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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Set phasers to facepalm.

Once again free speech in Britain gets a hefty kick in the balls, particularly in Cardiff as it's decided that anyone sufficiently delusional and thin skinned gets protection from anything they don't want to hear, even when they're clearly as mad as a bag of monkeys.
John Dixon, a Cardiff councillor, is being investigated for allegedly breaching the code of conduct for local authority members which demands they "show respect and consideration for others".
A complaint was made to the Welsh ombudsman by a member of the Church of Scientology in December last year about comments Mr Dixon made on his Twitter page that June.
On a visit to London, to buy a wedding ring, the Liberal Democrat councillor tweeted: "I didn't know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off."
I think that's pretty funny, actually. But even if I was a Scientoolallygist and was offended by that remark in a country that values free speech it would be tough shit. Unfortunately it seems it's not quite so straightforward in this case.
Following an investigation by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Mr Dixon was referred to Cardiff Council's standards and ethics committee.
The committee will receive the ombudsman's report next week and Mr Dixon could face sanctions of up to a six-month suspension after a hearing in the autumn.
So because he tweets that Scientology is stupid a ward is likely to go unrepresented at council for six months. Yeah, great idea.

/facepalm

And what's brought this about? One complaint. One. And, oh fuck me all the way to the mothership and back, look who it's from (my bold).
The complaint was made by John Wood, a member of the Church of Scientology, who lives near the Head Quarters in East Grinstead. He said: "People are free to say what they like but I felt that as a person in a position of public office that he had to be violating some kind of code of conduct."
AAAAAAAAAAHHHRG! Christ, but it winds me up every fucking time I see someone professing even tenuous support for free speech and then adding the word 'but' followed by the list of restrictions they want placed on speech. Listen, Thetan John, you utter cock dribble, free speech is free and restricted speech is not free - it's as simple as that no matter what fucking planet you think you're from. And for fuck's sake, you're not even saying why you think he can't say what he likes, you're just hoping that "some kind of code of conduct" is there for you to whip him with. Well, I'm not a councillor so I'm going to say what I think, which is that you are stupid. Galactic scale stupid, in fact. And thin skinned. And authoritarian (no, John, Authoritaria is not a planet). And a weapons grade cunt.

Nanu nanu, and very possibly shazbut as well.

Unfortunately for Cllr Dixon there apparently is some sort of code of conduct for stupid, thin skinned, illiberal cunts to bash him with. In fact it's worse than that because there's also a fucking law. Despite the fact that Scientology is not even recognised as a religion in the UK it's got the same protections as one.
... in March last year the Crown Prosecution Service decided that anyone who attacks Scientology can be prosecuted under faith hate laws.
The move provides the controversial Church of Scientology the same protection as other mainstream religions.
Now actually this shows a wider problem, because something as nebulous as faith hate laws are not compatible with free speech, and probably not even compatible with giving all religions equal protection. And since there's a bunch of other hate crimes on the books to cover everything else from sex to skin colour we fast ending up with everyone who believes anything at all being at risk of having offended someone else. Christian, Jewish or Muslim? Well, if you really take your respective holy texts seriously and are prepared to say so then you're probably hating homosexuals a little bit. And if you're gay and wish to express your opinion that said holy texts were the writings of madmen and control freaks you've just let us know that you have a tiny bit of hate at least a significant number of the 3+ billion followers of those religions. You may think you feel nothing of the kind, but the righteous say you're not allowed to offend anyone even if you are entitled to your beliefs. The fact that those of us who really believe in free speech find this state of affairs deeply offensive is of no fucking interest whatsoever to the pricks who come up with this shite.

We can but hope the Dave and Nick Repeal Show includes the shredding of these ridiculous laws, though I'm not wildly optimistic. In the meantime there are only two little rays of sunshine (unless they're tractor beams sent by Thetan John's mother ship). First is that Cllr Dixon is taking it all in his stride.
He wrote on his personal account on Tuesday: "Am I going to get into more trouble for saying that, right now, I'm bigger than Xenu, do you think?"
It's not often I feel like standing up to applaud a LibDem, but this guy deserves it. And the second ray os sunshine is that The Daily Mash were never going to let this story go unmashed.
More than 200 Flat Earthologists complained after Cllr John Dixon posted a Twitter message referring to the Earth as a 'globe'.

...

Wayne Hayes, a Level 19 Flat Earthologist from East Grinstead, said: "Dixon's remarks are just typical of the prejudice we face on a daily basis just because we refuse to bow down to the dogma of scientific proof.

"He should be fed to the Great Salamander of Xenu or at the very least taken to the edge of the world and pushed off.

"We'll see who's stupid then."
Gold. Just gold.

4 comments:

JuliaM said...

"Well, if you really take your respective holy texts seriously and are prepared to say so then you're probably hating homosexuals a little bit. And if you're gay and wish to express your opinion that said holy texts were the writings of madmen and control freaks you've just let us know that you have a tiny bit of hate at least a significant number of the 3+ billion followers of those religions. You may think you feel nothing of the kind, but the righteous say you're not allowed to offend anyone even if you are entitled to your beliefs."

The goal, surely, is to keep us all mute, afraid to say anything for fear of offending or breaking some law?

Angry Exile said...

In a way I'd be slightly happier, or at least less angry, if I thought that was the goal. However, I suspect it's just the product of well meaning people with good intentions who really just wanted to make a world where people got on with each other, and actually I think that's worse. Not only is it depressingly naive but to think we're sliding towards being afraid to do or say anything for fear of breaking a rule by fucking accident really boils my piss. The road to hell is truly paved with good intentions.

wh00ps said...

I'm totally with you on faith hate laws, but I can't help but think cllr. Whatzizname was being a bit daft saying something like that on a Twitter account with his real name. He's free to say anything he likes, of course, but part of free speech is accepting that there may be consequences.
I'm free to say anything I like as well, but if I started coating off my employer on the internet then I accept I might get into hot water at work. He knew the rules when he accepted the position, surely.

Angry Exile said...

I get what you're saying and I agree that if you take on a job where one of your conditions of employment is not to pass comment on X, Y or Z then really you don't have a leg to stand on. Yeah, councillors might well have a code of conduct saying don't offend religions, but we're talking about something here that isn't actually a religion except as far as its own members/subscribers/whatevers are concerned. He might as well have said Gandalf was a wanker and Frodo was interested in more than one type of ring. Some sad twats who think Lord of the Rings was real will be upset but really, who gives a shit? He might have to watch his mouth about religions and ethnicities but I very much doubt his Ts & Cs say anything about not offending complete fantasists. Secondly only one of them actually bothered to complain, suggesting it's less of an offence against all of Scientoolery and more one individual needing a thicker skin* (maybe it comes with a higher thetan level or something). I suspect a greater number of complaints would come from my suggestions about Gandalf and Frodo. Thirdly he's got square root of jackshit to do with Cardiff Council because he doesn't even live there. If the prick has a problem why not drum up support in Cllr Dixon's ward and try to have him voted out? I think we all know ;-) And on that point, as I mentioned any suspension leaves his ward unrepresented. The voters there are his true employers, so surely it should be put to them to see if they think he's overstepped the bounds. Again, I think we know that the answers aren't likely to favour the Scientwomblegists.

* Being a cynical and suspicious bastard I also wonder if the guy saw a complaint as a little free publicity for Scientoolery.

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