Quite so

Two judges have struck a blow to enemies of free speech after ruling people should have the right to offend and even abuse each other without facing a police investigation.

Presiding over a Court of Appeal case concerning the misgendering of a trans woman on Twitter, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Warby ruled that “free speech encompasses the right to offend, and indeed to abuse another”, adding: “Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having”.

They said it would be a “serious interference” with the right of free speech if “those wishing to express their own views could be silenced by, or threatened with, proceedings for harassment based on subjective claims by individuals that felt offended or insulted”.

This being not just the usual common law understanding of the matter but also protected expression of views under the Human Rights stuff – no, that’s not EU, that’s Council of Europe stuff.

9 thoughts on “Quite so”

  1. Nice to see the ‘Telegraph’ joining the ‘Mail’ in giving this headline news. The ‘Guardian’ and ‘Independent’ seem to be lagging a bit behind.

    Almost as if they hadn’t expected to lose…

  2. Which for some reason reminded me of….

    Rugby player “If I called you a c*nt, you’d send me off would’t you”

    Referee “Of course I would”

    Plyer “But if I just think you’re a c*nt, you can’t send me off for that can you?”

    Ref “no, I can’t send you off for what you’re thinking”

    Player “ok, then, I think you’re a c*nt”

  3. “based on subjective claims”

    So if I offend a member of a protected group, and it’s objectively (not subjectively) offensive, I’m still in trouble.

    “What’s objective?”, I hear you ask. If there’s a holy book followed by billions, which describes in detail things which are haram, that’s probably sufficient to be considered objective.

  4. There will be a dozen private member’s bills to overturn this in this Parliament. In the next it will be a manifesto commitment.

  5. A free speech organisation in Canada pointed out in a case that we can have the right to free speech or the right not to offended, can’t have both

  6. @Andrew C
    “Which for some reason reminded me of….
    Rugby player “If I called you a c*nt, you’d send me off would’t you””

    I heard a variation of this that Paul Gascoigne asked the ref “what would you do if I called you a plonker” and the ref said he would send him off, which he did. 🙂

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