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Do we really believe in free speech? The Weston Case

This blog has already discussed the Paul Weston case. Weston was arrested for reading out a quotation from Churchill.

Ken Bell makes the important point:

I find this hard to believe: Britain has just seen the political arrest of a candidate for making a campaign speech that quoted the words of Sir Winston Churchill. The police did not like that, hence the arrest, and hardly anybody gives a tinker’s cuss!
[...]
The left have to get involved in defending our political opponent whether we like it or not. Irrespective of the argument that freedom of speech is too important to be left to the whims of semi-educated policemen, there is the obvious point that if the police get away with this then we are next in line.

Arresting a candidate standing for a political position seems to be crossing of a line, and a symptom of the problems so clearly identified by Nick Cohen in “You Can’t Read This Book.” The idea that the state should Police dangerous ideas, or even more bizarrely the purely “offensive” is an insidious attack on the freedoms that liberals should hold dear. That it appears to be left to people like Daniel Hannan to speak out is regrettable.