Englishman Arrested For Making Mandela Joke

220px-Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)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

17 thoughts on “Englishman Arrested For Making Mandela Joke”

  1. We arrest an Englishman for a simple, non harmful, joke….but muslims get no punishment for burning poppies????? Lets get a grip!! And the Police are the worst for bad taste jokes….they call it “Black humour” yes….i do know…..i was one of them!! Lets seize every police officers phone……and more than half – yes i kid you not…..more than half will have to be sacked for racist jokes on phones!!

  2. Why doesn’t he sue for a violation of his right to free expression under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms?

  3. “Terrorist”, “War Criminal” = those not sitting in judgement of others.
    “Freedom Fighter”. “Hero”. “Military Mastermind” = those judging the others.

  4. I saw a copy of the British Constitution when I was in the toilet room at Heathrow Airport. It was rolled up on a spindle next to the toilet.

  5. This abuse in the name of tolerance produces echos across the Atlantic. Is the traditionally strong First Amendment history in America sufficient to resist this trend ?

  6. The “moral high ground” is turning into quicksand for Western Nations.

    Little wonder that all the sanctimonious proverbs are all evolving into “might makes right.”

  7. The dumb schmucks, whom we call Brits, do not have a constitution with a bill of rights. They sent some schmuck named Piers Morgan over here to pontificate on such things as the right to arm bears. Sorry, bear arms. They still have their old Queen and new generations of Royal Family to putze around on the news shows and strut their stuff for the rest of the Free World. This guy ought to deride his object of derision by calling it The Queen Bee. To be a schmuck or not to be, that is the question.

  8. That’s ok…. France issued an arrest warrant for Bob Dylan….. Something about insulting the Croatian…… How do you do that….. And across the channel in other leaking news And Englishman is arrested for making a bad joke….. Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum…. I smell the blood of an Englishman …..

  9. Another example of where the investigation is the punishment.

    From the article, it seems apparent this was based upon the arrestee’s political interests that likely made him more of a worry for whoever authorized this.

    I wonder how much of this hypersensitivity with the British gov’t is rooted in their reaction to The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

  10. I thought that poor taste was celebrated in the UK, not given a stern talking-to by the police.

  11. I don’t think that anybody realistically thought that Phillips would be prosecuted.

    This was an effort to intimidate him.

    Prosecutors know that a successful prosecution requires far more that a weak joke, but a detention, search and investigation sends a pretty clear message.

    Doesn’t take long before we self censor.

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