Great moments in U.K. hate speech law

After a professor’s denunciation, West Midlands police in the United Kingdom recorded as a reported “hate incident” a cabinet minister’s speech to a Conservative Party conference. In the speech, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, whose duties include the oversight of policing itself as well as immigration and citizenship, had “suggested tightening rules that allow UK firms to recruit workers from overseas.” Oxford University professor Joshua Silver reported the speech as a hate incident, and later explained himself in a BBC2 interview, “It’s discriminating against foreigners – you pick on them and say we want to give jobs to British people and not to foreigners. It was interpreted that way.” Britain’s hate speech law is a departure from centuries of free-speech tradition in the island nation; under relevant police guidelines, “Where any person… reports a hate incident … it must be recorded regardless of whether or not they are the victim, and irrespective of whether there is any evidence to identify the hate element.” The West Midlands police are reported to have “assessed” the claim without launching a formal investigation, and say no crime was committed. [BBC]


  • Since each complaint has to be recorded, I’m surprised that there is not an organized attempt to report everything, so that the government is so overwhelmed that they cannot separate the chaff from the wheat.

    • That was my first thought too, a cottage industry of aggrieved people having every utterance reported as hate speech

    • Isn’t that one of Alinsky’s Rules? Make the enemy live fully by his own rules?

  • I would suggest that this complaint was a hate crime against British workers, and should be so reported.

  • Prosecutors investigating political speech. I would also file this one under the “Can’t happen here” category. Until it does.