Taking the rot out of a rotten bill

According to the BBC, campaigners against the proposed incitement to religious hatred bill have proposed a compromise which they believe will protect freedom of expression. Having accepted that the government is likely to force the bill through no matter what, Rowan Atkinson, Lord Carey, and a cross-party group of peers have proposed the following safeguards:

– Nobody can be found guilty of new religious hate crimes unless it is proved they intended to stir up hatred
– Only threatening words should be banned by the bill, not those which are only abusive or insulting
– There should be a specific part of the bill saying the law should not restrict discussion, criticism of expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or beliefs.

Lib Dem peer Lord Lester said,

The purpose of these amendments is to take the rot out of a rotten bill [...] We think it would be a mistake to wreck the bill and then give the government the excuse that the unelected upper house was somehow thwarted the will of the elected representatives.


3 Responses to “Taking the rot out of a rotten bill”

  1. marc says:

    “There should be a specific part of the bill saying the law should not restrict discussion, criticism of expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or beliefs.”

    Course not, they already have laws for that – as the poor guy wearing a tee-shirt in the last blog can attest to. I think I’ll get one made carrying the words, “I hate god botherers!” and let’s see them arrest me for that.

  2. G. Tingey says:

    Why not pass a one-line bill that says:
    “There is no such thing as blasphemy, and no offence of blasphemy exists.”

    This would automatically supercede any preceding legislation.
    You COULD add a second line, repealing the present blasphemy law.

  3. [...] MediaWatchWatch has picked up this story from the BBC on the much maligned government proposals for new religious hatred laws. Comic actor Rowan Atkinson and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey joined forces with a cross-party group of peers to propose new safeguards. [...]