Insulting Free Speech…Miliband worryingly speaks of criminalising religious insults

Posted: 28 April, 2015 in UK Censor News, UK Parliament
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ed miliband The Labour Party made a very worrying policy announcement that was hardly noticed by the media: Labour would outlaw Islamophobia , said EdMiliband in an interview.The proposals are fairly nebulous at this point: Ed says he intends to make Islamophobia an aggravated crime and toughen existing hate crime legislation . Defenders of freedom of speech should be alarmed at this, because Labour has dangerous previous form in exactly this area: the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

What Ed is proposing looks like a return to finish the 2006 act. In 2006 Labour originally tried to criminalise deliberately insulting a religion. Those opposed to that law argued that it would become a criminal offence mock a religion, or to say that a religion damages British society, because in doing so they would be accused of inciting religious hatred *. There was a huge public out-cry, led by academics, artists, writers and comedians (notably Rowan Atkinson), and in the end the Labour government was defeated by a single vote and the law was watered down. Ed Miliband personally voted for the original wording.

Such oppressive laws are two edged. Not only do they deny people free speech, but they also provide weapons to bullies and aggressive people by allowing them to accuse people of islamophobia.

Lets face it, the need to criticise religion is massively important, unchecked religions have spawned some of the nastiest regimes known to mankind.


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