Race conviction without victim


by Sunny
22nd September, 2006 at 11:15 am    

This is hilarious.

Robert McGlynn, of Llansamlet, Swansea, was fined by Swansea magistrates for racially aggravated disorderly conduct after abusing an Asian woman. The woman was never traced but witness Lydia Rees reported the incident.

McGlynn, 40, was convicted after the only witness to the incident, Lydia Rees saw him shouting abuse at a traditionally-clothed Asian woman in the Hafod area of Swansea on 13 June this year.

Mrs Rees, 43, told magistrates she was shocked to hear him shout “Sieg Heil” and other abuse at the woman through his open car window.

Well done to Lydia Rees for reporting it. [Hat tip: Bevan]


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Filed in: Race politics,The BNP






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  1. Jagdeep — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:22 am  

    It’s political correctness gone mad!

  2. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:33 am  

    He got what he deserved. Asian women are proud of their culinary skills and it must be heartbreaking for them to hear a complete stranger say her saag is hell

  3. Scroll_lock — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:39 am  

    “Political correctness”? Surely this is about anti-fascism?

  4. Jagdeep — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:39 am  

    Saag is Hell! Saaag is Hell! Saag is Heil!

    The Third Reich was an anti-spinach and anti-maki ki roti conspiracy against Punjabi cuisine.

  5. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:46 am  

    It’s people like you Jagdeep that gives us Bangladeshis a bad name. You know it was because of us, with our ‘Indian’ restaurants (we were kind enough to attribute all our hard work to you), that English people woke up and smelled us. You lot with your doctorate degrees and engineering shenanigans have worked scurrilously over the years to destroy all our good korma

  6. Jagdeep — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:48 am  

    We owe it all to the Sylhetis. Our men were too busy getting wasted in their pubs in the Black Country and Southall, to go out and foster good race relations by opening curry houses from Penzance to Carlisle.

  7. Jai — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:49 am  

    It’s a backhanded slur against Popeye too. Maybe Hitler thought he was Jewish as well.

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd September, 2006 at 11:51 am  

    I just convinced Jagdeep I was right, he was wrong and that’s the way the world is

    (soaks in glory and ghee)

  9. Leon — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:14 pm  

    Saag is Hell! Saaag is Hell! Saag is Heil!

    The Third Reich was an anti-spinach and anti-maki ki roti conspiracy against Punjabi cuisine.

    LOL!

  10. Roger — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    He could also have been convicted for motoring offences as presumably he wasn’t paying much attention to his driving. The fact that he was grossly personally offensive to someone in a public place is reason enough to punish him. If neither commonsense nor courtesy will make him behave properly perhaps a fine will.

  11. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    Seriously, this is a good thing. My elders tell me how they regularly got called names like Paki and chants like ‘fuck off back to the jungle’ openly in places such as public transport and pubs. That just doesn’t happen now. Not because everyone is suddenly scared of Asians, but because the bigots know people like Roger are around and won’t stand for it

  12. Rakhee — on 22nd September, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    Unrelated but just seen this on the front of our favourite Daily Mail – “Sorry, you can’t join the police, you’re a white male” (hope this link works..)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=406385&in_page_id=1770&ct=5

  13. sonia — on 22nd September, 2006 at 1:11 pm  

    no. 2 – heh heh KH!

  14. Raj — on 22nd September, 2006 at 1:22 pm  

    I actually find this a bit disturbing.
    The witness stated “But I could not swear to the words I did hear.”
    and no victim was ever found but the courts found the man guilty anyway.

    Should there not be a higher standard of proof than this?

  15. Kismet Hardy — on 22nd September, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    What we need are CCTV camera that can hear

  16. BevanKieran — on 22nd September, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Interesting case. I wonder if his membership of the BNP was known to the magistrates. If I was his defence here’s the approach I would have gone for.

    A sieg heil gesture requires a certain amount of free volume, nicely encapsulated by a sphere with diameter of the length of arm and the centre at the shoulder. This simply isn’t available when sitting in a car. Even by opening the window, the sieg heil is not accessible, as a rotation of the seat, clockwise at a 90 degree angle so that the direction of the whole body be in the same plane is unachievable. In fact, any attempt at a sieg-heil in a non open-top car is futile. The defendant was merely waving to the lady.

  17. Jai — on 22nd September, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    =>”Not because everyone is suddenly scared of Asians, but because the bigots know people like Roger are around and won’t stand for it”

    It may also be due to the fact that at some point in the early 90s onwards, it would have resulted in several razor-sharp-edged solid steel karas rapidly heading towards the jaw of anyone who tried to pull that kind of stunt.

    Our American desi cousins seem to have not reached that point yet and are apparently stuck in the “nerdy desi” stereotype, from the perspective of other ethnic groups anyway.

    However, it’s great to see that there are large numbers of English people here these days who wouldn’t stand for any kind of racist behaviour from other white people.

  18. Sid — on 22nd September, 2006 at 3:21 pm  

    Ingrazi in Platforms
    Shelve your Western Plans

  19. Jagdeep — on 22nd September, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    White people always fought against skinheads and the racists. I remember the marches against the NF, the anti-racism groups, the local Labour Party liaising with the Gurudwara to organise opposition, Rock Against Racism, I remember punk musicians cussing the NF and skinhead violence, fighting them on the streets. Black and White Unite. I love white people because they face down their demons and oppose them and cuss them and fix their problems.

    Sometimes Asians try and deny problems or sweep them under the carpet. But yes it is true, a fist in the mouth of the offending redneck by an assertive second generation helped fix that problem, and it is always a good option to take a teeth out of the mouth for every time he shouts ‘Paki’ at you.

  20. ZinZin — on 22nd September, 2006 at 7:21 pm  

    Sunny it is hilarious but at the same time worrying. I just don’t think a man can be convicted and fined for being an arsehole. Surely that is his right.

    That the evidence given by the witness is flawed my contention is that we should not be prosecuted for things we say. Should the student who called a police horse gay be prosecuted?

  21. Old Pickler — on 22nd September, 2006 at 7:25 pm  

    I just don’t think a man can be convicted and fined for being an arsehole

    I’m an arsehole too and I totally agree. Save arseholes.

  22. ZinZin — on 22nd September, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

    Thank you old Pickler. Save Arseholes.

    The world needs arseholes if only to prevent constipation and piles.

  23. Sahil — on 22nd September, 2006 at 7:45 pm  

    When the key witness says:

    “But I could not swear to the words I did hear.”

    how can you fine this guy? He MAY have been a tosser, but hell, we’re innocent till proven guilty (can’t believe I might be supporting a skinhead). How did the conviction actually take place, I’m a bit spooked.

  24. Refresh — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:12 am  

    Was there really no victim?

    And was it hilarious?

    I only wish Jagdeep understood how far he’s fallen from his Rock Against Racism days.

  25. Jagdeep — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:28 am  

    Refresh, I’m still the same me, still hate fascists, still hate bigots, still hate communalists, still hate the fascists and killers no matter the colour! I have not changed at all, although the world has.

  26. Refresh — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:38 am  

    Jagdeep, you are only fooling yourself.

  27. Jagdeep — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:49 am  

    Refresh, I can’t be arsed to chat to you about your bollocks, I’m munching on a mini pizza and downloading some music, but as they say in Denmark, Skol! (Cheers!)

  28. Refresh — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:56 am  

    Skol

  29. Roger — on 23rd September, 2006 at 7:51 am  

    “I just don’t think a man can be convicted and fined for being an arsehole

    I’m an arsehole too and I totally agree. Save arseholes.”

    Very useful things in their proper place, arseholes. But if you go and deliberately fart in someone’s face then it’s offensive behaviour.

  30. Katy Newton — on 23rd September, 2006 at 9:54 am  

    I agree with Refresh. It’s not a matter of causing offence or being an arsehole; this bloke wasn’t handing out leaflets setting out his point of view, was he? The fact is that when someone singles you out for racist abuse in the street, you feel intimidated and frightened, and you are afraid that they might follow up words with fists.

    In being charged with a public order offence, this man was treated no differently from anyone who abuses other people in the street. Sometimes the antiracist legislation is misused, and in some respects it is misconceived, but I have no problem with this conviction at all.

  31. Katy Newton — on 23rd September, 2006 at 9:55 am  

    What I mean is that if the man had shouted “Fuck off” at the woman without any racist language, he would still have been guilty of a public order offence, and people are routinely charged, convicted and fined on that basis.

  32. Bert Preast — on 23rd September, 2006 at 11:54 am  

    So an arsehole has basically been convicted for having a “contorted face” in the presence of an Asian woman. I hope farting’s still allowed.

  33. Katy Newton — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    Oh come on, Bert, it was more than that. You might not think that the witness was reliable, but that’s a different question from whether or not the behaviour that she describes was acceptable. I don’t get racial harassment in that way, but I have friends who can be easily identified as Jews from the way they dress who get abuse all the time, and I don’t see why they should have to put up with it. I am glad that they can go to the police if they want to, and glad that the police will do something about it if they do.

    David Irving denying the Holocaust is offensive but not in itself threatening. Shouting “Sieg Heil” at an Asian woman minding her own business in the street is both offensive and intimidating, and people who do it shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

  34. ZinZin — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    Katy
    The man is an arsehole, but the evidence against him is weak. I would like to ask yo what is threatening about Seig Heil it a stupid thing to say but how it can be considered threatening is beyond me. Did he actually issue a threat or did he just broadcast his vile world view? which no one heard at all.

  35. Bert Preast — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    I don’t question this bloke is a racist and a nasty one at that. I do question his conviction without a victim and a witness who cannot be sure what was said.

    I’m a white van man, remember. What happens if I’m at some traffic lights with the window down when one of the lads in the back wets his finger and sticks it in my ear, causing me to yell “FUCKING FUCK OFF YOU BIG NOSED TWAT” as a hapless semite is bimbling past, and a bystander gets the wrong idea? This is persecution I tell you.

  36. ZinZin — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:41 pm  

    Bert
    That is worthy of Curb your enthusiasum.

  37. Bert Preast — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    Never seen it. :(

  38. Katy Newton — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

    Look, take the racist element out of it for a moment. Let’s say you’re walking down the street minding your own business, but wearing a White Stripes T-shirt, and some passing lunatic decides that they don’t like the White Stripes and starts hurling abuse at you.

    It would be one thing if you knew that the frothing lunatic hurling abuse at you for no reason was going to leave it at that, although it would still be distressing and upsetting, but you don’t know that. All you know is that some madman is for some reason so offended by your clothing that he’s ignoring the usual social convention that we don’t hurl abuse at people in the street.

    Most people have enough self-control not to just launch into a tirade when they see someone wearing something they don’t like, and so you already know that this particular person has limited self-control. How do you know that he isn’t going to get out of his car and whack you there and then, or follow you round the corner, or follow you home, and attack you there? It isn’t irrational to worry about that, because things like that actually do happen all the time; and they usually start with one person abusing another and escalate from there. Take it from a criminal lawyer.

    That is why it is not just offensive, but intimidating, when someone who has taken an irrational dislike to you starts shouting at you in the street.

    Now, I don’t agree that racially aggravated crimes are necessarily more serious than non-racially aggravated crimes – take, for example, a situation in which you have two very old black ladies who are punched in the street for no reason: the attacker of the first calls the old lady an “old cow” and punches her; the attacker of the second calls her a “black cow” and punches her; if anyone can explain to me why the first attacker deserves a lower sentence than the second then I would love to hear the reason. But I have no problem with the concept that shouting at people minding their own business intimidates them and is unacceptable behaviour, and I am glad that people who do it are punished.

  39. Katy Newton — on 23rd September, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    Bert, ZinZin – I don’t say the evidence is the strongest, and perhaps if I had heard the evidence myself I wouldn’t have convicted him because I wouldn’t have been sure that the witness was getting the evidence right. I’m starting with the premise that what the witness said was right, and the events happened as she said they did.

  40. Refresh — on 24th September, 2006 at 6:44 pm  

    Why all these words to show off our capacity for self-delusion and path to enlightenment?

    All these words without once recognising the real hero in all this. The woman who stood up to be counted.

    Think carefully, you fools. How many times do you think asian women (I’ll stick to this category for now in a vain attempt to defuse those idiots who love a derail) have been subjected to abuse and we’ve never known about it?

    I recall, being pained to hear my mum mention in passing how a couple of ‘mis-guided’ kids had hit her with a stick in an underpass near to her house. I noted how she had played it down – to avoid me pain and to avoid inflaming the situation. And I wondered how many times she’d been told to go back to where she came from and how many times she was called a ‘Paki’.

    Delighted to say, she’d always pointed out there was honour in being called a Paki. She was the first person I knew who reclaimed Paki.

    My gratitude goes to the woman who called the Police.

    And my heart goes to the woman who was subjected to abuse, and probably not for the first or the last time. Will she mention it to her family? Probably not.

    Picklers – grow up.

    Katy – thanks.

  41. Chairwoman — on 24th September, 2006 at 6:58 pm  

    Refresh – I can’t bear the thought of your mother being beaten by ‘misguided kids’. How I respect her for playing down the situation to prevent it escalating, and of course, to protect you. Good for the woman who did the right thing.

    When Katy was about eighteen months, I tramped the streets of NW London, pushing her in a buggy, leafleting on behalf of the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism. I don’t expect her to remember, especially as she didn’t know about it until this minute. I assume she acquired her ethics by osmosis.

  42. Amir — on 24th September, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    Zin Zin,

    Sunny it is hilarious but at the same time worrying. I just don’t think a man can be convicted and fined for being an arsehole. Surely that is his right.

    Couldn’t agree more. Sunny’s stance on free speech and expression is totally inconsistent.

  43. Refresh — on 24th September, 2006 at 7:27 pm  

    Chairwoman, thank you for your kind words. And respect to both you and Katy.

    It is nice to see fellow ANL supporters here. Its a liftime’s work I fear, for the incident happened only 10 years ago when she would have been in her mid-60′s.

    The most vivid incident (late 70′s) I recall was the 8 year old nephew of a very close friend who was beaten so badly he could not pass water for many days. The ANL was truly the movement that saw the racists off the streets, and Rock Against Racism did a fantastic job of showing the young the world we could all celebrate.

  44. Sunny — on 24th September, 2006 at 7:33 pm  

    I’m with Katy and Refresh too.

    To assauge your growing sense of grievance Amir, I’ll clarify my stance (for the 50 millionth time) – I’m for freedom of speech and expression providing it is not threatening or an incitement to violence.

  45. Amir — on 24th September, 2006 at 7:52 pm  

    Sunny,

    I’m with Katy and Refresh too.

    To me, the most precious of all rights in a functioning democracy is the freedom to think, write and say whatever is on your mind. That freedom also extends to thoughts that are stupid, ignorant or incendiary. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.

    Oh yes, [*cough cough*] what was it that Al-Hack said on a previous thread?

    ‘Tonge’s views veer into “Jews control the world” territory, traditionally used by anti-semites as an excuse for persecution. Or used by MPAC if you’re a paranoid mofo. But does that mean she should be sacked? Don’t think so.’

    And, errrm, err, what was it that you said Mr. Hundal?…

    On #13 ‘I agree with him, but also with David on that it depends on whether Tonge actually violated any parts of the LibDem charter. Otherwise she should be allowed her freedom of speech.’

    Mmmm [*rubbing his chin* *scratching his scalp*]. Someone’s being a teensy eensy bit inconsistent here, aren’t they?

    Amir

  46. Sunny — on 24th September, 2006 at 7:55 pm  

    There’s no inconsistency really. Being threatening towards someone and saying “Seig Heil” is rather different to being a conspiracy theorist.

  47. Amir — on 24th September, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

    Sunny,

    ‘I’m for freedom of speech and expression providing it is not threatening or an incitement to violence.’

    This, I am afraid, is tautological. Or as Noam Chomsky so judiciously put it:

    “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech”

    Meaning, of course, that you don’t support free speech.

    It’s very simple.

    [P.S. Hasn't it ever occurred to you that conspiracy-mongering provokes violence and hatred?]

    Amir

  48. Sunny — on 24th September, 2006 at 9:11 pm  

    How would you like me to say this differently? I do not support speech that is threatening or implies violence. I hope that simple statement permeates your brain eventually.

    As for conspiracy theory provoking violence, that’s only worth a short laugh.

  49. Amir — on 24th September, 2006 at 9:31 pm  

    Sunny,

    (I) ‘I do not support speech that is threatening or implies violence.’

    Yes. I know. Hence your hypocritical views on freedom of speech and expression. Incidentally, do you own a copy of Grand Theft Auto Vice City (or San Andreas) or NWA’s ‘Straight Outta’ Compton’? ;-)

    (II) ‘As for conspiracy theory provoking violence, that’s only worth a short laugh.’

    REALLY…? Have you ever heard of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? The book was an integral part of the Nazi propaganda effort to justify persecution of the Jews and their eventual extermination. Despite conclusive proof that the Protocols were a fatuous forgery, they were used to explain how all of the disasters that had befallen the country – the defeat in the war, the hunger, the destructive inflation – were the product of Jewish cabals and corruption.

    Amir

  50. Vikrant — on 24th September, 2006 at 9:37 pm  

    Incidentally, do you own a copy of Grand Theft Auto Vice City (or San Andreas)

    I’ll answer for Sunny, he does. Vice City methinks…

  51. Sunny — on 24th September, 2006 at 9:59 pm  

    Yup, own all the GTA editions and have NWA’s Greatest Hits! Your point being?

    By your second point, it would also take an idiot to then propose that any conspiracy theory questioning a government’s version of events will provoke violence and thus should be banned. Oh wait, I think Michelle Malkin et al already have.

    Sure it can be used by fascist dictators to justify their racism. But you’re wasting both of ours time. Just because it can happen does not mean it always does. Correlation does not imply causation.

  52. Katy Newton — on 24th September, 2006 at 10:29 pm  

    Amir, it isn’t the content of the speech, it’s the way it’s spoken. To convict of this offence, the magistrates must have decided that the woman who was the object of the abuse must have been harassed, alarmed or distressed. Are you going to say that she wouldn’t have been? Assuming that what the witness said was right, I would have been if I had been her.

    I don’t necessarily approve of racially aggravated offences, for the reasons I set out above, but if the man had shouted out “Fuck off” or “You fat slag” instead of racist abuse, he would still have been arrested and charged with the non-racially aggravated form of the offence; people are for similar offences every day.

    If what the witness said was right, this man decided that it would be funny to harass and scare a complete stranger minding her own business, and that is unacceptable whether he used racist language or not. If people were allowed to behave like this without let or hindrance, the streets would be a war zone. This is not about freedom of speech, it’s about not allowing one citizen to intimidate another.

  53. Katy Newton — on 24th September, 2006 at 10:34 pm  

    Oh, and Amir, if you don’t mind me saying so…

    :-)

    I think in your post about Tonge you’re confusing the right to free speech with the right of others to exclude you from their platform if you don’t like what they’re saying.

    For example, anyone can start their own blog promoting racism of any sort if they want to, but if they put racist abuse on my blog I’ll delete their comment, in the same way as I wouldn’t let someone into my house to shout racist abuse at me. My gaff, my rules, as the saying goes. Say what you like, but you can’t force me to listen.

  54. Katy Newton — on 24th September, 2006 at 10:34 pm  

    … and you can’t use my house or my blog as a base for perpetuating ideas that I fundamentally disagree with.

  55. Don — on 24th September, 2006 at 11:05 pm  

    Amir,

    re; #47; Are you really proposing that freedom of speech covers intimidating harassment?

  56. Joey Staples — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:09 am  

    If it was a Jewish lady or gentleman with a skullcap who was seig heiled at Amir, would you feel the same??

  57. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:15 am  

    Sunny,

    (I) ‘Yup, own all the GTA editions and have NWA’s Greatest Hits! Your point being?’

    My point? Isn’t it obvious? On #44, you claim not to support a person’s most basic right to speak freely if his/her words are deemed ‘threatening’ or instrumental to acts of violence. Putting to one side the legal quagmire in defining ‘threatening’ – and, by extension, the difficulty of proving a verbal link to such-and-such an act of violence – I am amused by your hypocrisy. Just now, you have confessed to owning a copy of NWA’s Greatest Hits – one of the most vile and villainous records ever produced. Here’s a brief taster of its lyrical content…

    (a) “So what about the bitch who got shot? Fuck her. You think I give a damn about a bitch? I ain’t a sucker. This is the autobiography of the E. And if you ever fuck with me. You’ll get taken. By some stupid dumb brother who will smother. Word to the motherfucka. Straight out of Compton.”

    (b) “A bitch iz a bitch. Either for poor or rich. I talk with the exact same pitch. Now the title ‘Bitch’ don’t apply to all women, but all women have a little bitch in them. It’s like a disease that plagues their character – taking the women of America. And it starts with the letter ‘B’ and makes a bitch like ‘dat think she better d’an me…. Now what can I do with a ho like you? Bend your arse over and d’en I’m through. [*laughing*] Coz you see Ice Cube ain’t taking no shit. ‘Why?’. Coz I think a bitch iz a bitch.”

    (c) “Here’s a murder rap to keep you dancin’. With a crime record like Charles Manson. AK-47 is the tool. Don’t make me act like a motherfuckin fool…So when I’m in your neighbourhood, you better duck,… coz Ice Cube is crazy as fuck”

    To pretend that these lyrics don’t have an influence on young and impressionable men and women is both dishonest and dangerous. They do. And yet, paradoxically, you think it is perfectly reasonable for Robert McGlynn to pay a fine for, err, well,… speaking. Apparently, it’s OKAY for Ice Cube to rap about shooting gangsters, pimping bitches, selling drugs, killing cops, and raping women – but it’s a CRIME for an idiotic Welshman to shout ‘Sieg Heil’ at an unsuspecting Asian bystander. It’s not nice. Agreed. But where’s the consistency? There isn’t any. According to your very own definition on #44, the police have a legal obligation to confiscate Rockstar games and NWA albums.

    (II) ‘By your second point, it would also take an idiot to then propose that any conspiracy theory questioning a government’s version of events will provoke violence and thus should be banned.’

    Is that how you describe the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? “Questioning a government’s version of events”? Or are you referring to the paranoid ravings of Jenny Tonge? Be that as it may, you have not answered my original point. Would you, or would you not, illegalise a conspiracy theory (i.e. Holocaust denial, Jewish conspiracies, etc.) if it ‘threatened’ an individual or incited violence against a group of persons? And don’t pretend that there’s no causal link between conspiracy-mongering and hate-mongering. There is.

    (III) ‘Sure it can be used by fascist dictators to justify their racism.’

    Conspiracy theories are a common currency amongst non-fascists too. Just look at anti-Semitic discourse that dominates the anti-Zionist left or the paleoconservative right. You’d be a fool to deny it.

    (IV) ‘Just because it can happen does not mean it always does. Correlation does not imply causation.’

    Uncertainty applies to all examples of prosecuted ‘hate speech’. Including, for that matter, the illiberal conviction of Robert McGlynn. For instance: How, or in what respect, did he ‘incite’ violence? Is there any evidence to suggest that he did so, or whether he intended to in the first place [remember: there’s a big difference between intended and unintended consequences]? Did the prosecution find adequate etiological evidence to prove that the Sieg Heil endangered the Asian woman’s physical wellbeing? And so forth.

    Amir

  58. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:33 am  

    Joey Staples,

    ‘If it was a Jewish lady or gentleman with a skullcap who was seig heiled at Amir, would you feel the same??’

    Yes. I would. Don’t be silly. :-)

  59. Refresh — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:39 am  

    Amir, its distressing to see you thrash about so.

    Take a rest.

  60. Sunny — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:40 am  

    Funny how you responded to my points but ignored all the other Amir. But you’re just digging a bigger hole.

    To pretend that these lyrics don’t have an influence on young and impressionable men and women is both dishonest and dangerous.

    Again, show me conclusive evidence that such lyrics alone are influence enough to drive a person to kill someone etc, rather than… say poverty or bad parenting. In fact if you really want to save lives I’d suggest campaigning against poverty rather than wasting your own time copy and pasting NWA lyrics.

    My stance is consistent with the law. You’re the one being hysterical here.

    And don’t pretend that there’s no causal link between conspiracy-mongering and hate-mongering. There is.

    In some cases there is, in others there isn’t. You know as well as I do the Protocols were part of wider ingrained sense of hatred and racism. Their existence alone did not lead to the Holocaust. And the Protocals aren’t the only conspiracy theories around… they also include Elvis Presley being alive, faked moon landings etc.

    How exactly would one prove conclusively one is a conspiracy theory (I’m not saying the Holocaust was a theory by the way, before you try creating that straw man)?
    The UK government failed to admit for a year that it had gotten the train timings wrong on the July 7th bombings, which were responsible for a lot of the conspiracy theories in the first place.

    If someone was to say that people were making up conspiracy theories about the Prophet Mohammed to malign Muslims and therefore their ‘theories’ amounted to hatred against Muslims and incitement to violence – your stance suggests you’ll go along with it then?

    The legal bit and other points have been dealt with by Katy.

  61. Sunny — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:44 am  

    Funny, for a so-called liberal you’ve suddenly become in favour of state-intervention now… Why not join forces with that other fool, Keith Vaz in his on-going campaign to ban violent video games?

  62. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:47 am  

    Don

    Are you really proposing that freedom of speech covers intimidating harassment?

    ‘Harassment’, broadly speaking, is when the offending party has violated the physical or psychic space of the victim, which, according to the most basic of moral axioms, violates the principle of self-ownership.

    As far as I’m concerned, there is no evidence to suggest that Mr. McGlynn ‘harassed’ his victim. He made a passing remark – albeit a nasty one.

  63. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:49 am  

    Sunny,

    I oppose David Irving’s imprisonment.

    I support the right to say hateful things.

    It’s as simple as that. You don’t.

  64. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:50 am  

    Funny, for a so-called liberal you’ve suddenly become in favour of state-intervention now

    Where the hell do I say this? I support Ice Cube’s right to be a prick. The ‘NWA’ analogy is intended to locate your hypocrisy, not mine.

  65. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:53 am  

    Sunny,

    Answer my question. For crying out loud. I have no idea what you’re rambling on about:

    DO YOU, or do you not, support the right of anti-Semitic conspiracy mongerers?

    And IF SO, how is this consistent with your views on so-called ‘hate speech’.

  66. Joey Staples — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:54 am  

    Amir

    I don’t see how yelling seig heil into the face of an Asian lady is anything other than an example of racist harassment, and seeing as you said you would say the same if it was a Jewish man or woman, I would say that if it had been done to a Jewish man or woman it would be even more intimidatory and hateful, because of the phrase being synonymous with the killing of 6 million Jews.

  67. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:59 am  

    Joey Staples,

    ‘I don’t see how yelling seig heil into the face of an Asian lady is anything other than an example of racist harassment’

    Racist? Nasty? Bigoted? Hateful? YES, yes, and yes. Harassment? Nope.

  68. Sunny — on 25th September, 2006 at 1:17 am  

    You don’t think shouting racial slurs at someone is harassment? Well then there’s no point taking this discussion any further because it is a plain difference of opinion.

    I thought I’d made myself clear above already. Read Katy’s first statement: Amir, it isn’t the content of the speech, it’s the way it’s spoken.

    Add to that, context. If Ice Cube were to repeat some of those lyrics to someone’s face with a malicious intent, he’d be jailed – and quite rightly too.

    Seriously, you’re flapping about wildly and damaging your own credibility here…

  69. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 1:48 am  

    Sunny,

    (I) ‘You don’t think shouting racial slurs at someone is harassment?’

    You’re using the plural (‘slurs’) instead of singular (‘slur’). Robert McGlynn shouted ‘Sieg Heil’ (a single slur) out of his car window and subsequently drove off – it was, if you will, a drive-by insult. The Asian woman probably felt like a piece of shit afterwards, but still,… it wasn’t ‘harassment’ – not by any stretch of the imagination. For it to qualify as ‘harassment’, it would have to be repetitive and persistent – which, according to the principle of self-ownership, violates our physical and psychic space. It did not, in my opinion. Go ahead,… prove me wrong.

    (II) ‘Amir, it isn’t the content of the speech, it’s the way it’s spoken.’

    For starters, it is inherently illiberal to arrest and jail a person for their ‘tone of voice’. What nonsense. If coppers could do this, then there would be no such thing as a ‘Stop The War Coalition’ or, for that matter, George Galloway. Another thing: you tacitly assume that there’s a clear-cut distinction between ‘content’ and the ‘way it’s spoken’. There isn’t. Tone (i.e. sarcasm, irony, aggression, subtleness) alters the content of speech –it’s meaning. Or vice-versa: Content (i.e. a wedding speech) influences the tone to be adopted (a mixture of banter and mawkish seriousness). A clampdown on tone, therefore, is a clampdown on speech.

    (III) ‘If Ice Cube were to repeat some of those lyrics to someone’s face with a malicious intent, he’d be jailed – and quite rightly too.’

    If he did it repetitively – then yes. It’s harassment. If he did it once. Then no. Unless, of course, he attacked/stalked/followed the victim afterwards – which, again, would count as harassment.

    (IV) ‘Seriously, you’re flapping about wildly and damaging your own credibility here…’

    Hilarious. I’m being lectured about ‘credibility’ by a man who once proclaimed to be an admirer of Amartya Sen, only to identify him as a Professor of Chemistry. Laugh-out-loud!! :-)

    Amir

  70. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 1:56 am  

    Joey Staples,

    ‘I would say that if it had been done to a Jewish man or woman it would be even more intimidatory and hateful, because of the phrase being synonymous with the killing of 6 million Jews.’

    This is a small price to be paid for living in an Open Society. Let me quote Robert Jackson: “The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish.” Persons who complain about free speech are like sailors who complain about the sea. I think Britain should have its equivalent of the US First Amendment, which specifically prohibits any such regulation.

    Amir

  71. Sunny — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:03 am  

    I’m more amused that you keep bringing up that one memory lapse as a serious blow to my credibility.

    If you’d read the initial post a bit more clearly without having to subject us with these unnecessarily verbose tracts of rubbish, you’d have read the Seig Heil-er was fined for: ‘racially aggravated disorderly conduct’, not harassment. That is exactly how the situation played out. So the law was followed out and interpreted as it was meant to have.

    Further to that, you don’t see this as something that may be seen as causing distress or harassment then that is of course your opinion. Others, including I, don’t share that.

    Now I can’t be asked to waste any more time on this subject. I believe my stance is clear.

  72. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:21 am  

    Sunny

    ‘…you’d have read the Seig Heil-er was fined for: ‘racially aggravated disorderly conduct’, not harassment.’

    I’m perfectly aware that Mr. McGlynn wasn’t charged under harassment. Because it wasn’t harassment. Not in any way, shape, or form. Don and Joey Staples, on the other hand, referred to it as ‘racial harassment’, and of course, I subsequently took issue.

    Racially aggravated disorderly conduct?

    OKAY. Let me deconstruct this PC gobbledegook and put it to you in plain English: “we arrested you for insulting another person”. Either way you look at it, the legislation is illiberal.

    Simple as. If you support this law, then you don’t support free speech. It’s very simple.

    Amir

  73. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 10:02 am  

    Amir – Surely Mr McGlyn could have been charged with Conduct Likely to Cause a Breach of the Peace.

    Here in NW London we have many feisty women from minority groups who would certainly have given him a run for his money if he’d ‘Seig Heiled’ them.

  74. Kismet Hardy — on 25th September, 2006 at 10:38 am  

    People can say what they want, as long as they’re not aggressive and allow for a debate that won’t end with a baseball bat. It’s called freedom of speech. Say what’s on your mind but don’t expect everyone to agree with you… it’s called arguing a point

  75. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 11:24 am  

    Kismet – Shouting ‘Zeig Heil’ at an Asian woman was hardly ‘arguing a point’.

  76. Kismet Hardy — on 25th September, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    No, that’ll be the freedom of speech bit :-)

  77. Kismet Hardy — on 25th September, 2006 at 11:30 am  

    Freedom to insult isn’t the same as freedom to bully or freedom to maim. Insult me, I insult you back, no one goes to hospital. Works for me

  78. Jai — on 25th September, 2006 at 11:45 am  

    Kismet,

    The problem is that the typical Asian auntie-type isn’t necessarily the sort of person who is capable of hurling back abuse — at least not until the initial surprise about the incident has passed and she becomes angry at the memory. Plenty of exceptions, of course, but many aren’t the type to react immediately and effectively, especially if the other party isn’t Asian.

  79. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 11:52 am  

    Kismet, you’re a BLOKE! If another woman had ‘Zeig Heiled’ her it would just have been insulting, when it’s done by a man, it can feel threatening. I was once chased from Sainsburys car park to my home by a guy who decided that I looked like a soft touch, and could take blame for someone else’s bad driving. If it had been a woman, I wouldn’t have been bothered, but he scared me, although I hid it completely and sent him off with a flea in his ear.

  80. Kismet Hardy — on 25th September, 2006 at 11:54 am  

    End of the day, it’s still a verbal attack met with fear. Not the same as physical attack met by sticks and stones and broken bones

    Just pointing out the difference

  81. Refresh — on 25th September, 2006 at 12:50 pm  

    The next step will be to push these auntie types to dress proper so they can attract a better class of racist.

    Fools.

  82. Roger — on 25th September, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    “Freedom to insult isn’t the same as freedom to bully or freedom to maim. Insult me, I insult you back, no one goes to hospital. Works for me ”
    An unprovoked public insult insult is bullying, though. At the soft end of the continuum, perhaps, but still bullying.

  83. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 1:46 pm  

    OK, let’s take as a premis that Mr R Thug exercises his right to free speech by taking a verbal pop at Indira Auntie at the traffic lights, where she is minding her own business. She isn’t injured, but she’s seriously shaken.

    Next time she wants to drive to Tesco, she’s a little bit nervous, but she goes just the same. At Tesco, she’s putting her shopping in the car, at the far end of the car park. It was very crowded when she arrived, but has now emptied out, and she is pretty much isolated. As she closes the boot, a car pulls up alongside her. As bad luck would have it, it is being driven by Mr R Thug, accompanied this time by his wife Chavette, and his children, Chavvy and Chavlene. They all start hurling racial abuse at her. They and their rage contorted faces are very near to her. She is too frightened to move. She says nothing.They tire of their sport. She gets in the car and weeps.

    She drives home very slowly, still crying.

    She has the choice, does she tell her family, have someone come with her next time and risk them having a fight and perhaps getting hurt, or does she say nothing. She says nothing, and next week goes to somewhere she feels ‘safe’. She never goes back to a supermarket, or to a ‘regular’ shopping centre again. She has become ghetto-ised.

    And nobody’s been hurt?

  84. Leon — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    If I were her the next time I went shopping I wouldn’t go alone.

  85. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

    Leon – you’re a bloke. Indira Auntie knows if someone goes with her and there’s a repeat performance, her companion will jump out the car and an altercation will ensue. She’s worried that her companion will get hurt, and then it will be her ‘fault’.

    She’s not me. She doesn’t like a scrap.

  86. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:29 pm  

    Chairwoman,

    ‘As bad luck would have it, it is being driven by Mr R Thug,… They all start hurling racial abuse at her. They and their rage contorted faces are very near to her.’

    Well, according to this brief hypothetical, Mr R Thug is guilty of harassment, and should, for the offence, receive an official caution; if he does it again, he is subject to a hefty fine or a spell of community service. If he does it again, the judge should consider a brief prison sentence of maybe 2-3 months.

    Now, to forestall any possible misunderstanding on the issue of ‘free speech’, may I point out that the content of Mr. Thug’s abuse (i.e. racism etc.) should have no bearing whatsoever on his conviction. Aggressive beggars and neurotic ex-boyfriends, for example, who do not resort to the type of puerile racialism exhibited by Mr. R Thug , are routinely convicted of harassment, which, as I pointed out earlier, infringes upon the principle of self-ownership – a conservative and libertarian principle.

    Amir

  87. soru — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:36 pm  

    As I understand it, the USA has a tradition of absolute free speech as a simple natural right, whereas the UK legal position is more that greater free speech is always a good thing, but it is still subject to possible trade-offs against other good things.

    Out of interest, what would the US legal position on a case like this be?

  88. Jai — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    Amir,

    Good in theory, but a couple of problems in practice:

    1. Auntieji needs to be composed enough to write down the offenders’ car registration number and, if possible, the make & model of the car.

    2. Auntieji may already be too freaked out and she may therefore not want to “make a fuss”.

    3. If Uncleji is present, however, and he’s a fairly typical desi uncle type, he may be sufficiently angry to go on a vendetta to nail the jerks, via the police and his lawyers.

    4. But Auntieji may not want the publicity which will ensue. Uncleji may also be in two minds about it.

    5. In the meantime, if they’ve managed to remember what the car looked like, Junior Uncle and ten of his cousins may decide to hunt around for the offenders and introduce them to Mr Steel Kara and Sir Baseball Bat.

  89. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    Amir – I was making this hypothetical for Kismet who wants everybody to hurl abuse at everybody else on the public highway.

    Being the proud mother of a criminal lawyer, I have been made aware where the law stands. I am trying to prove to Kismet that injury isn’t always physical.

  90. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:47 pm  

    Jai – You got it in one!

  91. Leon — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:50 pm  

    Indira Auntie knows if someone goes with her and there’s a repeat performance, her companion will jump out the car and an altercation will ensue. She’s worried that her companion will get hurt, and then it will be her ‘fault’.

    A bit far fetched if you ask me…

  92. Jackie Brown — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:52 pm  

    Amir have you had a chance to expand on your comments about M. Gladwell’s book Tipping point?

  93. Jai — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

    Leon,

    re: post #91

    No, it’s actually a pretty accurate description of how many older-generation Asians react in such situations.

  94. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

    Refresh – The main advantage to the better class of thug is the look of extreme astonishment on their face when a middle class, middle aged Jewish woman shouts ‘Fuck you, arsehole’ in her very loud, very posh, voice.

    I am happy to coach any Auntieji in the technique.

  95. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

    Please forgive the lapse og good taste.

  96. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    Jai,

    All of those problems concern the reporting of x incident and how a victim or group of victims should react to x incident. How, or in what respect, does that alter the principle of free speech and expression?

    At the end of the day, Robert McGlynn was fined for saying a nasty word.

    Yes, it was hurtful. Yes, the Asian woman probably felt like shit.

    But no, you can’t arrest someone for saying a nasty word. You can’t. It’s illiberal. It’s wrong. It’s dangerous.

    I rest my case.

  97. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

    Amir – I believe in free speech. Free speech is David Irving saying the Shoah didn’t happen. He’s wrong, but he’s entitled to say it.

    Free speech is NOT someone gratuitously abusing a complete stranger based only on their ethnic background.

  98. Leon — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

    No, it’s actually a pretty accurate description of how many older-generation Asians react in such situations.

    Older generation, how old, 30/40/50/60? It just looked like a lazy stereotype to advance an arguement to me…

  99. Jai — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    Leon,

    When Asians use the words “older generation”, it usually refers to people who are 50+.

    It’s not a stereotype; it’s a generalisation, definitely, but one that has sufficient grounding in fact.

  100. Amir — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:31 pm  

    Chairwoman,

    Free speech is NOT someone gratuitously abusing a complete stranger based only on their ethnic background.

    Yes it is. (Unless – as I just pointed out – the abuse spirals out of control and metamophorises into a case of verbal harassment.) If you’re in favour of free speech, then you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favour of free speech

  101. Leon — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:32 pm  

    Above 50 and the women who suffered the racial abuse was 43? I still fail to see what lazy stereotyping have to do with this. The crime was abhorrent as it was without pouring sympathy inducing characterisations all over it.

  102. Leon — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

    My mistake, I misread the age of the witness and confused it with the women abused. My second point stands with retraction however.

  103. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

    Older Generation is anyone 10 years older than me.

    Amir – We must agree to disagree.

  104. Jai — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

    Leon,

    You usually make superb points and, as you know, I think you’re a great guy. However, with all due respect, on this particular occasion the comments about “Aunties” behaving in certain ways may be something which only Asians would be able to relate to, due to the extensive “inside knowledge” and direct experience we all have on the matter.

    This doesn’t mean that every single older-generation Asian woman will behave in the way described in post #91, but very large numbers will, especially those who are from fairly sheltered backgrounds.

    There is going to be a difference between the reactions of Dr Neeta Shah the consultant psychiatrist with a six-figure income and Mrs Neeta Shah the housewife. These are fairly extreme examples and there are plenty of exceptions to the latter, but it’s a pertinent point.

  105. Chairwoman — on 25th September, 2006 at 3:52 pm  

    Jai – I was imagining the Jewish women of my Aunties’ ages when I was your age, if you get the point. There’s a certain mindset that women who come from ‘protected’ societies have that’s difficult to explain to those who come from more outgoing ones.

    However, look at me, two generations on. Before my illness I could be out my 4 x 4 with my head in an abuser’s car hurling invective so quickly that I didn’t know how I got there.

    Now I’m a passenger and know my place.

    Karma.

  106. ZinZin — on 25th September, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

    Seig heil is a salute is it not?

    If it is then the arsehole was fined for a salute.

  107. Refresh — on 25th September, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    Chairwoman,

    “I am happy to coach any Auntieji in the technique.”

    Rather you on how to live in the real world, than a philosophical harangue on freedom of speech from Amir.

  108. Refresh — on 26th September, 2006 at 1:18 am  

    Amir

    The most fundamental right in a functioning democracy is the freedom from fear.

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