’s where the majority sit on the axis that determines it’s moral health. And to draw a line between Hitler’s rhetoric and active Nazism is willfully naive and shows a poor understanding of history – speech and action are distinct. That’s the beauty of free will.

  35. I completely agree with Peter Tatchell on this. The judgement was unsound, and it’s important it’s overturned quickly.

    Even in this particular case, there is a public interest in allowing people to voice strong protest about lots of aspects of what happened in Iraq. It seems that the illegal war cost over a million lives, and the coverage for every Iraqi death is outstripped a thousand times over by every British serviceman’s death. The British army, albeit that they were a tool of the British government, *did* kill women and children, *did* use cluster bombs in civilian areas, etc.

  36. So you two think its ok to bully people until they commit suicide because that’s free speech?

  37. Peter Tatchell 13 Jan 2010, 1:44am

    It is a sometimes difficult task to balance rights and responsibilities but I believe we should generally err on the side of freedom.

    I lived through the Australian version of red-baiting McCarthyism in the 1960s. I was a victim of it, because I opposed anti-Aboriginal racism and the war in Vietnam. I am therefore very reluctant to support diminutions of free speech, apart from false defamations and threats or incitements to violence.

    I also remember, unlike some people on this thread, that only four decades ago gay rights marches and advocacy of gay equality used to be restricted on the grounds that they were offensive etc.

    I am conscious that my formulations are imperfect. But I would rather a bit of imperfection, even inconsistency, than surrender to those who want to curtail free speech in ways that may be well intended but which inadvertently pave the way for the state to decide what is acceptable speech.

    The criminalisation of disagreeable opinions is a step too far.

    Free speech means nothing unless it includes free speech for those with whom we disagree.

    There is no right to not be offended, since almost any idea can be offensive to someone. Many of the greatest thinkers in history have caused insult and offence, including Galileo Galilei and Charles Darwin – as well as gay rights pioneers such as Edward Carpenter and Magnus Hirschfeld.

    The five convicted Islamists would like to censor us and put us on trial. We should not stoop to their level of intolerance.

    Democracy is superior to their proposed theocratic state and we need to prove it by demonstrating that we allow objectionable opinions and contest them by debate, not by repression and censorship.

    I strongly disagree with these men and their fundamentalist religion. They seek to establish an Islamist dictatorship in the UK.

    I reject the hatred and religious tyranny they espouse. They oppose women’s rights, gay equality, people of other faiths and Muslims who do not conform to their hard-line interpretation of Islam.

    But I defend their right to express their opinions, even though they are offensive and distressing to many people.

    Insult and offence are not sufficient grounds in a democratic society to criminalise words and actions.

  38. Ladyfriend 13 Jan 2010, 2:02am

    what they did wasn’t free speech. It was treason.

  39. Well, I’m exercising my right of free speech to disagree with Peter Tatchell and everyone who agrees with him. These people are bullies. Stonewall spends all that time and money campaigning against bullies in school, the workplace and so on, and yet supports THESE bullies who take their objectionable behaviour to the streets of Luton and other towns.

  40. Democracy is a “MYTH.” We have never lived in a true democracy. All our rights and freedoms have been eroded for years. Now the gay community has added to it. For example: All our CHOICES is life have been eroded in the name of equality and discrimination. People cannot make choices any more because it could offend others. We are becoming very communist, now. Shame on the gay community.

  41. Andrew Q – well there is no law against hurt feelings. To some people, for instance, the sight of 2 gay people showign offection hurts feelings. Whose feelings are superior?

    Free speech should be allowed in all but exceptinoal cases (shouting fire in a crowded theatre; incitement to violence etc). Otherwise, simply argue it out.

  42. …or are you going to ban the Bible for incitement to homophobic violence, (the gospel of st john) antisemitism, abuse of children and women and celebrating genocide?

  43. Crime1234management 13 Jan 2010, 5:47am

    I live on their doorstep. They can walk up and down and call out as much as they like as far as I’m concerned.
    It wasn’t so long ago that those “deviates” Gays wasn’t allowed to have a say.

    Once you start taking away people’s rights there’s no turning back. We all know the old story:

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.

    blah blah blah freedom of speech matters..

    Governments are not to be trusted when taken away people’s rights.

    Let them walk up and down streets let them call out.
    Then let other people walk up and down the street let other people call out about them.

  44. On balance I guess I’m coming round to the idea of free speech being like traffic wardens, it’s occasionally a pain in the backside but I’d miss it if it didn’t exist as more often than not it’s for my own good.
    I think I’m also gaining some insight into what John Stuart Mill really meant by “The harm principle” here, so thankyou to everyone for your contributions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech#Limitations_on_freedom_of_speech

  45. “I also remember, unlike some people on this thread, that only four decades ago gay rights marches and advocacy of gay equality used to be restricted on the grounds that they were offensive etc”

    For P. Tatchell to use this as an arguement to support Islamic extremists is Extremely worrying. Sure gay people went through this but for our right to freedom not for a right to remove freedoms of which these extremists want to rally for. ‘Freedoms burn in hell’ read there banners. It is Their freedom to go to a country that accommidates the ways they want. To use the gay fight for freedoms in the same context as these Islamic extremists that want gays put to death, women to be silent, covered up with no rights is just wrong and disturbing, let alone dangerous. With this kind of attitude there will be riots as true British people fight for the right to remain free from the every increasing threat of extremists in this country. In the US there biggest worry is that with Europes birth rates going down and an increase in Muslims, Europe in 50 year with be mostly a Muslim state. That means all gay rights and gay people will loose all right and probably be put to death.

    I’d much rather have a Christian presence in the UK that we can argue and slate but have the freedoms to do it than an homophobic Islamic state that forbids it.

  46. Give free speech to people who wish to remove that right! Yeah right. Can people be that naive?

  47. No it should NOT be allowed. What sort of word do you want to live in? You can’t just go around saying what you want. There is NO freedom of speech. Not in such a public way.

  48. I’m with a lot of people here. I’m stuck. I totally support free speech, but does that give someone the right to call me a “f_cking f_ggot”? Where does free speech end, and abuse begin?

  49. I agree with Peter Tachell but I don’t agree about his view about the Luton protests. There is a time and a place to let your view be heard. At a memorial march is not one of them, and had they done it any other day, say near parliament, I would not have supported their arrest

  50. P.S. And I agree with Andy Q. I’m sure that calling people “baby killers” or “f_cking f_ggots” amounts to abuse.

  51. Paul, the difference between calling “our brave boys” baby killers and calling RobN a faggot is that “our brave boys” do kill babies which RobN is not a faggot – so the former is merely a statement of fact while the latter is abuse.

  52. With an estimated 1,000,000 Iraqis killed since March 2003 on the back of a lie and many babies among them, has no one paused to consider that these so-called extremists and preachers may actually have a point?

  53. The difference being than innocent people are sadly killed and while that is wrong they are by accident. Suicide bombers on the otherhand go out to target and kill anyone in their path and as many as possible, deliberately! Maybe the likes of Angelica would prefer that and live in a place with no rights. If so please feel free to move to such place as via your wishes.

  54. Angelica, you have a real issue with the British armed forces. Why?

  55. Crime1234management 13 Jan 2010, 2:09pm

    ZzZzZzZ.

    This is a little boy who’s making telephone calls to that super International terrorist
    The BBC’s super international terrorist. He is a bit tired his been in bed all day.
    I wouldn’t take much notice of the BBC if I were you.

    Islam4uk Phone call

  56. Sister Mary clarence 13 Jan 2010, 7:01pm

    “…or are you going to ban the Bible for incitement to homophobic violence, (the gospel of st john) antisemitism, abuse of children and women and celebrating genocide?”

    Haven’t enough people on here advocated prosecution for inciting hate when we are attacked by God botherers.

    Personally if my son had been sent off to another country to fight in a war, as required to do when you sign up to fight for your country and he got killer – if some little waster started parading up and down my street called my dead child a murderer, I’d probably find it just as offensive as the same waster hurling homophobic abuse at me when I was out buying a pint of milk.

    Peter seems to thing the first is ok, but I’m fairly sure he’s not quite so comfortable with the latter.

    Hate comes in different forms, and the law either protects us from it or it doesn’t. Whatever we decide, it needs to be consistent.

  57. Rose, if I have to explain why baby killers are problematic you are too corrupt to believe.

  58. Sister Mary clarence 14 Jan 2010, 10:44am

    Angelica, do you really think that all British soldiers are baby killers? From a member of a community that has historically be damned by sweeping generalisation its a bit of an obtuse view.

    When for example the British army is sent to carry out humanitarian assistance work (i.e. Haiti, or Sumatra after the tsunami) do you really believe they are there killing babies?

  59. angelica, have you actually been there to witness this Herod like behaviour? If not, then stop listening to propoganda from people like Choudry. That’s all it is.

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