Political imprisonment in Britain today

A horrible story on the BBC today, written in a manner that indicates the BBC is on the side of the nasty people.

A man who posted sectarian comments on a Facebook page called “Neil Lennon Should be Banned” has been jailed for eight months.

Stephen Birrell, 28, from Glasgow, admitted posting the religiously prejudiced abuse earlier this year.

Sheriff Bill Totten said what Birrell had done was a hate crime which would not be tolerated by “the right thinking people of Glasgow and Scotland”.

He said he wanted to send out “a clear message to deter others”.

There is no suggestion that Mr Birrell — whom the BBC labels a “bigot” in its headline — did anything except express a strong dislike for a group of people holding views different from himself.  He did not incite violence. 

He was, in other words, imprisoned for expressing his opinions.

Heaven alone knows what punishment he would have received had he called for those he disliked to be imprisoned for disagreeing with him.

There is much talk in the article about “hate” — that is, about feelings.  But when did feeling become a crime?  And if we’re talking about hate, you have to hate someone pretty badly to throw them in prison for disagreeing with you.

This judgement abolishes freedom of speech online.  I don’t care about Mr Birrell’s views, either for or against.  I support neither Celtic or Rangers.  But he becomes the first political prisoner in Britain of modern times.

I learn from the BBC article that there is a group, Take a Liberty, who are opposing this hatred and bigotry.  Please link to them.

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