An alarming shot across the bows to those of us that still believe freedom of opinion is safe in the United Kingdom took place with the trial of Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding of Britain First.
I’m no fan of either of them, I don’t know them and from what I have seen I dislike the way they go about their business. However I followed the trial with interest for several reasons, just to ascertain whether there is consistency in the justice system, or whether there is indeed a different approach based on viewpoint and ethnicity.
It is hard not to conclude that there absolutely is a completely different approach, the question is, where is it coming from, and who is driving it?
Both Fransen and Golding were found guilty of ‘religiously aggravated harassment’ and handed prison sentences (9 months and 18 weeks respectively). The charges against them were based on their words and the distribution of leaflets in Kent against the backdrop of a rape trial, and in summing up Judge stated the following:
“I have no doubt it was their joint intention to use the facts of the case [in Canterbury] for their own political ends.
“It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”
Is the judge now saying that mentioning ‘race, religion’ or immigration status of people is a criminal offence? Will reference to non-muslims as ‘infidel’ result in arrests? What does this mean for the Quilliam Foundation report that stated 84% of mass grooming perpetrators in the UK were of British Pakistani heritage? If a very small minority of people are causing a disproportionately high percentage of problems, we cannot refer to that?
What a dangerous and Orwellian precedent. It is in nobody’s interests to suppress this information. But equally it should not be a criminal offence to refer to information or express opinions, particularly when they are factually based.
On Question Time in May 2017 a man produced a leaflet that he picked up on an open day in Didsbury Mosque (Manchester) that directed hate against Western Culture, including music (Islamic terrorist Salmen Abedi bombed a music concert by Ariana Grande details here). His claim was that hundreds of thousands of such leaflets are produced and distributed across the UK. As we saw multiple fatalities, one might expect thorough investigation and the producers of said leaflets to be at least made to defend their production. Nothing has happened, no follow up and no interest from authorities. Hate preachers have been named who have spoken at this Mosque, but again the appetite isn’t there to pursue.
See another example of ignored hate – this time calling for actual killing here.
The approach to both incidents is telling. Nobody should incite violence, and nobody should incite hate. But in Western society justice has to be consistent and not be influenced by ‘feelings’ or a desire to manipulate what is or isn’t acceptable narrative. It is almost certainly the case here that prosecutions are being selective, and our apparently overstretched police decide where to dedicate resources. We have seen justice fall swiftly on certain groups time and time again, not to mention wholly disproportionate sentences handed out. We know there are tens of thousands of FGM cases, (unsurprisingly, mutilating children is a criminal offence) yet we don’t have arrests and prosecutions.
So I return to my original question. Who is driving this agenda, and for what purpose? Who changed the rules, and when? I didn’t get that memo… did you?