Thoughtcrime in Britain

A 19-year old man was arrested yesterday for the supposed crime of burning a Remembrance Poppy and posting a picture of the incident on Facebook.

A teenager arrested on Remembrance Sunday on suspicion of posting a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook is being questioned by police.

The 19-year-old was held after the image of a poppy being set ablaze by a lighter was reportedly posted online with the caption: “How about that you squadey cunts”.

Police said the man, from Canterbury, Kent, was detained on suspicion of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act after officers were contacted at about 4pm on Sunday.

This is simply dangerous, absurd and Orwellian.

It is just the latest in a succession of police actions against individuals deemed to have caused offence: mocking a collapsed footballer on Twitter; hoping that British service personnel would “die and go to hell”wearing a T-shirt that celebrated the death of two police officers; making sick jokes on Facebook about a missing child. Each time the police have arrested people for nothing more than expressing an unpopular, outrageous or offensive opinion.

Britain is setting a precedent for trampling all over free speech in the interest of enforcing public morality. Mussolini would be proud.

The point of free speech is not to protect popular speech. It is to protect us from becoming a society where the expression of unpopular, offensive and distasteful ideas is criminalised. That is the surest guard against totalitarian tendencies.

This new incident is particularly bizarre. Children are taught in school that Britain fought the Second World War to defeat fascism. They are taught that the deaths of British soldiers commemorated on Remembrance Sunday were for the cause of freedom, to defeat fascism, to defeat totalitarianism. And now we arrest people merely for making offensive comments and burning symbols?

Are we turning into the thing that we once fought? 

What has happened to free speech?

What has happened to Britain?

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53 thoughts on “Thoughtcrime in Britain

  1. That is the new way, the US is looking at enacting laws to track and I am sure persecute such items. It is called CISPA or Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Makes SOPA and the other internet regulation laws look like nothing.

    We are all in trouble so you best watch what you say and do because big brother is watching or getting ready to watch.

    I do hope this is not a duplicate post.

  2. Indeed, no debate about this as far as I can tell. The state is god, you die for it and you kill for it and you will participate in the great secular religion, by remembrance. Apparently they died for us…not because the state conscripted them, and not because the bankers love war and not senselessly because the ruling elites involve others to fight their wars. Try saying that publicly and openly when the statists are involved in their collective delusion and they will stop you. No dissent is allowed from the religion of the state.

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  5. I do not support war. The whole business has become politically correct to wear the biggest poppy and wear a big hat and a posh red – and – black outfit becoming the new uniform. This year I made my own white peace poppy and actually wore it into a pub. Quite brave in this traditional, monarchist bastion of freedom. Could I have been arrested for upsetting someone? Probably. Yet soldiers have a choice whether to go to war or not. Victims, usually women and children are killed and do not have a choice.

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  7. You can’t worry about this sort of thing. Once they tap into your fear, you’re done.

    Live free, die free. What else can you do?

  8. To those who don’t already know, the layering of government in the US is helpful in coping with this societal problem — IF the Constituional division of POWERS is followed, and IF the largely irresponsible media don’t slander or incite to riot. Federal government powers are constrained by (almost) pure fee speech; each state government has its own Constitution and laws which rule EXCEPT where in violation of federal individual rights; under state Constitution and law, counties and municipalities pass their own laws/ordinances. Finally, schools, universities, businesses, individuals, etc. are free to follow their own policies, subject to lawsuits based on any level of government. It’s a mess, but it keeps the overcrowded and underdisciplined legal profession busy.

    [While not “thoughtcrime”, same sex marriage and abortion (or any law relating to marriage and family) are good examples of this “vertical” separation of powers: in spite of campaign pandering to both ends of these bipolar issues, the president has NO authority or influence except in appointing Supreme Court Justices].

  9. The poppy represents people who fought and died for freedom of speech. So who has done more to desicrate this symbol? The one who burnt it or the ones who arrested him for it?
    Let’s sell wear burnt poppies next year in commemoration of what people once fought and died for but is now lost.

  10. Isn’t this flower thing about WWII? WWII was financed by a bunch of people, the whole division between two neatly separated sides is nutty; even employees from the BBC produced a documentary drawing on the historical record to show that some “British” and “American” businessmen were helping to finance Hitler during the war…The only thing more nutty than this kid being harassed for burning a flower …is the fact that giant groups of people pressure each other into participating in these sorts of irrational rituals. It is truly childish.

    Banking With Hitler

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  12. Perhaps one could forgive that the German gold supposedly in NY might have gone missing, if one accounts for the fact that “national gold” of that sort, which had been stolen, at least in part, from Austria and Czechoslovakia, is necessarily bound up in networks of an opaque nature…

  13. James Madison was really good at communicating clearly….

    Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency ~ JM

    Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives ~ JM

    I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations ~ JM

    The latent causes of faction are thus sown in with the nature of man…The most common and durable source of factions, has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold, and those who are without property…Those who are creditors and those who are debtors…A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, and many ‘lesser’ interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views

    ~ JM (quoted in ‘The Political Economy of Third World Intervention’)

  14. Pingback: Poppy Fascism Rears It’s Ugly head Again | The Lincolnshire Commentator

  15. Blah, blah, blah. We all point and laugh when you’re media goes mad over some nudity on the TV. You point and laugh when we take the symbols of the death of half our nation seriously.

    We’re not overly concerned about free speech, I can’t remember the latest figures from Reported Without Borders but I thin Britain tends to do better than USA. We are concerned about degradation of manners in our society. You can say what you like to your friends. You can write a (non-libellious) denigration of somebody in a paper. You can’t insult large groups of people for no rational reason.

    Consider it a crack down on trolls.

    • Trolls (and insulting large groups of people for “no rational reason”) have always served a useful purpose to society. I consider Socrates history’s greatest troll. They make us ask tough questions. They make us think. They keep us on our toes. Above all, their existence and their freedom to be extreme and offensive demonstrates the broadness of our freedom and tolerance.

      But you go right ahead defending the idea that offensive people should be arrested. Mussolini would be proud of your logic. There is nothing more offensive, in my view, to the memory of dead British soldiers than the idea that individuals who express “offensive” views should be locked up.

        • Would you guys please enlighten an old timer as to what you mean by “troll” — song, method of fishing, or supernatural being? Maybe I can better appreciate Socrates.

        • Buddy, in re your definition of “troll” as one who argues against group consensus to stir debate: this sounds like the venerable “devil’s advocate” (at least in some cases). But what do you call yourself and me — arguing for truth and reality?

          Can’t resist posting this one. Three baseball umpires are comparing notes: (1) Newly licensed one: “I call ‘em as I see ‘em!” (2) Experienced one: “I call’ em as they are!” (3) Old veteran: “They ain’t nothin’ ’til I call ‘em!”

        • I hopefully can make some small difference to the future thinking of mankind. If I can’t well I damn well tried!

          My conscious is clear.

    • Whilst I agree that there has been a degradation in manners (I am Australian so you Brits would consider me uncouth, even if I was trying really hard to be polite), but did this young man come from a British housing estate, so therefore is a reflection of Britains spiral downwards due to the elite’s disregard for a true just fair and egalitarian socio-economic framework?

      If so he should have just been ignored.

  16. All designed to self censor…do not disagree with the manufactured consensus, agree be quiet worried about your debt pay your taxes..do not have any opinions that are contarary.

  17. The Unknown Citizen
    by W. H. Auden

    (To JS/07 M 378
    This Marble Monument
    Is Erected by the State)

    He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
    One against whom there was no official complaint,
    And all the reports on his conduct agree
    That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
    saint,
    For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
    Except for the War till the day he retired
    He worked in a factory and never got fired,
    But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
    Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
    For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
    (Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
    And our Social Psychology workers found
    That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
    The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
    And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
    Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
    And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
    Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
    He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
    And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
    A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
    Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
    That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
    When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
    He was married and added five children to the population,
    Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
    generation.
    And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
    education.
    Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
    Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

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  19. The notion “thought-crime” is the crime, an offense against the individual, perpetrated by the individual. A better term might be, self-delusion.

    Institutions have historically done EVERY DAMN THING in an attempt to control the individual, but it hasn’t worked, and it will NEVER work. And it won’t work because the nature of the institution is not inherently compatible with the nature of the individual.

    Whereas the individual can access Truth, an institution can only perpetuate falsehood, and does this until their methodology severely veers into the dys-functional abyss where it crashes and burns.

    Don’t allow these institutions [despite their power] tell you that up is down and this way is that way, because the only true weapon they have is YOUR fear. Transcend your fear and life life on your own terms.

    • Imp, old friend: We’re in close agreement, as usual. I recommend suspicion of ALL institutions and standing fast against those which seek control over individuals, through whatever combination of falsehood, fear, selfishness, force, guile, suspicion, hate, envy, covetousness, sloth, etc.

      At this moment in history, we are given (and cursed by) a stark example. The Democratic Party has openly revolted against JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?” and MLK’s “… judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Their elites’ only goal is power, and they use it, NOT to serve, but to enslave and exploit. I fear that the odds now favor our “crashing into the abyss” as you put it.

  20. Pingback: Sir Cyril Smith ‘sexually abused boys’, MP tells Commons: paedophile dam bursting ? « paulthepaperbear

  21. This is an email I sent to each State branch leader of our Returned Services League (Veterans welfare Organisation)

    Please forward to your contacts.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/08/remembrance-day-poppy-armistice-ted-harrison_n_2095394.html?ncid=webmail1

    The Returned Services League does a fantastic job. I had family serving in PNG and Vietnam. Luckily they returned but they were mentally affected. It is proven that adrenalin helps memory form. Don’t send men into battle who feel empathy. Only psychopaths remain calm at the sight, smell, sound, and “feel”-injury/death of war.

    Lest we forget.

    Plus a follow up email.

    This gives an American perspective on “Rememberance” day

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-11/happy-veterans-day

    By the way an old farmer showed me a WW2 isued rifle and fired it. The sound was deafening and scared the life out of me. Fire a heap of these in the air (without warning) on Anzac day parades and give the Children (And Politicians) a fright they’ll remember alright. And also throw some bullet to the gut smell (Human feces), so they can remember what the diggers heard and smelt, not the glory shown on TV.

    Lest we forget.

    Sometimes the secular religion of Poppy wearing has to be criticised. Smear some shit on you shirt to remind yourself of the horror of war. Gut shots are very very very bad way to go.

  22. How our Australian & New Zealand youth celebrate the memory of the dead. Rock on dudes!

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/RSL-chiefs-dismayed-by-Gallipoli-rubbish/2005/04/26/1114462039436.html

    And a Turkish response to war.

  23. the millions that died in those two wars would be turning in their graves if they heard of this. it basically means they gave up their lives for nothing.

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