Tag Archives: freedom of speech

Ashers Bakery Verdict is Dodgy and Dangerous

The verdict of the Supreme Court in favour of Ashers bakery’s refusal to make a cake supporting same-sex marriage is dodgy and dangerous.

It is undoubtedly a complicated case. It makes sense, on the surface, because we all have freedom of speech and freedom of thought; yet it also makes sense that if you are running a business that is serving the public then you have to serve all the public, taking them as they are, whether you agree with their opinions or not.

The judgment was reached because the Supreme Court decided that it was the message, not the person that the Christian proprietors objected to. But how was this fact proved?

I don’t think it can be proved because prejudice is often hidden.

It seems to me that the judges have simply taken at face value what the owners of the bakery have said. How can it be proved that they weren’t using their beliefs as a pretext to conceal a hatred they have for gay people?

This question is important because it is at the core of homophobia and hatred against the LGBT+ community: this prejudice is legitimised and normalised because it is spun as an opinion, it’s just someone’s point of view – especially when it’s religious beliefs that are being weaponised.

It’s a slippery slope indeed.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 54 Comments

Lunchtime Debate: Actually, let Donald Trump come here

There’s a petition doing the rounds at the moment which, at the time of writing, has some 120,000 signatures, close to the threshold at which it will be considered to be debated in Parliament, calling on the Government to ban Donald Trump from entering the UK.

Trump has disgraced himself with his recent call for Muslims to be refused entry to the United States.

I get that people find his views repugnant. So do I. This, however, isn’t the first time Trump has said something outrageously prejudiced. It’s his stock-in-trade. Earlier this year, the Huffington Post compiled a list of the most offensive things he had said about women – you know, how we’re all gold digging, how breastfeeding is disgusting and, basically, just there for decoration.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 29 Comments

Can we learn from the Pirates leading the polls in the home of the world’s oldest parliament?

Postcard from Reykjavík


The photo above shows the location of the world’s first parliament, which was established here in Þingvellir, Iceland in 930. Interestingly, the Alþingi or Althing was held in the fissure (like a plain) between the edge of the European continental plate (on the right) and the end of the American continental plate, which is out of shot to the left.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Counter-extremism laws will be anything but

Less than a week into the new government and we are already beginning to see the signs of a Conservative party moving sharply to the right now that the Lib Dem shackles are off.

Announcing proposals for counter-extremism legislation yesterday, Home Secretary Theresa May said that she would implement ‘banning orders for groups’ who are ‘actively trying to promote hatred ‘ and ‘undermine British values’. Prime Minister David Cameron added that we have been a ‘passively tolerant society for too long’.

A similar piece of legislation was proposed 3 times during the coalition but was rejected every time. Lib Dem MP Tom Brake today said that they were blocked because they were ‘ill thought through, illiberal and will not tackle the problem they are supposed to’.

For starters, the proposal is flawed in principle. It is undoubtedly the case that these proposals undermine the key British value of freedom of speech. Whilst the Lib Dems hugely disagree with the views of radical fundamentalists like Anjem Choudhry, we will always defend their right to say it. That is a fundamental principle of democracy. If you partially stop freedom of speech, as these proposals do, you set a very dangerous precedent which can border on censorship and risks allowing a government to silence any voice of which it does not approve.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Je suis encore Charlie

It was a “you’ll remember where you were when you heard the news” moment.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Opinion: Why we can all be Charlie

I’ve often been moved to offer a rebuttal to comments made in the public sphere. Indeed, I’m known for taking a sharp intake of breath and squeezing my eyes shut in an anxious state when Michael Gove went to make a comment on education, before taking my big letter writing pen to an article asking what planet he inhabits.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 118 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg We must always be free to criticise ideas, even religious ones

A powerful article in today’s Telegraph passionately defending the right to free speech by Nick Clegg:

Every so often we are confronted by events that force each of us to take a clear stand – and a side. The attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo was just such a moment, demanding a straight answer to a simple question: “are you Charlie?” You don’t have to agree with everything, or even anything, that Charlie Hebdo published to “be Charlie” – you only have to wish to protect the freedoms and rights that define liberal societies like ours.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 48 Comments

Opinion: “Sit down, shut up” now acceptable in Scotland’s political arena

scotland_fansI’m no football expert, but the chant “Sit down, Shut up” seems to be popular as a chant to silence a loosing team. In a similar fashion the cry ‘no mandate’ has taken a similar position in Scotland’s political arena. This was most recently seen in the Edinburgh instalment of Question Time, when both Angus McNeil MP and Lesley Riddoch argued that if a party has no elected officials in the country then its members have no right to express their opinions.

Regardless of your stance in the independence debate (though I …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 21st Oct - 12:03am
    @Rhiannon - it was clear that you were born to lead chants, as well as organise Exit from Brexit campaigns:-).
  • User AvatarJames Marrs 20th Oct - 11:36pm
    Well im all for a peoples vote yet please dont forget the most effected like myself living in the EU many were DENIED a vote...
  • User AvatarJill Caudle 20th Oct - 11:31pm
    There were lots of Lib Dems elsewhere in the march too e.g. at least three members in our group from Salisbury for Europe (which covered...
  • User AvatarLiberal Neil 20th Oct - 11:21pm
    It was a great day and, as you say, lovely to keep bumping into Lib Dems from all across the country. Whether we win or...
  • User AvatarGlenn 20th Oct - 10:50pm
    Alex There is nothing technical about it. Whether or not other leaders would have done the same doesn't alter the reality that Mr Clegg was...
  • User AvatarRhiannon Leaman 20th Oct - 10:47pm
    Thanks so much for making the trip down, Caron - and thanks to all LDV readers too. What a great day! We made our voices...