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?