Free Speech Author: Regressive Left Brands as ‘Hate Speech’ Any Speech They Hate

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: A Black Trans Lives Matter demonstrator holds a placard in Parliament Square on June 27, 2020 in London, England. The Black Trans Lives Matter march was held to support and celebrate the Black transgender community and to protest against potential amendments to the gender recognition …
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Freedom of expression advocate Andrew Doyle has criticised the “regressive” left for branding any speech they don’t like as “hate speech”, also warning that in light of police forces being found to have recorded some 120,000 ‘non-crime hate incidents’, that as history teaches us, “once the police start making lists of people for non-criminal activity, we are in serious danger”.

“Without freedom of speech, we don’t have any other liberties at all. I fear that people have lost sight of that,” the comedian behind the perennially offended Social Justice Warrior character Titania McGrath remarked on Monday.

Doyle, a Shakespeare scholar who recently published Free Speech And Why It Matters, went on to acknowledge how the battle for free speech has been pitched between the right and the extremist left, despite the fundamental issue of free speech being one which “should be a non-partisan principle”.

He went on to tell talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that all of the assaults on the basic right of free speech “is coming from the left, but a particular kind of left: an identity-obsessed social justice left” which will “claim to be on the side of the angels, and they use the language of progressivism to actually mask very regressive ideas.”

“And what they’ll say, for instance, is, they’ll carve out exceptions within free speech, and they’ll call it ‘hate’,” he said, before citing the attacks by pro-trans ideology leftist radicals attempting to cancel Harry Potter and Cormoran Strike author JK Rowling — herself a left-winger and feminist — because she seeks to defend women’s legally protected spaces from biological men who claim to be women.

“Of course, they’re not using these words accurately. So the people that they call ‘transphobe’, ‘Nazi’, ‘fascist’, ‘hateful’ — in particular — are often nothing of the kind… Nine times out of ten, those phrases are used in such a way that they simply don’t apply in that way.

“It’s just a way to say, ‘Actually, we’ll call it “hate speech” because what it really is is speech that we hate.’’’

Last month, figures revealed that between 2014 and 2019, English and Welsh police forces logged 120,000 so-called “non-crime hate incidents”. Police guidelines demand that non-crime hate incidents are recorded whether there is an identifiable victim or not, and “irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element”. Hate incidents can also include instances of “unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike”.

While not crimes, such incidents can result in a police record even if there is no conviction, with that non-crime hate incident potentially appearing on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal background checks for up to six years.

Mr Doyle called those figures “very, very frightening” and warned that if people knew their history, “they would know that once the police start making lists of people for non-criminal activity, we are in serious danger”.

Last week, Merseyside Police made headlines for parading an electronic billboard reading “being offensive is an offence” during a “hate crime awareness event”. The force later apologised and admitted that “‘being offensive’ is not in itself an offence”.

Despite the force walking back the campaign, Mr Doyle noted an issue that the incident revealed. Rather than it being the product of a “rogue officer with a Pharisee’s disposition”, it was clearly the result of careful design and planning, “which must have been approved in advance by numerous members of staff”.

“Even if the slogan has now been retracted, the fact that it materialised at all suggests something very sinister about the general mindset of those who are trained to enforce the law,” Doyle wrote in Spiked Online, adding that: “Irrespective of the legality, it is now standard police practice to monitor the speech of citizens.”

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