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May 25, 2006

Boris on Liberty

Boris Johnson makes a fine case for their having been, and alas no longer being, something distinctive about the British version of freedom:

From tyrant to tyrant, from Mubarak to Mugabe, the argument is the same: the UK and the US crack down on those who support terrorists; they pass detailed restrictions on free speech; they outlaw the glorification of terror - why shouldn't we?

How can we urge governments to allow free speech when we round up a 25-year-old chef, Maya Evans, and prevent her from reading out the names of the Iraq war dead at the Cenotaph?

It doesn't make it much easier for British organisations to defend liberty abroad when anti-war protesters are arrested for merely eating toast and tea in Parliament Square, or when old socialists are scragged by the police and hauled from the room for heckling Jack Straw.

There’s also this bit, which is one of the areas where I disagree with Madsen Pirie at the ASI (back in the archives somewhere there’s a to and fro over it):

I can't say I deeply regret the containment in Parliament Square of Brian Haw, the father of seven, anti-war loony who used to bellow at me on my bicycle. Call me finickety, but I thought his posters and general gubbins were a disgrace and spoiled the look of the place; and yet he also, like Eric, represented something dementedly British, and we should remember the impact he must have had on the world's television audiences as they watched the prime ministerial cavalcade sweep past.

There he was, one of the most powerful men in the world, joint toppler of Saddam, barrelling past in his tint-windowed armour-plated Blairmobile; and yet every time Blair or any of us passed by, the British state was so weirdly generous that it allowed this Haw fellow to yodel his imprecations from his ragged throne; and now his freedoms have been lessened.

And what is worse, in order to get rid of this lone nutter the law states that no one may hurl imprecations at our leaders in the area around Parliament. No, bad law, more freedom gone.

May 25, 2006 in Law | Permalink

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Via some guy called Tim Worstall comes this from Boris: How can we urge governments to allow free speech when we round up a 25-year-old chef, Maya Evans, and prevent her from reading out the names of the Iraq war dead at the Cenotaph? I dont thi... [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2006 9:50:10 AM

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