In 2010 of the Labour government made cuts to legal aid with deeper cuts by the coalition government in 2012. The deepest cuts coming after 2013 when LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act was passed by Parliament. The cuts meant many people facing family, civil and criminal cases were defined limits imposed on their legal rights in aid. It would be fair to say those mostly affected were from poorer households. Cuts were accentuated in a time of austerity where the coalition government imposed huge cuts to disability entitlements, which saw thousands commit suicide. Into thousand 17 the Crown Prosecution Service declared they would be cracking down on social media hate speech.
Freedom of Expression guidelines broadly define hate speech as “forms of expression which incite violence, hatred or discrimination against other persons and groups, the tick Lily by reference to vet ethnicity, religious belief, gender or sexual orientation...” The guidelines make no reference at all to disability either mental or physical. The guidelines also acknowledge there is no universally accepted definition. This leaves interpretation open and vague, which could cause more problems than solve, as interpretation could be manipulated to fit an ideology or narrative. It would therefore not take into consideration other factors such as mental health.
As mentioned in M.L. Perlin’s book: The Hidden Prejudice Mental Disability on Trial, in chapter 12 Exposing the Prejudice, Perlin touches upon the law prioritising focus groups such as feminist jurisprudence, economics, critical legal studies and critical race studies, ensuring deep research, great funding and plenty of attention. These groups have been involved in criticising freedom of speech and demanding crackdowns on hate speech over the Internet. They argue that free speech can be offensive and runs the risk of causing psychological harm to otherwise healthy people.
However, what their arguments do not consider is whether the person causing offence is doing so intentionally. It is frequently assumed that offence is often done with intent. But what if the person who has caused offence does not understand this? What if a person who was caused offence is struggling with mental illness? Perhaps the person speaking undesirable fort suffers with depression, bipolar, personality disorder? Maybe they have suffered a traumatic crime at the hands of a person belonging to a marginalised group and are speaking publicly about that event. Speaking of such an experience will inevitably be offensive to some.
Perlin, who wrote this book in 2000 notes the extensive research provided to these various focus groups regarding law in comparison to mental illness which received its last research investigation in the 1980s. A two-decade timespan. Furthermore, research has been non-existent since the year 2000 and seems only to be done in America. Perlin discusses therapeutic jurisprudence and defines it as recognising rules, legal procedures and roles with consideration of those with mental health disabilities with anti-therapeutic jurisprudence providing a negative impact on that group. The CPS crackdown could be considered reflective of anti-therapeutic jurisprudence regarding mentally ill people using social media. It is not Perlin’s intention to create a therapeutic state but instead consider mental health with regards to legislation. This is not believed to be taking place.
It is also Perlin’s concerned that research will be limited to academic circles preventing necessary changes in the legal system or within the fast-evolving society. Despite the extensive literature over the decades regarding mental illness it has continued to be ignored by the judicial system. In Europe under article 14 of the European Convention on human rights individuals have protection against discrimination. However, the freedom of speech guidelines proves this to be wrong, displaying discrimination towards disabled. Perlin provided with research almost 2 decades ago identifying very little research in Western society is provided or considered regarding mental health and the legal system.
So why is this?
Perlin identifies sanism as a dominant psychological force which distorts rational decision-making, encourages pre-textuality and teleology, and prevents focusing on questions are meaningful to therapeutic jurisprudence enquiries. Sanist decisions operate in an anti-therapeutic world. Until this system sanist biases are confronted and social science data is intelligently weighed and assessed, mental health will lack consideration in this way. Perlin has also criticised sloppily drafted law as further evidence to the problem facing therapeutic jurisprudence, which highlights the lack of care and attention legislators devote to mental disability. Also identified is the age of legislation still used in action today as sometimes decades, even centuries old. Apathy towards and disinterest in precision and accuracy in terminology reflects the sanist ways that both legislators and judges subordinate mental disability law issues. So why does this matter?
Is history repeating itself?
Mark P. Mostert wrote “useless eaters: disability as genocidal marker in Nazi Germany” in 2002. Mostert’s chilling first sentence states, “the methods used for mass extermination in the Nazi death camps originated and were perfected in earlier used against people with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities.” Mostert observed the focus remaining on the extermination of Jews with little attention paid to precipitating events serving as a catalyst to the Holocaust. Societal and scientific perceptions of difference extended to state policy, which was intensified and codified with the rise of national socialism and Hitler's assumption of power in 1933. Notions of difference were first expressed in state sanctioned killings of children and adults with a wide range of physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities. Mostert examines the manipulation of key variables which allowed a highly sophisticated Western society manipulate via state law and policy to sanction and eventually murdered phase with disabilities.
The outbreak of World War I caused social and economic repercussions for Germany. With the need to ration food and provide care and medicine for those injured in the war effort, facilities became overcrowded with high-levels of neglect and deprivation on such ill funded institutes. Today, in a time of austerity the consequences are noticeable on our public services including our National Health Service and the prison services. The reallocation of resources saw a divide between those who were healthy and able to contribute and those who were not. That has been notable with the Conservative government review of disability entitlements in the UK in recent years, which sadly saw many suicides as a result to austerity cuts. In Germany it was seen that extensive and expensive care could not aid Germans economic recovery.
Therefore, inappropriate or undesirable behaviour by those who were disabled were often considered a threat to public decency and social order. Today, we have seen a remarkable compassion for most people of marginalised groups, but still notably reject compassion or empathy towards those with mental illness. This acknowledges that physical differences are frequently met with compassion in today’s public sphere, but hidden illness receives less empathy. Mostert states, inappropriate public behaviour by people with disabilities was often dealt with through legal action and the criminal justice system melding disability and criminality in the public mind. Even in today's society many people go undiagnosed with mental illness due to fear of stigmatisation. Furthermore, in today's society there is huge pressure on the public to conform with social ideologies and with this huge pressure anyone who does not conform is targeted and labelled negatively. Labels such as Nazi, Islamophobic, racist homophobic are often thrown out to shame and ridicule those who do not follow the social order. However, there is currently no label for those who lack empathy for those with disability or mental illness. Why is this?
It is rarely argued in today's society that those who are not conforming to social order might be emotionally incapable of empathising or intellectually ill-equipped to understand these new social orders. Why is this not a consideration? As someone who has suffered a traumatic experience by someone of a different race, I wish to speak publicly about this and warn others. In doing so I risk offending many other people and the law, in its discriminatory, sanist way does not cover me for the trauma which I have suffered and the offence which I might cause.
As discussed in a previous blog post, in his 2014 speech “What’s in a name? Privacy and anonymous speech on the internet.” Lord Neuberger reflects on history, observing the benefits of offensive speech actioned by a political critic who wrote under the pseudonym of Junius. It is important to question whether governments are ordering these crackdowns for their own narcissistic fears of being criticised, or whether it is sincerely concerned for marginalised groups. If it is for concern for these marginalised groups, why have they chosen to discriminate against one particular group? If governments fear history repeating itself, then why are they repeating history? John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, political economist and civil servant. He was one of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism and came up with the harm principle. The basis of the harm principle was considered that as long as no one is harmed, the only justification for interference with other people's freedom would be to prevent harm to others. It is the marginalised groups who argue this and claim that freedom of speech can cause psychological harm.
But as it is raised in this post, it would be harmful to segregate those with mental illness and mental disability from others for fear that their freedom of speech may offend others with the possibility of causing psychological harm. As seen in history, to target and identify marginalised groups, such as those with mental disabilities would be far more harmful than the words they express. In today's society we see more discrimination against those with mental disabilities than any other marginalised group. What is distinctly disturbing, is that this marginalised group receives little protection under the law as it currently stands. This group is once again at the highest risk of being imprisoned for unintentionally offending others and therefore institutionalised.
Governments across the world tell us they are concerned that history is repeating itself. They are right to be concerned, for it is. But as has been seen in the past where governments have been responsible for the discrimination of the mentally ill, today's governments are repeating the exact same patterns. Governments claim to be concerned that history is repeating itself and yet they are ensuring that it does. It is up to us to question why.
When I received grief for speaking out about what has happened to me, there are moments when I wonder if that person who is calling me a racist is in fact a family member. I have not spoken to any of my family members about what is happening to me since I revealed the incident to one friends and didn’t feel I got the support I should have. So, knowing my family's political leanings and where they stand on immigration, refugees and migrants and knowing how infuriated they become by those who oppose it, I am sometimes left wondering if perhaps it is my family members who give me grief from behind a computer screen. Which then leads me to wonder, how would they feel if they found out that it was myself their own family member and a genuine rape attack, who they were verbally attacking? Is it therefore better to assume that someone who tells such a story about rape is being genuine? And if that person who alleges such a crime is clearly of a similar racial background to yourself and from the same continent or country as yourself is it not wise to try to be empathetic towards what they are alleging whether it fits your own political beliefs or not?
How would you feel if someone confided in you as a stranger searching for help something that contradicted your political beliefs? And on that basis you condemned them rightly or wrongly. With condemning them you ultimately shame, humiliate, and belittle the trauma which they may or may not have faced in reality. The fact of the matter is you may never know whether it was fact or fiction. But what if having handed out that type of abuse you learned sometime later not only that the person, the stranger on the Internet has not only been telling the truth but unbeknown to you and unbeknown of them you were actually related. Try to consider all of the times which you have kept significant secrets from your relatives and immediate family. Now consider why you kept such significant secrets from your relatives and immediate family. And finally now contemplate why a relative or immediate family member might keep something secret from you. It is usually those with strong belief systems we fear exposing to our own truths on the basis that we are unable to predict their response.
It is not unheard of that people are under the misconception that their belief system is a moderate one. This might be particularly so politically in those who are lacking in any religious beliefs. It may not. It is these groups who may consider that because they are open-minded from a religious perspective that they are open minded on the political front. So, consider whether you follow a political pattern and follow particular political beliefs or whether you are also politically open-minded. Do you scorn those with opposing political ideologies on the television or YouTube? Are you unwilling to listen to their thoughts and opinions? I suspect that in the same way I fear telling my left-leaning family that I was raped by a migrant man, I would also fear telling a white nationalist family member of rape by a white man or a Muslim family member about a rape, had it have been the case.
On this basis it could very much be considered the case that it is politics as well as religion which is divisive within our society as well as our families. Referendums such as the Scottish referendum and the UK referendum as well as the Catalonian referendum all show how divisive a yes, no question can be in such a politically passionate climate that we currently have. This political passion and climate has without a doubt been devised by multiculturalism, a feeling of being overprotective towards certain groups and minorities and a yearning to enforce that overprotective feeling onto others. In fact it could be regarded as a cultural and a societal passion as opposed to a political one, but simply dressed up as that. So if you have a deep passion for particular groups in society or specific religions or political movements then you might be someone who is unapproachable to others.
So how can we become indifferent not only to politics but to the experiment of multiculturalism and religion when we live all side-by-side? For myself I have lacked any interest in mainstream media, I have kept out of politics and I have distanced myself from religion in an effort to prevent any of those becoming my identity and surrounding myself with similar like-minded people. The difficulty which I have come across is when I am sharing something so personal such as the rape with somebody and speaking of his different racial background. His race is his identity. As is my racial identity. It is part of his description. He was a stranger to me. How else do I describe a stranger than to note their appearance. If that appearance is different to mine, does that observation of such difference make me racist? He spoke with broken English. Does that observation to describe him make me xenophobic? I’m sure a stranger would describe me as a Caucasian female with green eyes and brown hair. And that would not be offensive to me or anyone else.
It therefore becomes questionable whether in situations like this where many people have distanced themselves from politics, religion and societal confrontations in an effort to integrate into this new diverse world how unreasonable is it for a person of a certain race who is treated cruelly by a person of another race to speak of that cruelty? At the end of the day we could abandon all our possible belief systems, but our different skin colours will always indicate to us all our different identities. Not only that but it will always indicate similarities therefore if someone similar to yourself has experienced significant cruelty at the hands of another, rather than disbelieve and accuse it might be in your interest to be helpful and empathetic without criticism. This is by no means an easy task to take on. It could even be considered unachievable but let's try to be positive and make it our aim.
We live in a society where everyone is keen to judge. Labels are being flung left right and centre which inevitably means, everyone wants to label another. This means that we have stopped listening to each other and conversing with each other and I are now seemingly very passive-aggressive with each other. In our fast-moving world and society, it is far easier to listen to a couple of words, make a judgement and throw a label at a person than to listen and ask questions. The importance of questions in our society today, amongst a variety of cultures, races, religions and abilities will help us all clarify and understand each other as individuals. In today's society with the invention of social media and providing our thoughts within 140 characters, expression for the individual has become brief, reactive and misunderstood. With a thought passed in a minuscule 140 characters, it has helped enable the suffocating judgmental culture within the various cultures. Insults are thrown with no thought given as to why the insult should be thrown. Rarely when someone sees a comment they don't like, do they stop to ask why that comment was made. Why is that? Why are we so quick to insult, but so slow to ask questions and discover the reasoning behind comments we may take offence to?
Being quite new to social media myself, I found the use of twitter by some to be quite absurd. It had not occurred to me how challenging both mentally and emotionally social media would be. Now, we see governments wanting to intervene on the use of social media which could now be seen by many as a public social utility by many. We must question, is it fair to intervene like this? As an adult who is new to the use of such media I can see both sides of the coin regarding this question.
Most people who turn to social media are not adults but are instead youngsters. Of course, youngsters are likely already to be subject to far more bullying than your average adult. They will likely face bullying in school, socially and to face more bullying online, which could and indeed does tip some youngsters and teens over the edge. It is also well reported that children are groomed by adults through social media by paedophiles. It is well documented that it is frequently white paedophiles who work alone through the internet on social media grooming the children. Rotherham shows the other side of paedophilia and child sexual exploitation within gangs a different method used by a different ethnicity, Pakistani Muslim.
As a parent myself who hasn't taken much interest in the past with regards to social media, I am on a steep learning curve. Not only for myself, but my child who I want to be able to protect. However, protection and the use of legislation against true criminals such as paedophiles has become politicised. The politicisation of social media, presumably done in an attempt to direct children into a political understanding and acceptance, has eradicated the recognition for our governments to protect us but instead has made us sceptical of our governments and corporations. There is an obvious use of propaganda within social media, as children and teenagers switch off the television and consume this new media.
For this reason the scepticism shown by parents is understandable. The excuse used to control social media due to paedophilia and online grooming appeared to be predominantly aimed at people who shared comments which did not fit a political agenda. In fact it was frequently reported that this was how the laws were being used not just by the papers but by the corporations themselves. Indeed people risk being sent to jail on the basis that they offended someone. But is it easy to prevent offence with so few characters available? Isn’t it inevitable with so few characters? So, did we need laws, or did we need questions?
I have tested this theory myself. I first noticed the problem when I made a comment that I did not want more migrants coming over, in a social media comment. Quite abrupt comment to make but regardless it was how I felt and with the right to expression, I expressed my thoughts and feelings. Obviously, my abrupt comment regarding a newspaper article about migrants, upset some people as I had expected. What I had expected next were questions asking why I felt that way. Perhaps that expectation was too high because what I got instead was insults, accusations and judgemental labels. As these were thrown at me, not once did those people making these insults ask why I felt that way.
Further to my surprise, the insults did not stop after two or three minutes but continued for a week or more. Hundreds of comments were exchanged and an ever-growing string of insults. But no questions. Nazi, xenophobic, Islamophobe, racist were words and insults I would receive in most comments. But no questions. No one inquired as to why I didn't want migrants coming to the country. So instead I had to tell them. I wonder how easy it is to say sorry when you have spent over a week insulting someone? Someone vulnerable who has experienced something quite traumatic? I wonder if it's easier to continue your argument on the basis of a person, the person you judged and insulted without understanding why, for the sake of saving face.
Of course, I am not a malicious person. I am not hateful. I am not a Nazi, or a racist perhaps somewhat Islamophobic and yes quite xenophobic too, but no malice is meant by that. It is simply what the name says it is, phobia, fear. And with ongoing terrorism, and ongoing Muslim grooming gangs and ongoing migrant rapes let's not pretend this fear is irrational. It is not. With our laws leaning towards greater protection for children of different races, religions and ethnicities then it is understandable that the British natives fear what protections they will receive. Yet again, biased and propagandist laws directing citizens in a certain politicised manner.
What I found when I tested this theory is that despite being insulted, I was able to question those who insulted me and in doing so we learned more about each other and came to accept why each of us felt the way that we did. In fact, some people when they put themselves in my shoes were able to understand my position on my feelings a little easier than they had when they had insulted me after presuming the worst of me. What this proved was that when people were faced with questions, their position and their outlook was also questioned not only in someone else's mind but in their own mind. Indeed they seemed to be unsure of their political ideology. Things weren't as black-and-white as they had thought.
So, to apply law and legislation to political thinking and comments is not only extreme but infringes on human rights. And yet governments and corporations want to apply such laws and infringement, why? Why not instead, teach people to talk, converse, debate and ask questions? Would this not be far more productive? Would this not mean unnecessary laws and legislation? Would this not expand the minds of those who use social media? Would this not help create an open and free society? Would it not be far cheaper on the taxpayer? And would it not keep the focus on real criminals such as paedophiles? Why? Why are they so scared to teach people to reply to comments with the question, why?
As a child, I remember growing up believing that asking questions was rude. This belief was implanted somewhere. Where, I cannot be sure. But I grew up with a strong belief asking someone questions about their beliefs and their feelings was rude and insulting. Of course, I am an adult now and it wasn't until recently that I understood why asking questions was actually so important. There are likely millions of people, including adults who truly believe that to ask questions of others who they do not understand and possibly judge, is rude and insulting.
Many people are not taught philosophy in school. They are not taught critical thinking, possibly ever. And certainly not on political issues. The vast majority of us tend to accept what we are told. We tend to follow the agenda and the propaganda barely questioning it. We tend to follow what our teachers say, they are after all rewarding us with grades. It is perhaps not ideal for one's future to grate on those with the power to make it a good one. With such compliance, this no doubt makes us easy to mould. All of which is likely intended. And that is why, I believe legislation and hypersensitive laws have been put in place over the idea of educating people to simply ask questions. So, it's time to wake up generation alpha. It is time to teach them critical thinking and philosophy at home. It is time we teach children ourselves.
The speech by Lord Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court made in September 2014 questioned “What’s in a name? The speech was about privacy and anonymous speech on the Internet. He touches upon a writer pseudonymously known as Junius. Junius wrote controversial anonymous letters published in the public advertiser. He was a strident critic of the government and his attacks contributed to the resignation of the Prime Minister the Duke of Grafton in 1770. Even members of the judiciary were targets of the writings by Junius. In 1769 Julius addressed a letter to the King which was published stating “Sir, it is the missed fortune of your life, and originally because of every reproach and distress which has attended your government, that you should never have been acquainted with the language of truth, until you heard it in the complaints of your people.”
Junius's letter continued to complain of the violations of the laws and attacks upon the vital principles of the constitution. The publication of this letter led to the trial of Henry Woodford the publisher of the public advertiser, for seditious libel. In 1770 the case came before Lord Mansfield who is now considered one of the greatest ever Lord Chief Justice is who himself was a favourite target of Junius he once termed him “the worst and most dangerous man in the kingdom”. In 1771 Samuel Johnson a lexicographer and famously high Tory wrote of Junius that “his safety was provided by impenetrable secrecy where Junius enjoyed all the immunities of invisibility”. In fact Junius “drew most of his strength from his anonymity whereby he was able to make criticism of the powerful and face no prosecution.” In his criticisms Junius offered a firm voice prompting both political and legal change, and is now remembered as one of the greatest political writers yet his identity remains a mystery. It was once raised with Johnson, whether it was right to conceal Junius's identity. Johnsen's response was “supposing the author had told me confidentially that he had written Junius, and I were asked if he had, I should hold myself at liberty to deny it, as being under a previous promise, express or implied, to conceal it. Now what I ought to do for the author, may I not do for myself?”
The point of Junius, brings us to modern day technology and the Internet with anonymous blogging and videos. Among the mainstream press we now have those who resemble the anonymous Junius in the blogging sphere. For many this is used as a release of frustration or confessional and has therefore thrived. A well-known example would be political blogger Guido Fawkes who barely maintained anonymity of five months before being unmasked by The Guardian. The more successful and popular a blog becomes the greater interest in the identity of the author by the mainstream press. Lord Rodger stated, “What’s in the name? A lot, stories about individuals are more attractive than stories about unidentified people. They risk not being read and passed on which could threaten the viability of a newspaper or magazine and would not make enough money.” It is therefore in the presses interest to publish names. The Sunday Times laid the onis on the bloggers claiming, if bloggers were made aware anonymity was not always an absolute then bloggers would be more careful.
It is also important to question whether knowing the authors identity is in the public interest or rather just of public interest. Night Jack another blogger make critical allegations and observations of police activity. In this case Mr Justice Eady stated that blogging was a public not private activity so should therefore not enjoy the expectation of privacy. This raises the question to what extent can one expect with anonymous speech as what Junius enjoyed in the Internet age? If these activities are classed as public activity it may be difficult to argue for the expectation of privacy. After all, email hacking as what happened in this case and led to the Levenson Inquiry, and then an apology is possible. This brings us to anonymous speech and privacy on the Internet. By the end of 2014, it was estimated 3 billion people approximately 40% of the world's population use the Internet. In Reno v ACLU at the US Supreme Court the Internet was termed the most participated form of mass speach yet developed and therefore deserving the highest level of protection. Under European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), Internet speech engages article 8 rights going beyond “privacy” encompassing personal autonomy and self-development as well as the right to develop relationships with others.
A person's article 8 rights reinforces his or her article 10 right, freedom of expression. This has led to a technological arms race. In China there are real name registration sites leading to direct and indirect censorship and South Korea instigating a similar policy with a hacking attack leading to the loss of 35 million users data. This data protection is something we enjoy under ECHR. But, consider the United States anonymity rights where they get to browse and communicate with greater anonymity under the most robust protection. Under European law tension exists between article 10 rights which may trump the authors article 8 rights where it could be suggested that it's the public's interest knowing the anonymous identity outweighing what the author has to say. And what about press freedom which is not expressly protected by article 10 but however is under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This suggests an offer of an anonymous blog should enjoy the protection rivalling the protection of an anonymous press source. It is frequently observed in newspaper articles details coming from an anonymous source. After all article 10 paragraph 2 of the Convention states that the right to freedom of expression carries with it duties and responsibilities.
It was in 2014 that this speech was made and since then we have seen the growth of nationalism and populism within our societies in Europe and in America. With this growth of nationalism and populism on both continents we are seeing great suppression of information and opinions especially since 2016, whereby governments are using legislation to crack down on so-called hate speech which may defy a political agenda set by our elites. It is likely that with the growth of nationalism and populism in the political sphere controls on the Internet and regarding anonymity will become much tighter with greater legislation both on the European continent and in the US. This will no doubt affect all political ideologies in their criticism of our governments. It is therefore important that we work together on this probability to ensure that global elites both political and those of corporations do not take over our human rights.
Before I had my brain tumour removed I had to undergo lots of psychiatric and psychologist reports with one of the main questions being “do you suffer with depression?” and I didn't know how to answer that. The reason why I didn't know how to answer was because I didn't know the meaning of the word “depression” as it was used flamboyantly within conversation. To me it completely lost its meaning and its value. As I spoke amongst people they would say after a hard day at work “I am so depressed”. With the word so frequently used in everyday language I had stopped understanding what depression meant. So, when asked that question I simply answered “Well there are days when I cry and there are days when I feel sad, but I know exactly what I am feeling sad about and I think that it is quite reasonable for me to be feeling sad and emotional about those things. So, if that equates to being depressed then yes I am depressed”. I did get a few chuckles back in response and guaranteed I hadn’t ever suffered with depression.
I bring that up because I think it's important to explain how misuse and over usage of words means they lose their meaning and therefore value. Like with the word racism which is frequently floating around in conversations these days, just as flamboyantly as the word depression. Looking at the Oxford dictionary to get a definition of racism and it states, “prejudice discrimination when criticism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that their own race is superior”. This means Oxford dictionary doesn't direct it to any minority race but rather all races. It is therefore important to recognise it takes place amongst any racial group. It goes on to say, “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics and abilities for qualities specific to that race especially to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”. That's always what I felt that racism meant, and could be applied to all races.
Reflecting on this, I have horrible days when I feel so down and so angry and frustrated about what’s going on with inequality within our law and establishment and you have to understand that it is the law and it is the judiciary and the establishment who are ultimately to blame. It is not black people. It is not Asian people. It is not Chinese people, Japanese or aboriginals. It is the establishment because they've gone obsessive and hyper-sensitive in their interpretations for these words. The word racism is losing its value and in the same way the word depression has had a terrible impact on those people suffering with it (minorities charities not defending mental health in the latest legal combats such as social media hate speech) the same could happen with “racism”.
Racism does exist, and it needs to be tackled but I don't want to be feeling like I’m a racist because I'm angry that the law and establishment are acting unjustly and imbalanced. This will harm society far deeper too and probably agitate racism. We are at a critical stage whereby we see the BBC double down on political correctness wanting to ensure their employees consist of 50 per cent male and female and then 15% employees in black and minority ethnicities also 8% with disabilities. This is fine presuming the interested population exists for those careers placements. But supposing they don’t? Supposing those people aren’t interesting in those positions? Also, worth considering is meritocracy, which many fully believe in. Without it we could find ourselves with a lazy, entitled, unimaginative population and I it’s probable people worry about this. Changing the way that society operates or manipulating the laws in this way is is going to have an overwhelming backlash.
Suspicion is that the establishment is working on the basis that the black and minority ethnicity group is going to outgrow the native European population and so for that reason they need to pander to this new growing group so there are no complications in the future. Under that concept it seems there is a fast direction towards socialism within Western society with a majority BAME civilians. However, this raises another problem with nepotism within employment which creates a lot of resentment between classes because those who are established continue with their families remaining as established. Those in poverty remain there. No different to capitalism ultimately.
So, in conclusion by overusing and the misuse of labels it could help to ensure loyalty from an increasing population which the establishment hope to establish a pretense of protecting this new demographic. The stretch for equality of outcome within corporations alongside the misuse of words and labels also appears to clarify speculation that indeed a communist/socialist society in the West is being set-up and initiated. This will be considered by some to be a deliberate conspiracy and by others not so.
Social media hate crime is covered in English and Welsh law under three existing legislative Acts. These include the Communications Act 2003, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. To prosecute an alleged perpetrator CPS (Crime Prosecution Service) needs to provide enough evidence to ensure intent to the crime as well as prove it is in the public interest the alleged perpetrator should be sentenced.
There are four categories of offences;
1) Communications constitute as a threat of violence to person or property.
2) Communications constitute as harassment or stalking, control, coercive behaviour or blackmail (including revenge porn).
3) Contempt of Court Act, Sexual Offences Act or and Breach of restraining order or bail.
4) Grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false.
It is worth mentioning here that the use of incorrect legislation by CPS could result in an insufficient sentence. An example of this would be the case R v GS (2012). In this case the defendant published explicit internet chat discussing fantasy of incestuous, sadistic, paedophilic sex acts upon young and significantly young children. Had CPS used another legislation to prosecute the defendant, a harsher sentence would likelier have been given. It is worth questioning by that standard, how and why CPS can get it so wrong?
So, let’s look at the interpretation of “grossly offensive” and “indecent or obscene character”. Gross indecency is interpreted in the Oxford Dictionary of Law as a sexual act considered more than ordinary. Indecency is interpreted as conduct that the average person would find shocking or revolting. A judge may politically lean to the left in their interpretation of the meaning, but the population (therefore the average person) as we see in the current political climate, a small majority lean more to a right/alt-right political leaning. The judge should therefore take the average person’s leaning above his own.
This is very important to take into consideration when reviewing a sentence as a sentence could be argued if it is incorrectly assumed how the average person perceives the definition of shocking. If more people are convinced to come to the alt-right, then surely judicial precedent will also have to change?
Another concern is that the defendant must be proven to either intend the message to be grossly offensive, indecent or obscene or be aware of it. So now you have a less sensationalised understanding which the newspapers insist on, I would like to turn your attention on to the flaws of concentrating on social media hate crime and then finally my thoughts on the Count Dankula case.
A case was brought against a police force for arresting a rape victim for supposedly reporting false allegations. The victim had not lied and was found to be telling the truth. The victim prosecuted the police force under Article 3 of the ECHR (European Convention of Human Rights) for degradation. This case interests me because clearly the victim would have been traumatised therefore dealing with the mental health condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and will have likely brought a claim under Article 14-discrimination, alongside it.
The definition of disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 states
-if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Article 3 prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No exceptions and no limits. Article 14 discrimination must be used in conjunction of another right, for example discrimination with degrading treatment whereby no reasonable adjustment is made for mental health so inflicting anxiety on the defendant.
With mental health issues ever increasing in men and children, I believe many more cases could be brought against the police for degradation and discrimination by those suffering with mental health issues. The reason being that those who make the complaints have no idea if the person posting the perceived offensive post could be suffering with a mental health condition. The arrest itself could be a breaking point for some people who may have posted something in a fit of rage, trauma, depression etc. If this does happen and I believe it will, the floodgates will open and with our police forces already financially stretched and our courts overly backlogged due to no legal aid and therefore self-representation, this will likely have a hugely negative affect on our authorities.
Lastly, with this knowledge I would like to address the current case regarding a YouTube personality known as Count Dankula. He had trained his dog to Nazi salute as a joke to irritate his girlfriend as she praised their dg to be sweet and cute. He chose to train it to do the most vulgar thing he could think of and posted it to the internet. While I don’t condone what he did, I would like to focus on my thoughts on whether I believe he will be sentenced for this act.
Intent can be proven on this case, so it is a matter of whether it is in the public’s interest that he is sentenced. I am unsure of his criminal history if any, but supposing he does have a criminal history it is far likelier he will get sentenced. If not, that leaves us to question if it is in the public interest. The ‘average person’ is noticeably thinking differently in this new age of populism. That means the judge would have to bare this in mind. It isn’t about pleasing minority voters (although I suspect from other cases this does come into sentencing) but about the average person’s thoughts on what constitutes ‘shocking’.
With the new change to society in their tolerance and political thinking, I don’t believe a judge can presume in this case that it is in the public’s interest to sentence this man. If he does get sentenced without previous criminal convictions, I expect to see civil unrest and uproar.
I’m interested in your thoughts on this case, whether you see the political and societal change that I do and if you think sentencing this man if he is free of previous convictions would create unrest within society or perhaps put society back in its place and be a warning to those who step out of line? Also, what are your thoughts on discrimination cases being brought against the police or government with social media hate crime?