British Home Secretary Faces Hate Speech Complaint Over Immigration Speech

amber_rudd_2016We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). Now a recent complaint filed by a professor against Home Secretary Amber Rudd illustrates vividly how hate speech has become for some people an extension of political disagreements.  The complaint by Prof Joshua Silver, an astrophysicist, will not result in any serious investigation but it was recorded as a hate crime allegation under the existing standards.  We recently discussed the criminal charges brought against a conservative Dutch politician.

Silver is an example of how people who abandoned free speech values in seeking to silence or punish those with whom they disagree.  It is particularly chilling to see an academic adopt such an anti-free speech position but we have seen the same trend on U.S. campuses with academics leading the fight to curtail or prohibit speech.  He told BBC News: “Some politicians have been using hate crime as an instrument to foster support for their political aims.”

A glance at the hate speech laws explains why Professor Silver thought that he could punish those with differing views.  Public Order Act 1986 prohibits, by its Part 3, expressions deemed hateful on the basis of color, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins. Section 18 includes any speech revealing an intent “to stir up racial hatred, or . . . having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.”  The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 prohibits language that “uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.”  Thus, insulting people is enough to trigger a sanction.

Here is Professor Silver speaking on his own behalf:

79 thoughts on “British Home Secretary Faces Hate Speech Complaint Over Immigration Speech”

  1. Some legal genius needs to turn this folderol around and claim these sorts of “hate speech” complaints and prosecutions are nothing more than legal bullying. That’ll give those libs a taste of their own medicine.

  2. When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men seek to perpetrate an unjust ‘status quo’, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.

    – Martin Luther King Jr

  3. Dear Prof Turley:

    I love your comments, but YOU SERIOUSLY NEED A COPY EDITOR. Lots of typos, spelling errors (some induced by voice-recognition software), and other glitches. They detract from your work. I am looking at your post on the British Home Secretary: It fails to bury the web links, making it virtually unreadable. And it’s on a critical topic: “hate speech.”

    Please get someone to review your column for 15 minutes before it goes final. YOU ARE A GREAT CIVIL LIBERTARIAN, MOST SERIOUSLY NEEDED IN THESE PARLOUS TIMES.


    Alan B. Burdick Hawaii

    On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 8:06 AM, JONATHAN TURLEY wrote:

    > jonathanturley posted: “We have previously discussed the alarming rollback > on free > speech rights in the West, particularly in France (” >

  4. Mike A, Indeed. Controls on speech have historically come from both ends of the political spectrum. But you are doing a classic Captain Renault if you pretend not to see the current assault is from the left.

  5. What we are seeing is the criminalization and forced silence of conservatives. This s is the side of Progressivism, consistent throughout its history, that I dislike-the force of their opinions upon others.

    Here we have the common sense statement that immigration must be managed so that it does not harm the economy or jobs market. But open borders is a Progressive idea, which has become weaponized.

    Here in the US, if you oppose illegal immigration but support legal immigration, you are racist. If you cite crime by illegal aliens you are racist. Your company may be boycotted, you may lose your job, you will not be allowed to speak at a university, and there are calls from the Left for similar hate speech laws, defined by government, which will one day criminalize anti-Progressive ideas.

    It sounds so reasonable, fighting hate speech. But what happens when a government gains the power to define hate speech? Eventually you get a tyrant who defines anti-government speech as criminal.

    We erode our First Amendment at our peril.

    1. Karen S:

      The criminalization of speech is hardly a “progressive” invention. It tends to occur wherever either a government or a politically powerful and socially favored group feels threatened. That is why I abhor the very notions of “hate speech” and “hate crimes.” The danger comes from both the left and the right.

      1. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely. That truth applies to all political parties.

        Although Progressivism tries to enforce its ideas through government, if you gave any government of any party too much power over individuals it would abuse it and turn to tyranny. That was the threat of an uber Presidency.

  6. “Hate Speech” is becoming an element of the latest manifestation of Political Crime.

  7. “Some politicians have been using hate crime as an instrument to foster support for their political aims.”

    Hate speech is the entire basis for war and the primary tool used to harden military recruits. It is the basis for torture and imprisonment. Without hate speech how would men justify attacking defenseless people??

    1. DL,

      I think this is a point worth considering. Hate speech is an important part of ginning up war with all the horror that comes with it, including torture.

      If you look at the US, USGinc. always portrays the person in charge of a country whose nation’s resources we want as very bad, evil, corrupt and despicable. The same holds true of torture. Rumsfield said the people we tortured (and are still torturing) and detained without trial were the “worst of the worst”. He included in that group, people who were innocent of any crime, far from a battlefield, who were turned over to US forces for a $5000.00 reward. Often they were just people in the general area of our troops who had been trained with hate speech to regard the civilian population as enemies, no matter what they actually were engaged in.

      I agree, part of getting ordinary women and men to commit horrific acts of violence is indoctrination using hate speech. It’s also interesting to think about what made those who order war and torture want to have others engage in those acts. Were they also exposed to hate speech? Did Obama learn somewhere as a child that people in Africa and Muslims in general are worthy of death, false imprisonment without trial and torture? Did Bush? Who taught that to both Clintons? Who has taught Trump so that he also recommends torture along with these prior war criminals? They did not get these ideas on their own. Even though they thoroughly embrace them now, I think they must have learned this cruelty.

      So the question becomes, if hate speech does cause many powerful people to go off the deep end and start ordering murder and torture. If ordinary women and men can be brought to the point of following these orders through a process of indoctrination and fear, which does include dehumanizing the chosen “enemy”, what would be the solution?

      I believe the solution is in part, exposure to other ideas. Part of the murderous nature of oligarchs is they have washed their hands of ordinary people. They care nothing for us. The know little about us and basically we are just tools to be used by them. However, there were times when elites worked with ordinary people and this made them into greater pacifists. Many elites bugged out of WWII, but still, because there was a draft and social pressure to go they did intermix with the “lower” classes. They formed friendships. Many of these elites stopped their practice of using the “lower” classes as tools. They understood the lies of war and the consequences of it. They spoke out.

      This same was true of war resisters. Classes came together for a common purpose, with a common purpose. So yes, hate speech has real power but the corollary is also true. Speech in favor of our common humanity, in favor of justice is equally powerful. We see this on MLK day. Many people hated this man and the rights of Black citizens, yet many were moved to act for justice. Speech is best countered by speech. We do a disservice to ourselves to believe only hate speech can motivate the actions of our heart and mind. Justice moves us to act.

  8. It continually amazes me how no matter what JT is writing about someone will always find a way to attack Trump. How about some of you move along from denial to acceptance?

    1. I firmly believe in freedom of the press and will not blindly accept efforts to curtail it.

      1. Is that the buzzword from SecProgr central for today? OIK the rest of us can relax. Same crap different day. nothing new here.

      2. @Goldie – Freedom of the press also demands some responsibility towards objectivity, a trait sorely lacking in the majority of the press.

      3. Trump is just cutting the head off the snake that is the corporate owned and controlled mass media. He’s not looking to take away the power of the free and independent press to do its job. Essentially, he is encouraging the rise of independent journalism in raw form by reducing the power and leverage of the corporate apparatus MSM that spins everything into oblivion and then spits it out in opinionated form usually with a liberal bias.

        1. Seriously he likes Fox except for Meghan and she is leaving and he hires staff from that operation. News Corp is a very large corporate media company. Ruport Murdoch runs a media empire. Now when it comes to the smaller operations he favors those that are his propaganda arms like Breitbart.. Don’t think he cares much for Buzzfeed.

        2. Bob – the presstitudes were very happy when the Motion Picture Academy added new “members” to diversify. I just don’t understand why the WH Press corps (yes, I know how to pronounce the word) wants to stay so small.

      1. Concentrate, Joe. The topic of the post is a British professor filing a criminal complaint against a cabinet minister for making a speech. (For fairly innocuous statements in that speech).

    2. No kidding. Goldie, how much do you make to troll this blog with your anti-Trump assigned talking points? I could use a side gig. FFS.

      1. Not a dime….. dedicated to the resistance. Glad you think they are talking points as I just make them up as I go along. 🙂

  9. “Donald Trump is fulfilling the role of an authoritarian demagogue so thoroughly that if this whole disaster was a movie, it would be criticized for being too lazily formulaic and cliched. His frequently-expressed hostility toward the media comes right out of a well-worn copy of The Dictator’s Playbook, and he has repeatedly revealed himself to be an enemy of a free press. The latest example comes as Trump and his team attempt to alienate the media from the White House by shutting down the press room, which has been in operation since the Nixon years. Trump’s war on the press is also attracting candidates to his administration who are helping PEOTUS devise ways to make journalists’ jobs harder, including by mandating that those who cover the White House undergo biannual drug tests.” Drug testing for journalists? As a punishment? Free Speech?

    1. The article was about the reduction of free speech rights in the UK and EU. Neither the UK nor EU have anything to do with your animus towards Trump. And in no way does removing the press pool from the WH do anything to restrict their right to publish any article they so choose. It is not as if those journalists now have the free run of the WH. Journalists managed to cover the POTUS for 200 years before Nixon without having a desk in the WH. Surely with the advent of technology, it will be even easier for them than it was for their predecessors. Obama only gave press conferences to pool reporters 4 times, preferring to give interviews (with questions approved in advance). We were all still well informed on what the administration was doing (in spite of the press pool’s resentment over the limited number of press conferences). By the way, that too was a departure from the way HIS predecessors interacted with the media. I don’t remember complaints from the public, only the media was hostile about it.

      1. The reporters are alarmed about the exclusion and also the proposed drug testing by King Trumplethinskin the Orange. Maybe he will move Infowars and RT into the West Wing.

        1. Trump is looking to expand press access beyond the corporate-conglomerate owned and controlled (dishonest) mass media by including more diverse models of independent journalism media outlets.

          Dan Rather said it many years ago that “American journalism is in need of a spine transplant” and that we are “entitled to news media as diverse and varied as the American people…” This is a good thing if this is the direction Trump is trying to move.

          1. It’s called People’s Populist New Media – staffed mostly by “Deplorables.” The corporate-owned so-called gatekeeper media is freaking out.

  10. Note the dates on those two laws. Both were passed by Tory parliaments. With friends like the Conservative Establishment, you don’t need enemies.

  11. “…but is merely using the available vehicles to rant and rave”
    Are you suggesting that it is fair and reasonable to instigate a criminal prosecution against another for ordinary speech?

    1. The full quote is “This unfortunate complainer makes no sense, but is merely using the available vehicles to rant and rave”.
      When did Isaac start referring to himself in the third person?

    2. Daren

      I am suggesting that there are many freedoms, of speech, and of complaining through existing vehicles. You don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. The idiot professor has every right to express himself and his society will judge vis a vis the medium of expression. If, his society took him seriously then Great Britain would be in trouble and the curtailer of free speech as Turley seems fixated upon. In reality, as illustrated in the interview, the professor is being taken as a goof ball and the system will sort him out.

      The vehicle that is the law in every country that has laws is often abused. Turley should focus on these here United States where abuse is rampant and where he can do the most good. Pointing fingers at other countries is a sign of a cloistered mind.

      1. Who is the “idiot professor” you are referring to? The only idiot that comes to mind on this site goes by the “moniker” Issacbasonkavich”! As the aforementioned states, even idiots with a 16 letter moniker have every right to express themselves….

  12. Turley

    You do yourself and your cause, which is a noble one and one of which I participate that of freedom of speech, more harm than good. This unfortunate complainer makes no sense but is merely using the available vehicles to rant and rave. That you troll the bottom of the barrel here reflects poorly on you. The threat to freedom of speech in Great Britain has been exaggerated on a continuing basis to provide fodder for your blog and the mobs that attend your ranting and raving. You exhibit a level of hypocrisy that should make you stop and reflect on your purpose. Your exaggerations and attacks while waving the flag of freedom of speech remind one of DDT and how that moron made it to the Presidency. If you have in mind a future in politics, why not use the more intelligent paradigms that are available. Take a look at Bernie Sanders. He maintains a focus on facts and common sense, although he does stray into the la la land of free stuff.

    1. “…why not use the more intelligent paradigms that are available.”

      While you use the Turley blog as your vehicle to rant and rave, please do enlighten us on what constitutes “intelligent paradigms”?

      1. My above comment was addressed to Isaac. Sometimes the comment section seems like a cocktail party where suddenly some of the guests turn against the host.

    2. Bernie maintains a focus on facts and common sense….okay… maybe you can explain this idea of income ‘inequality.’ How will we know when we have reached a sufficient amount of income ‘equality’?

    3. Hey Issac, our offer still stands for you to come join our “Wall of Meat” that us Bikers for Trump have going on. I think you’d fit right in, baby.

  13. Semi-conscious Mr. Silver offered nothing of substance other than generalities and suppositions, yet he sees himself as qualified to make baseless criminal charges against others.

  14. Exhibit #637 in the file marked “Dossier on the Decadence of Academe”. Why not hit these twerps over the head with a two-by-four and repeal all anti-discrimination law? Let’s restore freedom of contract and association.

  15. Not a word about special snowflake Trump threatening to move the press corp out of the West Wing.

    1. The biased mainstream news organizations who print and broadcast lies and fake news should not be allowed in the White House!

    2. Gee, where would that idea have come from? Oh yeah, it was during the Clinton administration.

    1. The blog, you mean?

      You’re probably right.

      Most posts from JT remind me of making charcoal.

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