Ranting Gets You Jailed

Jacqueline Woodhouse may not hold very pleasant views and her decision to engage in a drunken, expletive ridden rant on the underground was, perhaps, ill-advised and churlish. The worst of chav culture, perhaps. But that was all it was; words. Unpleasant words. So what, eh? Well, so what is now worth 21 weeks inside.

Freedom of speech means the freedom to say what we like without being sent down for it, no matter how unpleasant the views being expressed, for that is the mark of a free society. Woodhouse has been jailed for thought crime, for expressing a view. Britain is not the land of free speech. It is a land of which I am becoming increasingly ashamed.

Woodhouse may be appalling, but the laws used to prosecute her and everyone involved in that prosecution is far, far worse, for they have eroded the liberties of all of us, not least Galbant Juttla who decided to record the incident and post it on the web –  once again we have thought crime tried by Internet. Mr Juttla says that he found Woodbouse’s behaviour very distressing. Well, maybe, but not half as distressing as nasty little righteous authoritarians who think it is okay for people to go to prison for what they said.

Cross posted from Longrider.

19 comments for “Ranting Gets You Jailed

  1. May 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “Woodhouse may be appalling, but the laws used to prosecute her and everyone involved in that prosecution is far, far worse”

    I agree – a chilling case.

  2. Mudplugger
    May 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Absolutely right. The thin end of this wedge started a couple of decades ago and it is rapidly jamming itself into those things which some of us hold dear.

    We may not approve of what she said but we should still defend to the death her right to say it.

  3. Single Acts of Tyranny
    May 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I agree entirely. Utterly shameful thought-crime nation.

    If anyone feels the need to say to me “F*ck off back to Wales you taffy c*nt” please do so, I shan’t report you and if it ever comes to court, I shall plead for the defence.

  4. DerekP
    May 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    – George Orwell

    Is it time yet for our government to organise book-burning PC quangos?

    • May 30, 2012 at 6:42 am

      If they can cow the populace sufficiently, they won’t need to…

  5. Tarka the Rotter
    May 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    So…what are we going to do about it?

    • May 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Honest answer; I really don’t know. We are in a minority here.

      • Jack Savage
        May 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        Are we in a minority? All the people I know might have varying opinions on the matter but not one, not one, of them would agree that this person should have been jailed!
        This is the State flexing its muscles. We must do as we are told.

    • Tatty
      May 30, 2012 at 1:14 am

      What could have been done about it is for even JUST ONE person to stand outside the court on the day holding a great big fuck-off sign simply saying “RIP FREEDOM OF SPEECH”.

      Lots of people online, elsewhere and worldwide supporting her right to say what she thinks but not one in her home town willing to stand up in public and say so ?

      I think that’s the most chilling aspect of all. May the gods help us all.

      • May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm

        It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, under the circumastances, for bearing such a placard to be construed as a disturbance of the peace …

  6. May 30, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Yet, as JuliaM might quite rightly point out, knocking seven kinds of shit out of someone would merit a mere slap on the wrist by comparison.

    Disproportionate or what?

  7. Johnnydub
    May 30, 2012 at 12:16 am

    BIll – I would refer you to the case of the four drunk Somali girls who beat up a female stranger to them shouting “die white bitch!” Where the judge, following the conviction, said it wasn’t a racist crime – they just weren’t used to alcohol and gave them suspended sentences…

    Equality my fucking arse…

    • May 30, 2012 at 6:44 am

      And that’s even more interesting than the racial aspect, because ‘problems with alcohol’ was proffered as mitigation in Woodhouse’s case, yet it didn’t work.

      • May 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm

        My point exactly. Uneven application of the law is injustice personified.

  8. May 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Let me add my voice to this. It’s a case OoL would have been remiss not covering.

  9. Single Acts of Tyranny
    May 30, 2012 at 11:28 am

    One might also wonder if the law of unintended consequences is at work here.

    If you were the BNP, could you ask for a better news story to say “See we told you so”

    Also, if thoughts are banned and speech forbidden, the sentiment festers and manifests in far worse ways then a stupid drunken rant from a woman on a train.

    I also wonder if the ‘Cameraman’ would have been right at home in the Stasi.

  10. Humph
    May 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    This (h/t Snowolf).

    “It seems Labour MP Kerry McCarthy had a less than desirable commute today after tweeting her disgust about a fellow train passenger.

    The Bristol East MP took to Twitter mid-journey to vent her frustations: “Oaf on train drinking lager and playing techno music out loud. Everyone being very British about it and not complaining. Then he stood up…”

    Her next tweet continued in a similar vein: “Should have killed him when we had the chance. Before he could breed.”

    A former social media tsar for the Labour Party, McCarthy later remarked that her tweets were “obviously flippant”.”

  11. The Nameless Libertarian
    May 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    A neat and entirely correct summary of the case from LR. I find the Woodhouse woman and her views utterly repugnant and they offend me. But that is not a cause for her to go to prison for several months. Indeed, it isn’t even grounds for her to be prosecuted. The way in which people who don’t agree with her should deal with this is through debating with her; and given the general intellectual shallowness of your average racist rant, it should be easy to defeat the argument without even breaking a sweat.

    And of course by filming and the prosecuting this stupid woman she has been made into an unlikely martyr at the same time as giving her awful views a far wider audience than they would ever otherwise have had. Statist lackwits.

  12. anon
    June 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    The fact is: in a genuine democracy an individual is not locked up for her opinions however repulsive they may be. One person’s rant/rave is another’s obsenity! Minority groups who value freedom, should learn to be a little more tolerant and stop playing the victim card at every given opportunity! Furthermore: using the criminal law to combat speech [hate] will only encourage intolerance,racial tensions and unreasonable interference with such freedoms as that of speech and expression.

Comments are closed.