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.