Semi-Free Speech

SEMI-FREE SPEECH….Hell’s bells. I thought that Tony Blair’s absurd effort to make “glorifying terrorism” a criminal offense had been beaten back, but obviously I wasn’t paying attention. It passed on Wednesday 327-279:

A triumphant Mr Blair claimed the government had won the argument. He said: “The new law will mean that if people are going to start celebrating acts of terrorism or condoning people who engage in terrorism, they will be prosecuted, and if they do not come from this country, they should not be in this country. We have free speech in this country, but you cannot abuse it.”

Blair’s belief that of course he supports free speech, “but you cannot abuse it,” sounds rather too close for comfort to the “defenses” of free speech coming out of the Middle East lately, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, to the undoubted delight of anti-cartoon activists worldwide, the Austrian government is getting ready to prosecute David Irving for holocaust denial. Great. Here’s a tip: It’s a little hard to defend the notion that even offensive speech should be free when Western governments don’t really seem to believe it themselves.