THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: How They Change Their Tune

Am I alone? thinking that, once "hate speech" of any kind becomes a crime, we are doomed to tyranny by analogy? The advice given by a judge in a recent case exposes the idiocy of our present situation;

Next time, call him a fat bastard
Unless a Pakistani is inferior to an Australian or a Scotsman, why would it be worse to call someone a "Paki" than an "Aussie" or a "Jock?" There may (perhaps) be some argument for outlawing incitement to attack someone, but mere vulgar abuse should not be a crime.

Surely the only "racism" involved in the witch-hunts against some "Big Brother" contestants and Janet Street-Porter is the implicit assumption that the supposed "victims" are so pathetic as to need special protection from hurt feelings?

Are the people on the receiving end of naughty words diminished? Or are the people uttering them? The answer is obvious. So what evil is avoided by criminalising words? The "aggravated public order offence" with which Janet Street-Porter has been charged does nothing to protect anyone from anything. It only exists so that some politician can say he was "right on" on the subject of racism. A slight additional benefit is that a notable leftist prig has been hoist with her own petard.

Whatever happened to the advice we used to give crying children, to say;

sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?
By protecting certain groups against hearing bad of themselves, we are making them into permanent victims. Call someone a racist, a homophobe or an islamophobe in Britain and you have effectively shut down all discussion. These accusations are now so serious that people will go to great lengths to avoid them - even if that means steering clear of all who might make them.

That's why I believe the race relations industry has made the situation worse. After all, whatever heated words were really uttered over Janet Street-Porter's back fence, they would not have led to an arrest had her neighbour been white. She claims she has been falsely denounced. Whatever the truth of her situation - once you have "thought crimes" - false denunciations are a serious risk. Ask anyone who lived through Communism in Eastern Europe.

I have been accused of racism in the past few days on the pages of this blog. My contempt for the weaklings who resort to such techniques is boundless. Shouting abuse does not constitute an argument, whether you cry "Paki!" or "racist!" Those who resort to it are at best to be pitied and at worst to be despised. Sadly, in modern Britain, these feeble-minded slogan-yellers must also now be feared.

The inarticulate "celebrities" who, to the delight of the baying mob, will now probably be arrested on leaving the "Big Brother" house have been set up. Ask yourself cui bono? and the answer is clear. Endemol has rescued the ratings of its contemptible TV show. The show's producers granted the actress alleged to be the victim in the "Big Brother" case special privileges. They matched a beautiful authentic film star with a bunch of D-listers. They well knew it would stir resentments. The actress (accurately) called those housemates "ignorant". Their response was predictable. Endemol could not be happier tonight and will milk this story for all it's worth. The "right on" MP's who are wasting the legislature's time with calls for debate are putting money in their pockets.

The British working classes are not, as a whole, racist. I grew up among them. Treat them right and they will treat you right too, whatever ethnic group you may belong to. Call them names and they will call you names back. What of it? The real tragedy is that these women are inarticulate because they are uneducated. They are not uneducated because they are working class. My working class ancestors may not have had money, but they were polite and read real books. My working class colleagues in Russia read very serious books indeed. These ladies are uneducated because Labour destroyed our education system. They have been held to no standards of any kind and are proud of their ignorance.

Be that as it may, none of us should be held accountable for words uttered in heat. All of us have said things to our loved ones, in anger, that we did not mean. Should we hold people to a higher standard when dealing with strangers? Of course not.

I fear that the current stories will be used to justify yet more ridiculous laws; yet more aggressive witch hunts. The white working classes of Britain will be further demonised to justify more restrictions on freedom of speech.

The humane and intelligent Jewish comedian Jackie Mason expressed my view of these matters recently when interviewed about Mel Gibson's alleged drunken anti-Semitic outburst;

Let's be honest about it -- anybody who makes a life out of fighting racism in effect has to blow up racism in order to justify himself in his job he has. Otherwise he'd have to go to work. Otherwise he'd have to get up in the morning and get a real job