We have been discussing the alarming erosion of free speech principles in England in recent years. This trend includes both humorous and political speech. Now a sandwich shop owner has been arrested, his computer seized, and questioned for hours because he merely made a joke about Nelson Mandela. Neil Phillips, 44, was not charged but the message clear: even jokes are now subject to criminal investigation if deemed insulting by the police or sensitive public members.
Phillips was writing about his problems with his computer online when he quipped “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.” A reference to how Mandela defied many predictions by holding on for months before passing away.
Phillips was arrested at his home on September 10th and faced intense interrogations over his comments on the Rugeley Soap Box website. He obviously told them that it was a joke and, while they may not find it funny, it was a joke. That was not enough and his computer was searched and he was held by police.
As noted in the story below, he is not alone in being interrogated over jokes.
I am astonished that the erosion of free speech has continued unabated in England with such a long and large civil liberties movement. We have seen the same disturbing trend in France. The West is standing at a crossroads and the implications for civil liberties could not be greater. Yet, we are seeing free speech dying in the West with nary a whimper of regret. Phillips may be no standup comedian but he is no criminal. The fact that he was searched and interrogated is certainly no laughing matter.
Source: Daily Mail