A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Flag burning

I very rarely find myself on the same side as Liberty and the Lib Dems in the debate about how to tackle terrorism but I'm with them in their condemnation of Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur's frankly idiotic proposal to make flag-burning illegal.

First off - which flags? Just our's? Does this mean I can't burn the flags of Cuba or Burma or North Korea as part of a demo against a dictatorship - I'd quite like to retain that right? Does it only cover the flags of nation states? If so what about burning the flags of countries that aren't independent like Palestine or Wales or England? What about burning the flags of organisations - could you burn a NATO or EU flag but not a US or UK one?

Second - how do they legally define a flag - most of what gets burned on demos are not actually flags at all - shops tend not to stock large numbers of nylon Stars & Stripes or Danish flags so what gets burned are paper drawings of flags, or painted sheets. Could you be prosecuted for burning an England football shirt?

Third - the only justification for censorship in the field of politics is when what is expressed clearly incites violence or other criminal acts against other citizens. It's difficult to tell with flag burners whether they are saying "burn the people of country x" or just indicating disapproval of country x's foreign policy.

Trying to curtail people from expressing their discontent publicly may make them more, not less, likely to resort to violence to change policies they disagree with.

What next: protecting national anthems by banning Jimi Hendrix's anti-Vietnam mangled version of the Star Spangled Banner or the Sex Pistols' version of God Save the Queen?


Anonymous the anecdotal said...

shut yer ginger trap

11:56 pm, October 29, 2006

Anonymous Brynley said...

For once, and once only, I agree with Luke

11:09 am, October 30, 2006

Blogger Sham said...

I think flag burning should be banned. To burn the flag of a country is to impugn the integrity of the entire nation. The country and the flag belong to the people, not the dictator.

If you wish to vent your rage - not that I am actively advocating this course of action - how about setting fire to pictures of the despots, or burning their effigies?

12:41 pm, October 30, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the strength of this, you should have considered a career in law...

1:06 pm, October 30, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke "the puke" akehurst, you truly are a said git aren't you. The only thing good about Hazel Blears is her new haircut... (it might get the fiftysomething Tom jone's fans going) Fair enough she may be working class, but she has done nothing to actually give disgruntled members more of a voice as "party chair" Luke you're a sycophantic turd of a man, you'd grovel to anybody and anything just to get a job wouldn't you?

12:12 am, October 31, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily agree with all of Hazel's politics but what I do like about her is that she campaigns all year round in her constituency. Everytime I have been to Salford and campaigned in a marginal ward she has been out. That is more than I can say for other MPs.

3:03 pm, October 31, 2006


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