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'Darkies' is a disgusting word ? but people shouldn't be given suspended jail se

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Brendan O'Neill is the editor of spiked, an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.

 'Darkies' is a disgusting word ? but people shouldn't be given suspended jail sentences for saying it

By Brendan O'NeillPoliticsLast updated: September 28th, 2012

373 CommentsComment on this article
 
When Russia imprisoned three members of Pussy Riot for expressing views that the Putin regime found distasteful, there was widespread condemnation from liberal campaigners here in Britain. I hope these warriors for free speech will kick up a similar fuss following the suspended prison sentence given to Michael Coleman, a member of the British National Party, for likewise expressing views that the modern British elite, and vast numbers of ordinary Britons, find distasteful. That is, for using the word "darkies" on his website.
 
Coleman, who is clearly not the kind of person most of us would want to go for a drink with, wrote two blog posts in the wake of last year's urban riots. In the articles he accused the local council in Stoke-on-Trent, where he is based, of "flooding this city with Muslims and blacks, a complete population replacement programme". He also discussed "the difference in personality, perceptions and values of people of darker races and ourselves". Most explosively of all, he used a word that most of us thought had disappeared in the 1970s ? modern Britain's immigration policy amounts to "darkies in, whites out", he said.
 
Clearly, Coleman holds racist views, and in my opinion he's a moron. But shouldn't morons be as free to express their opinions as the rest of us? Doesn't freedom of speech, by definition, extend to the speech of people we find repulsive as well as people we consider lovely? Apparently not. A Stoke-on-Trent councillor who found Coleman's blog posts "offensive and threatening" brought a case against him, and today Coleman was found guilty of racially aggravated harassment and given 240 hours' community service and a suspended eight-month prison sentence. Think about this: in 21st century Britain, a man has been given a jail sentence for expressing himself on the internet. That, to me, is far more offensive than anything Coleman spouted on his little-read blog.
 
The councillor who kick-started the legal action against Coleman said something very interesting ? he said the reason Coleman had to be punished and turned into a criminal for writing those blog posts is because the views they expressed are "not acceptable to the overwhelming majority of local people". That is true; the vast majority of Britons find racist ideas and language disgusting. But are we really going to start threatening with imprisonment people who express opinions that the "overwhelming majority" consider to be unacceptable? Will that include radical political views, edgy social arguments, harebrained religious beliefs? The fact that in Britain in 2012 a man has been given a suspended jail sentence and 240 hours' community service for saying something that is offensive to the "overwhelming majority" should give us all serious pause for thought, and make us ask what gives us the right to slam Putin's Russia for likewise banging up punkish singers who, according to polls, also offended an "overwhelming majority" of Russians.
 
The fact that a political view is cleaved to by tiny numbers of people ? as is Coleman's diatribe about an invasion of "darkies" ? is no reason for punishing it by law. As John Stuart Mill argued in his classic text On Liberty: "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." In allowing the criminalisation of Coleman for saying things that the "overwhelming majority" find offensive, we open the gates to the potential silencing of other sections of mankind for saying out-there things. Speech is either free, or it isn't. And in Britain right now, it isn't.


Tags: BNP, British National Party, freedom of speech, John Stuart Mill

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« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 11:34:58 AM by the leveller »


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Stop the world I want to get off! :'(

The Leveller


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"BNP man spared the salt mines"
If you believe in free speech you should hear this interview
BBC interview shortly after sentencing
http://bnptv.org.uk/2012/09/life-on-the-frontline/


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Offline the leveller

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Shame the BBC decided to shorten that interview to this
28 September 2012 Last updated at 12:03 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

419ShareFacebookTwitter.BNP member Michael Coleman spared jail term Michael Coleman lost his Meir North seat on Stoke-on-Trent City Council in elections in May 2011
A British National Party member and former Stoke-on-Trent councillor has received a suspended jail sentence for using racist language online.

Michael Coleman, 45, of Caverswall Road, Weston Coyney, had denied two counts of racially aggravated harassment.

The charges related to racist language used in two articles on his website between 8 August 2011 and 8 March 2012.

Coleman was given eight months suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.

Speaking after the sentencing at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Coleman said he would continue to speak out regardless of any consequences from the law.

He said: "Allegedly I've broken the law but it won't stop me speaking out and I've no doubt I'll go to prison at some point in the future.

"I had no idea my comments would ever result in this, my freedom's been taken away."
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Are we suprised ?
Really this should be posted in The Bad,however it follows on from the initial post.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-19755336


 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 08:03:00 PM by the leveller »


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