Now that the legal stand-off between Ms Cherry and The Stand has been resolved with the latter accepting that it had unlawfully discriminated and reinstating the event, it is worth considering what this issue tells us about attitudes to free speech and Equality Act rights.
Now they partially control it, and are partially responsible for the content. Which is unsatisfactory, for many reasons.
But if there is a practical solution to this problem, that preserves freedom of speech, I haven't found it.
It's not just any old belief, though, is it?
According to the Equality Act, it's a "religious or philosophical belief."
And I just know you were thinking of that magnificent speech from A Man for All Seasons when you wrote your last sentence
Rather than I would suggest a more plausible explanation that they would be very happy to discriminate in order to please their staff, but had no choice but to back down in the face of legal threats. It's pretty clear that legal action is often necessary to see rights enforced - and that should be no surprise, since plenty of people had to fight very hard to get the rights acknowledged in the first place.
I don't think the idea of not bowing to those who are offended has been entirely or even nearly defeated, certainly not with the Rushdie example. People still blame him for the reactions to to his (awful) book. 'Free speech for me but not for thee' as cyclefree puts it is pretty popular I imagine. Heckler's veto is powerful.
We all need to be more robust than to claim to suffer harm from hearing things we don't like. It's childish to do otherwise.
The conclusion is a variant of a famous quote, but I cannot recall where the original is located.
Erdogan is now beholden to the very far Right for his political survival. Both Presidentially, and for a Parliamentary majority.
This is possibly the worst result conceivable. Hey ho. The people know best.
It's always presented as easy and straightforward. But rights often conflict. That's why "free speech absolutists" find themselves in knots quickly.
I don't think the fact the Stand issued an apology is a statement of the law. It could just be that they don't want to go through with the expense and disruption of one or more court cases. I don't think it's a human rights case as there is AFAIK no state actor involved. It's a dispute between a private club and a private individual. The case you referred to was the police shutting down a publication on an interpretation of the criminal law.
There could be a case of discrimination but I don't think this is absolute. In the hypothetical case where Cherry turned out to be a holocaust denier, the Club would have reasonable grounds to cancel the show.
Cutting to the chase, I think Cherry would have to prove the Stand was arbitrary and unreasonable in shutting down the show and therefore had discriminated against her.
I may be completely wrong of course.
Should add there may have been a breach of contract, but that's a different legal point, I think.
Wouldn't like to be a Kurd or queer in Turkey just now.
That's quite the metaphor.
The real Thomas Moore was into bending the law when it came to heretics. One, for example, was found not guilty of heresy. "To save the bishop's credit", Moor had him illegally detained and er... influenced to try and get a confession.
Yes, if you have forgotten the password, good luck in court.
He's getting practice at blowing a big lead and coming second.
The opposition needed to win in the first round and have also failed to take the majority in parliament .
I expect Erdogan to offer even more election sweeteners in the next two weeks . He’s also likely to make the case that if he’s not elected President there will be grid lock in parliament .
The spoiler candidate Ogan whose on around 5% could go either way if he decides to throw his weight behind either candidate .
He voted no in the constitutional referendum in 2017 and wants a return to parliament regaining powers which they essentially lost in 2017 but is an ultra - nationalist .
Even if he throws his weight behind the opposition it’s still going to be difficult to see anything other than an Erdogan win.
What you have in Turkey at the moment is a free but not fair election . The media is overwhelmingly pro Erdogan , the vote count does have rigorous safeguards for the timebeing .
Why is Starmer daft enough to announce a plan like that, he’s not remotely won an election yet. Constitional change is second term stuff if anything, once you’ve earned trust, and every second he is talking about votes for sixteen year old children and EU citizens and not talking about NHS waiting lists, he’s an idiot.
In effect, you can discriminate against beliefs, but not against people, on the grounds of religious or philosophical belief, or other protected characteristics.
Obviously, that’s a fine distinction.
What probably undermined the Stand’s case was that the basis for cancelling the Show was *not* because they objected to providing a platform for beliefs they disagreed with. It was simply a capitulation to staff and activists.
Comparison with those times does fit in well with this header though, I do agree.
The comedy club which cancelled a Fringe show by SNP MP Joanna Cherry has reinstated the event.
The Stand had cancelled the show after staff said they were not comfortable with her views on transgender issues. But the venue has now said the decision was "unfair and constituted unlawful discrimination against Ms Cherry"...
The Stand said it had taken legal advice and now accepted it had got its original decision wrong.
Now, their own lawyers might be wrong about how clear cut it was. But the totality of the apology as their actions being legally wrong is pretty telling, when grovelling apologies without accepting legal wrongdoing or liability are fairly common.
The Supreme election count head stated 20 minutes ago that only 69% of the votes have been counted. The way some people are speaking on here you'd think it was all done and dusted.
In fairness they were febrile times and he probably needed to watch his back.
So there's still the possibility he loses whilst still being disappointed (not that KK is a saint, necessarily).
Besides, if we waited before drawing conclusions much excited and silly speculation would be lost.
I think the most underestimated barrier to free speech is actually laws on harassment.
This was an article written by 'Professor Tanya Byron' in the Sunday Times, in response to someone asking for advice on what to do about a dispute with a 'verbally abusive' neighbour.
"To understand the severity of the impact of this situation, it has to be named for what it is: harassment, which is to say, any behaviour or action that threatens a sense of security, and/or causes significant problems and elevated stress. Examples include threats to damage or actual damage of property and possessions, and — as you have experienced — any form of written abuse and also abusive and/or insulting behaviour or words.
Harassment, a criminal offence, occurs if there has been a “course of conduct”, ie two or more related occurrences that have happened close together. Harassing behaviour does not necessarily have to be physical — you have experienced verbal aggression. Behaviours constitute harassment depending on their impact on the target, ie if they feel oppressed, alarmed or distressed. Your diminished mental health and physical wellbeing indicate that this has occurred. The “reasonable person” test would also be applied: would any reasonable person have also been alarmed or distressed by the behaviour? I suspect any reasonable person would.
The suggestion here seems to be if you get offended at anything (ie: if someone says something to you that makes you feel oppressed, alarmed or distressed) the solution is to call the police and report it as harassment.
We then figured out that one of them was paying a marginal tax rate of 67% on every penny over £50k. (13.8% Employers NI on total - then 40% tax, 2% NI, 9% Undergrad tax, 6% Masters tax, 5% mandatory pension contribution).
Brutally high rents combined with crippling tax rates and public services that effectively just don't exist...
Every party bar Labour have an electoral incentive to not give the Housing theory of everything a look, and Labour are split down the middle in terms of who gets it and who doesn't. Personally I'm going through the steps with work to go fully remote abroad, and Barcelona seems nice, rent half the price, marginal tax rate on the nomad scheme only 1/3rd of what I pay here.
You can try to argue Braverman is not the Conservatives rising star, simply on basis you don’t like her at all, but you will utterly fail in that argument, the reality is: she’s rising if you like it all not, there’s no denying it. Observer had a big splash on her today, risen from family of immigrants to high office etc.
The UK Home Secretary is headline speaker at this Conservative conference, and she is going to say
“…because of the pressure it puts on housing supply, public services and community relations.”
And how many Conservative members and activists are going to disagree with that reasoning to limit immigration? Tory members will say at last, someone who tells it like it is.
You would use words like steadfast, tenacious, and determined to describe Braverman’s style - those are exactly the same words used to list Lady Thatcher’s strengths.
There’s your next leader of the Conservative Party. She’s got it “Suen-up” hasn’t she?
I think an issue with this possible proposal is it risks causing a lot of divisiveness and blowback against EU nationals. The right wing will go into overdrive .
I personally have no problem with EU nationals voting in general elections but think this policy proposal if it happens could damage Labours chances in 2024 .
Starmer has a responsibility not to offer up own goals to the Tories and should be avoiding missteps . It would be unforgivable to subject us to 5 more years of this cesspit government !
Definitely Erdogan at 1.3 doesn't look value to me.
Following the BBC feed:
22:49 - Head of the Supreme Election Council states 69% of votes have been counted
23:22 - More than 95% of ballot boxes have now been counted.
Have they suddenly got a move on in the last half hour? It could be the BBC reporting tool is not always on time.
Rishi had recovered quite a bit by April, but I expect he'll be plummeting back toward the bottom again.
I guess you are ok with Zuckerberg, Musk et al deciding who gets to see which tweets or posts and what goes viral and what doesn’t.
In my view that gives way too much power to individuals who will likely have their own interests at heart
Twitter is not *free* speech. It’s speech regulated by Musk. I think the community has a right to stop that.
Either they have algorithms that control what people see - and allow them to monetise that - in which case they have to accept responsibility for their actions.
Or they don’t.
Protocols vs Apps already exist. People don't want to use them.
That is very far indeed from certain.
What you're doing here is taking a hypothetical hypocrisy, pretending it's nearly universal, and then putting yourself above it. It's the worst kind of straw-man slaying.
32 was a bloody good start for “what’s she running for” candidate” You saying her fan club hasn’t “sue-welled” since then?
You saying she won’t go into the leadership election with more credibility than Lady Thatcher when she actually won leadership.
You are going to tell us the smug, full of themself woman child Badenoch knocks Braverman out the top two, when it’s so obvious Braverman is the only one of the candidates with determination and tenacity to deliver, focussed and steadfast enough to actually take a fight back to Labour? 😆
Now, most important question of all, when Braverman says we must limit immigration because of the pressure it puts on housing supply, public services and community relations - do you actually disagree with her?
First is boats (unstopped). But the bigger one is that she would make Liz Truss look like a paragon of strong and stable leadership.
I would tend to say that they have to choose between being publishers and common carriers. At the moment - like many US tech firms - they are exploiting loopholes in regulation. They are acting as publishers - and monetising - but disclaiming any responsibility for their actions… because…
Certainly it shares some characteristics with each, but there's a sensible position to be held that social media is a new category of media. I don't immediately see a strong reason to dismiss such an argument.
The end result of your suggested change would be that nearly all group speech, online, would be shut down. This blog would be considered published - since there is moderation. So no more PB.
Are you taking into account how the MP phase can change dramatically from the last one after 100 seat losses?
Were you up for Penny? As the historians will write it.
I think that I’d a very dangerous power and one that should be subject to democratic oversight. Regardless of whether it is Musk or Zuckerberg or Gates or Bell pulling the strings
New episodes will stream every Friday from 14th July,
If you don't like Twitter, use something else.
Mastodon sucks in various ways but it basically works and built a decent network effect. I haven't tried Bluesky yet but it looks like it will work. We basically know how to do this, it just involves solving lots of annoying little problems, which takes time.
She has influential friends on back benches, but also in media - the telegraph prints whatever she asks it to. They don’t even check if it’s true “I gave the police who took the golliwogs away from the pub a right earful.”
Moreover, most people don't realise they are (or could be) being manipulated.
These platforms are powerful and dangerous in the wrong hands.
There are loads of competing social media platforms and there's no sign of one displacing the others. Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company but they had to do that with an acquisition, precisely because Facebook wasn't sufficiently protected by its network effects.
People who were dissatisfied by Twitter were perfectly capable of leaving it. For instance Infosec Twitter moved en masse to Mastodon. Crypto Twitter stayed, that's because most people in that community aren't dissatisfied. Elon has destroyed my "For You" tab, but I just don't look at that, and he's also made a little mark that allows you to immediately filter out idiots, and somehow got the idiots to pay for the privilege.
On topic: I couldn't be arsed to read the header nor understand the wider contextual implications; should any exist.
The problem was they were trying to virtue signal to a KC, and backed off when faced with having to defend their decision in court. Their own counsel advised them to make the case go away, before it got anywhere near a courtroom.
Ministers call for immigration and UK food prices to increase
Immigration and food prices must increase to solve the food crisis, ministers are to say at a summit.
Rishi Sunak will be joined by ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as well as farmers and industry leaders at the meeting at No 10 on Tuesday.
The Guardian understands there is a battle between the home secretary, Suella Braverman, and Defra over immigration.
Fruit and vegetables have been rotting in the fields, and some farmers have gone out of business, as there are not enough people willing to pick them.
Farmers and Defra ministers have been lobbying the Home Office to increase the number of temporary visas for agricultural workers, but a senior Defra source said Braverman was “ideologically opposed” to such a move.
There may be good arguments for even higher prices in the shops and even more immigration - and I suppose we ought to be grateful in a way that politicians seem prepared to tell voters shit they don't want to hear for a change - but nonetheless this positioning is certainly "brave" in the Sir Humphrey sense.
Braverman has hardly shown any great capacity for political leadership as home secretary - she isn't really delivering anything of note and can't complain about it because she is in charge of the situation. So I suppose she is just neutralised as a political threat.
For too many, their support of freedom of speech is purely tactical, not principled, and they effectively expand what it means very broadly when it suits their agenda, or seek to qualify it tightly when it does not. Sometimes, the former can - by being so disruptive or intimidating- even cause the latter.
I despair of politicians. Again, far too many view lawmaking as a piece of performance art, displaying an ignorance of what's already on the statue book and what it does/doesn't provide for, and what new laws could/couldn't do.
I suppose that's much easier to do that than lead the national conversation (as well as listen to it) and practice good governance in office, and that's why they are part of the problem.
From your original list. Mordaunt, too woke, Tugs, too normal, so it has to be Stevie B.
There's a reason flat prices have flatlined in the last five years while house prices have rocketed.
Someone got AI to write an article on the “racism” of fake tanning products. Absolutely “believable” Guardianista gibberish. The Irish Times ran it, in all sincerity
My favourite sentences:
“The person who controls Acosta-Cortez’s Twitter account told the Guardian on Sunday, via direct message, that the Irish Times’s apology sidestepped its decision to publish “an incendiary article with an extreme leftwing viewpoint” in pursuit of clicks.
The person said they were Irish, a college student and identified as non-binary. They said they created the Acosta-Cortez persona by repurposing the Twitter account, which dates from February 2021, by using some Spanish and following Ecuadorian outlets.
They said they used GPT-4 to create approximately 80% of the article and the image generator Dalle-E 2 to create a profile picture of a quintessential “woke” journalist using the prompts “female, overweight, blue hair, business casual clothing, smug expression”.”
Buying a lease, even if long-term, is never the same as outright ownership.
"The criteria for determining what is a “philosophical belief” are that it must be genuinely held; be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available; be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour; attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; and be worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others. So, for example, any cult involved in illegal activities would not satisfy these criteria. The section provides that people who are of the same religion or belief share the protected characteristic of religion or belief. Depending on the context, this could mean people who, for example, share the characteristic of being Protestant or people who share the characteristic of being Christian."
The bit I've put in bold is potentially quite important in this context.
The comparison might be, by analogy, between a public venue like the Stand, offering a service for hire, which banned a guest for their views, after accepting a booking for an event, and (say) a newspaper, which may choose at will what it does and does not publish.