It’s a shame that so many articles about the need for freedom of speech fail to point out that freedom of speech doesn’t exist in isolation. It has to be paid for by allowing as broad an access to justice as possible. The assault on legal aid has hurt the cause of free speech just as much as the campaign against journalists or the proposed royal charter.
In addition to freedom of speech and access to justice one needs a freedom of assembly too. Yes most of the time it will seem like the protests are frivolous and not representative, but they are a right and should be defended.
So right wing commentators: Free speech means having to lump legal aid and it will come out of your pocket.
Left wing commentators: Free speech means having to defend Murdoch and the barons.
Politicians: Wanting people’s votes mean that from time-to-time you have to be inconvenienced by the noise and palaver coming from a demonstration outside and inside of your place of debate.
I hope that political discourse in this country becomes about this, just as much as it focuses on the economy or what the government should or shouldn’t spend and when it should or shouldn’t spend it. I hope that the citizenry of the UK see the need for what freedoms we should have and what the cost of these freedoms will mean. I really hope that people will see what’s wrong with party politics and either start a new party or join in with the one they like the most and try and fix things from the inside.
Enshrined freedom of speech such as is represented by the 1st amendment in the USA (and in the universal declaration of human rights) is the foundation stone towards building a democratic society, not the the capstone some think it is.
So can we please start being grown-ups and behaving as smartly and wisely as I know people can?
Freedom means enshrining others freedoms too, even if they irritate, aggravate and even repulse you. All for one and one for all…
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Freedom of Speech.
That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament.