I applaud the stance of Google and its subsidiary YouTube in response to the demands of the mob outside their offices in London yesterday. I worry that their stance might be less tough if they were headquartered anywhere but in the United States, where the constitution strongly protects free speech. Or for that matter if Google had not been founded by a Russian who knows from family experience what totalitarianism feels like. If Google were run by woolly-minded Old Etonians with more manners than ethics, who knows how it might have reacted?
Of course I respect the rights of primitive and backward people with no concept of the importance of free speech to call for films to be banned. All I ask from them in return is that they respect my right to call them primitive and backward for doing so, without whingeing about "hate speech" or (ludicrously) equating my stance with "terrorism." I can't help but be ashamed of them when they are my fellow citizens however. Nor can I help being even more ashamed of the fellow-member of the legal profession speaking for them. How did such a sorry creature ever obtain admission to the Bar?
Most of all though I am worried that my country's constitution does not protect such vital rights. They can be so easily lost at any time by politicians pandering to such people. Politicians, perhaps, with more manners - or more ideology - than ethics.