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Can this be true? Did I read that correctly?

Did David Cameron just say something… um… well… sensible and manifestly correct? I can hardly believe my eyes!

British Prime Minister David Cameron said there was “a right to cause offence about someone’s religion” in a free society, drawing a distinction between himself and Pope Francis in their response to the deadly Islamist attacks in Paris.

Did Dismal Dave really say this? I need to lie down.

25 comments to Can this be true? Did I read that correctly?

  • AKM

    Don’t worry, he doesn’t really mean it.

    Next week or next month he’ll give a speech at another venue confirming that hate speech laws are needed to protect vulnerable groups.

  • Frederick Davies

    He is up for election; he will start saying sensible things for a while and forget them afterwards. We have seen this before…


  • PersonFromPorlock

    January 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Don’t worry, he doesn’t really mean it.

    Next week or next month he’ll give a speech at another venue confirming that hate speech laws are needed to protect vulnerable groups.

    Indeed. It seems very wrong to accuse politicians of being spineless when they must have spines of steel to withstand whiplash.

  • Kevin B

    There is “a right to cause offence about someone’s religion” in your bathroom in the dead of night when you’re alone, but put it on twitter and the old bill will bang you up quicker than you can say “Je suis Charlie Hebdo”.

  • Barry Obongo

    Did Dismal Dave really say this? I need to lie down.

    He did, but he also said,

    “We have to accept that newspapers, magazines, can publish things that are offensive to some, as long as it’s within the law,”

    “That’s what we should defend. The politicians, my job, is not to tell a newspaper what to publish or what not to publish. My job is to uphold the law that they can publish things that are within the law,” he said.

    How long, I wonder, before anti-Islamic or Islam-critical, let alone Islam-insulting or Islam-satirising, material is deemed ‘extremist’?



    Next week or next month he’ll give a speech at another venue confirming that hate speech laws are needed to protect vulnerable groups.

    I’m fairly sure that a protest (depending on its size – a PEGIDA-size demo would be hard to stop) or stall distributing Islam-critical material would not be allowed or be curtailed somehow as we stand today. All it takes is a complaint, particularly from one of those people with magical ‘protected characteristics’…

  • Next thing you know, Cameron will be defending our right to make snowmen.

  • Mr Ed

    He qualified it by saying ‘within the law’, so implicitly if the law banned criticism of NHS food as blasphemy, he would limit your freedom of speech.

    As for the Pope, I’m with the most devout Rangers fans on what to do to him, the first Pope to openly justify violence for a while (perhaps Pius IX and his army)?

  • Regional

    There should be law to tax the viewing of Television.

  • Johnnydub

    Two things to ponder.

    Tomorrow nights Pegida marches have been cancelled after threats were received from Islamic Extremists.

    There’s talk the EU is considering effectively a blasphemy law. So the result of the Charlie Hebdo is more protection for Islam and less freedom for the rest of us.

    Things are going very wrong in the EU…

  • Regional

    Au contraire Johhnybub, things are going very right for the E.U. but there is a problem, they’re making themselves irrelevant, it’s called containerisation.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    It’s the muslim mob who are calling for anti-blasphemy laws. As for Euroland, does it have much of a future? The Euro won’t do well with Greece in the zone, but if they start letting countries leave, will it end?
    An Allied, not United, Europe would be a better idea, with Brussels as a conference center and crisis mediation zone.

  • AKM

    A relevant essay was linked to recently by instapundit here: http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/the-importance-of-blasphemy.html

    The point he makes (which presumably has been made before, though I hadn’t come across it) is that it is literally impossible to have freedom of religion and blasphemy laws at the same time. The reason being that some central elements of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are blasphemous to each other, so say nothing of non-Abrahamic religions. To have blasphemy laws would inherently require the courts to choose one set of religious beliefs over another and suppress the unapproved religions.

  • James Waterton

    He qualified it by saying ‘within the law’, so implicitly if the law banned criticism of NHS food as blasphemy, he would limit your freedom of speech.

    Yes, I expect Cameron holds this right to be as inviolable as the rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and a free press guaranteed to the Soviet citizenry in the 1977 Soviet Constitution.

  • Paul Marks

    What Mr Cameron said was good – as far as it goes (as Mr Ed points out).

    Nor do I think it was about winning votes. After all a creature from the “New Statesman” (the British version of “The Nation” or “The New Republic”) said on the BBC “Question Time” show that freedom of speech in religious matters should be limited – and there were wild cheers from the P.C. vermin who make up the audience (and, let us be honest, much of the modern population of this island – the education system has done its evil work).

    David Starkey, who argued for freedom of speech, was greeted in silence – in time (if things continue to develop in the same direction they have here for a long time now) someone saying the things David Starkey did will be hacked to pieces.

    After all the lawyers and judges in our “ally” Pakistan are protesting for an “international law” (how that old world government fan, George Soros, must love them) to ban speech they do not like – against their “prophet” and so on.

    So much for different laws in the world of Islam and different laws allowed in the “infidel” world.

    One law for the whole “international community” (the whole world).

    The BBC, Guardian newspaper, and the New Statesman magazine (as well as the schools and universities) are winning.

    Their aim is simple and was expressed long ago.

    A boot coming down on a human face – for ever.

  • Barry Sheridan

    Paul, the BBC deliberately selects its audiences to support its own views. It has been doing this for thirty plus years to my knowledge.

  • PeterT

    Only speech which has the potential to offend, or does offend, needs protection. The statement ‘I believe in free speech as long as it does not offend’ actually means ‘Let us just all get along; if you rock the boat there will be consequences’. How such an attitude is quite consistent with the example set by Christ is beyond me.

    Cameron probably just heard somebody express that view a few hours earlier and thought it sounded cool.

  • NickM

    What AKM and Peter T said.

    You can’t have anything other than a religious monoculture without curtailing freedom of speech. The right to offend is vital. If you can’t say something that annoys people and the power of the state cracks down is not genuine freedom of speech.

    So it is…

    Do say,

    “Lincoln is a small city in the east of England boasting an impressive Christmas market and a beautiful cathedral”.

    Don’t say,

    “Muhammed was a murderous paedophile cunt who created a ‘religion’ that was total bollocks”.

    What iDave (the app is available on download in May) was saying that you have the right to say what he (and his mates) let you.

    It is about the least useful, fair or free way of looking at having a society of any description. I have read (forget when) of US academics being anti bans on FGM. They see the “culture” before the person. (I almost wrote they see the “culture” before the “clitoris” but I ain’t in larfing mode).

    It is at base about issuing rights to groups and not individuals. To take the FGM example it is essentially about providing a “right” to a culture. A vile culture in this case but I wouldn’t defend the right for a benign culture. The only things that have any rights are individuals (the clue is in the name). Abstractions don’t have rights. And yes, that would include all religions and much more. It is a category error to assign “rights” to the law of the excluded middle much as “Allah’s hand is not fettered” (Qu’ran – Sura 5). People have rights (natural rights – not iDave ones) to believe what they shall (is that not what makes us people”) but concepts, races, cultures don’t and can’t have rights.

  • Watchman


    I think Question Time audiences are self-selecting, but think about the question ‘what sort of person would think it worthwhile to spend time in a question time audience?’ and you’ll see why the audience as it is. The BBC is culpable simply in allowing the audience to self-select (and to be fair, I am not sure we’d be any better off if they did pick it). So we get an audience of the sort of ‘publically engaged’ person who thinks in terms fashionable amongst the apparently metropolitan elite who now run left-wing thinking three-five years ago. They are a sort of echo chamber for bad ideas…

  • Watchman


    On the FGM thing, at least in the UK there is action (effective or not I don’t know) – my favourite being the initiative to send ‘FGM Champions’ into schools with pupils from backgrounds where FGM was a risk (apparently they aren’t doing this in rural Wales for some reason…). Whilst they do good work (and one I know of upset a lot of teachers by refusing to admit that Islam was a culture – so kudos there (it’s a religion…)), it apparently took a while to work out why people were confused about their role from their titles.

  • c777

    My my, will the people finally wake up to the fact that the EU isn’t fussy about who its citizens are just so long as they pay their taxes and keep their noses clean.


    A line is being drawn now.
    Accept mass immigration and the problems it brings, or else.

  • NickM

    Watchman, I was using it as an example especially because since it was specifically made illegal in the ’80s there have been guess how many prosecutions?

  • Trofim

    Well, I’ve found out over the past couple of weeks that freedom of speech is
    essentially a sinister Eurocentric idea and it’s probably part of the school
    curriculum now.
    I know there are plenty of Muslims out there who believe that freedom is a
    naughty thing, thought up by them mischievous Europeans/Jews, but I won’t be at all surprised if I encounter the young in western societies assuring us that freedom itself is merely the malicious invention of old white males.
    After all:


    I’m sure I remember Dave praising muscular liberalism some time in the past.
    Apart from war, a very, very stringent, unbending muscular liberalism is the
    only thing to save western societies now – that is, make it so hot in the
    kitchen that certain human types will find the kitchen unbearable. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Snorri Godhi

    What’s the position of the current Archbishop of Canterbury?
    Rowan Williams made Pope Francis look good.

  • Nobody has given a toss what the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks since Henry VIII wanted a divorce.