THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Berlioz meets Tatchell

Sticks and stones - again

BBC News - Football fans jailed for abusive Stephen Lawrence chants.

Some thick young men have been given sentences of twelve and eighteen months for uttering bad words. They now block six prison places that could more usefully have been occupied by people convicted of violent crimes or even such crimes against property as our socialist police force can be bothered to detect.

Do I really need to say that I disapprove of the words uttered? I would certainly never invite such people to dinner. However, now that criminal records render them even less employable, we will probably be buying their dinners for a long time after they have finished their porridge. Perhaps even when they are no longer young idiots with poor taste and worse judgement and could have been useful members of society.

Man the trains with burly bouncers and chuck people off if they make a nuisance - even in ways less odious than this. If someone is provoked to violence by nasty words, let him use that provocation as a defence or mitigation when charged with assault. But let's get the criminal law out of speech please.