Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 7 December 2004

Who do you believe - 'Mr Bean' or David Blunkett?

We are asked by the Home Secretary to believe that a new law, which will amongst other things target "incitement to religious hatred", will not curtail free speech, whereas comedian Rowan Atkinson believes that he and others will be inhibited from using humour which satirises people's beliefs.

I would like to be able to believe what the government says about this, but the authoritarian track-record of this Home Secretary makes that an unwise thing to do, in my view. This kind of clause could all too easily have unintended consequences which it may be almost impossible to counteract by subsequent correcting legislation. Freedom of speech needs to be guarded jealously.

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