The problem with “hatred laws” is that if you start handing out prosecutions like sweets, there is a genuine possibility that you might end up giving the Bad Guys a propaganda coup. Case in point.
I had a horrible feeling this case was going to go badly months ago. Prosecuting someone for saying that a Muslim from somewhere in Northern England might end up setting off bombs in the UK, at a time when Muslims from Northern England have done precisely that, is not a very good idea. Proving the difference between incitement and fair comment is a legal minefield; such laws only really work as a deterrant, not as a tool for prosecuting bigots. And all too often they deter the wrong people.
Ultimately, the only solution to bigotry is to face it head-on, not try hiding behind laws which have unintended consequences.
Of course, it is good to see that the BNP are just a litigious and subsequently come a cropper too. It’s time to put an end to this socialist conformist attack on freedom of speech.
Three cheers for that. I have walked past the media and anti facist circus outside leeds crown court many times over the last few weeks. My gut instinct was that this would end badly. apart from giving the BNP acres of free press coverage, of handing them the arument that they are free speech martyrs, of validating one of there central tennants ie that the liberal establishment wants to silence them you also have to be aware that the trial has had there original racist ranting repeated on TV many times.
Establishing intent to incite violence beyong reasonable doubt was always going to be hard over a fortnight in a jury room. People who quite rightly hate the BNP and all it stands for has tried to use the criminal law to police unpleasent thoughts and it has back fired. meanwhile of course those of us quietly working in multi ethnic communities still have to struggle with the real issues of poverty and racism with non of the kudos of the “respect” brigade or media scrutiny attached to griffin and co.