The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

We are not all Charlie

Posted on January 15, 2015 by

Freedom of speech has been a very hot topic across the world in the wake of the brutal murder of 12 editorial staff at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and other related killings. So in our latest poll we thought we’d find out how committed people were to the principle, even in much less deadly situations.


The results were sobering.



Agree: 47%
Disagree: 37%
Net agreement: +10


Agree: 46%
Disagree: 37%
Net agreement: +9

Scotland/rUK gap: 1 point

We couldn’t have made the question much clearer. We’re not talking about threats of rape and murder here, just people being a bit rude. And despite all the outpourings of support for free expression in the context of cartoons, it seems the people of the UK are united by the belief that the police should get involved if you say that someone’s a smelly bumface on Twitter.

There was more agreement between Scots and rUK citizens on this than all but two of our 31 questions. Scottish men backed prosecution by just +3%, but women were in favour by +17. The young were more forgiving than older people, though there was little difference between social classes.

SNP voters backed the proposition by +12, Lib Dems by +10, Labour by +15 and the Tories were the most tolerant at just +2. South of the border the figures were Tories +20, Labour +5, Lib Dems +19 and UKIP +15.

We’re not sure why rUK Tories are 10 times as sensitive as their Scottish brethren, but those are the numbers. Perhaps they’re just a lot less used to being insulted.


*Our poll sampled 1007 respondents in Scotland and 1031 across the rest of the UK. Fieldwork 9-14 Jan 2015. Full data tables will be available on the Panelbase website.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 15 01 15 16:28

    We are not all Charlie | Politics Scotland | S...

100 to “We are not all Charlie”

  1. Craig Munro says:


  2. DaveyM says:

    That’s chilling.

  3. Murray McCallum says:

    It looks like we may have to add several thousand additional police officers to the X+1000 nurses that are to be hired to save Scotland.

  4. J says:

    Wow, thats sobering.

    I hope I wasnt the only one alarmed by some of the more creepy left wing rhetoric from “our side” during the referendum. But I guess this poll shows its not really a left wing thing at all if the tories and UKIP are equally strong backers.

  5. Grizzle McPuss says:

    Can I just say to all my denture, wig and surgical support wearing comrades here on Wings, that I hope all you bampots aren’t the sort to take any offence.

    Je suis (à droite) Charlie

  6. Luke Stirling says:

    Extremely disheartening, we’re a country full of wallies.

  7. Doug Daniel says:

    “We’re not sure why rUK Tories are 10 times as sensitive as their Scottish brethren, but those are the numbers.”

    More likely to be on the receiving end? Nobody really gives much of a toss about what the Scottish Tories are doing.

  8. John Sellars says:

    Smelly bumfaces

  9. Marcia says:

    A lot of you would be locked up for justifiable criticism.

  10. ClanDonald says:

    The Scots must have been picturing the odious Katie Hopkins when they were answering that question. “Aye, shove the old bag in the jail the cheeky cow.”

  11. yesindyref2 says:

    I imagine that many people identify offensive behaviour on Twitter and Facebook with bullying, porn picture revenge, all the things that get broadcast about, so I don’t think it’s surprising people want to see that “policed”.

  12. Robert Roddick says:

    Je suis toujours Charlie.

  13. AuldA says:


    My poor Stu’, you risk being the first victim of your own poll! 😉

  14. Marcia says:

    ‘Free the Wings 1000’ shouts Jim Murphy from Irn Bru crates up and down the land. 🙂

  15. Brendan Devlin says:

    Je suis shiting mysel’.

  16. mogabee says:

    *kiss my lemon scented lips*

  17. Alex Clark says:

    “Freedom of speech” is an oxymoron. There are laws stipulating what you can and can’t say whether in public, writing or on a blog.

    I agree with that to an extent. Should you be “allowed” to write hate articles against other religions or of a differrent ethnicity for example?

    I don’t think so.

    That infamous Kate Hopkins tweet about the ill Ebola nurse for example overstepped the boundaries of free speech in my opinion. It was an attack against the “sweaty jocks”, unacceptable to me due to the racist undertones.

    The only freedom of speech that I am concerned with, is that you must always be able to criticise any body or corporation that has power. Be that a government, politician, business or anyone else with power over your life. They should be held to account for their decisions.

    They are definitely fair game. Sweary words acceptable.

  18. Alex Boitz says:

    Could be people not really reading and understanding the question and giving the answer they assume to be “correct, and envisaged “prosecution” by the page moderators rather than by the police. Mind you there’s nowt queerer than folk.

  19. Dr Jim says:

    Well if i have to go to jail can it be in one of these ones that Murphy wants built where it’s more convenient for the criminals to go and my relatives can visit, coz wherever the NATS are building them it’s the wrong place. The man’s a smelly bumface…….ooops
    Now where is all the crime conveniently committed?

  20. Dr Jim says:

    The Politically correct and Professionally Outraged Strike again

  21. manandboy says:

    What if you said ‘By introducing Russian mind control methods into British politics, John McTernan is the most dangerous man in the UK.’
    Or is it just about f-b-c expletives and the odd ugly thrown in.
    I’ve never been arrested – but the desire for Independence could change that.

  22. Onwards says:

    Maybe people are thinking of limited action against some of the extreme hurtful tweets in certain situations, eg child abductions.
    Not just rude insults.
    Still, where to draw the line..?

  23. gordoz says:

    The ‘Imperial Masters’ at Westminster will be so proud.

  24. scottish climber says:

    Field work should be 2015 not 2014

  25. jimnarlene says:

    Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868 – 1938)(not Voltaire)

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

  26. scottish_skier says:

    This is a grey area. People have committed suicide due to verbal and online abuse (not threatening, but insulting); notably the young and mentally vulnerable.

    If someone e.g. bombards someone else with insults constantly, it is actually classed as a crime: harassment.

    The question in that sense isn’t actually clear, so results should be treated with caution. The respondent has to decide whether all offensive comments, no matter how severe, are ok or not. There is no option of ‘depends on severity / situation’ which I imagine would have changed results considerably.

    I myself would struggle to answer it. I clearly don’t believe that e.g. the Rev should be prosecuted for calling a fuckwit a fuckwit on twitter. However, if he was constantly sending messages to e.g. a vulnerable ex girlfriend calling her a fat slag, whore etc (but not actually threatening any violence), I’d like the police to have a word with him.

    I suspect if examples were given and people were asked, results would be clearer.

  27. Scott says:

    “Fieldwork 9-14 Jan 2014”
    Assume that should be 2015?

  28. H says:

    I read from the Gospel of Uncle Ben taken from the first book of Spiderman………….. with great power comes great responsibility ………

    the moral of the Gospel in regards to Freedom of Speech:-
    Just because you have the right to freedom of speech doesn’t give your the right to abuse it.

  29. scottish_skier says:


    Yes, offensive is undefined / far to ambiguous.

    Saying ‘sod off asshole’ to a troll is way different to e.g. calling e.g. an emotionally vulnerable anorexic a ‘fat, ugly, useless…’

  30. Alex Clark @ 4.28pm, mentioned “sweary Jocks”.

    Alex – we are not “sweaty Jocks”, we are “Sweaty Socks”, an attempt at middle-class Cockney rhyming slang; best smiled at or laughed-off.

    My own response to being termed “A Sweaty Sock” is to respond, better than being an English Barsteward – that usually shuts them up.

  31. Helena Brown says:

    I have always thought that if you are insulted by someone on the internet you can switch it off. If you are insulted in the press you are obliged to take it to court.
    If you cannot take the heat leave the kitchen, and yes I will agree that there are some instances when Police action could be taken but being of the generation which was encouraged by parents to toughen up with the old adage that stick and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me, I do think that we are rearing a load of kids who need a good dose of reality. Though not having reared any I will take my blows.

  32. manandboy says:

    Quiz:Which of the following is perceived to be more serious in UK Society.

    1. I’m a banker in the City. I’ve just completed a scam whereby I was able to help myself to £20 billion worth of Quantative Easing. The deal is technically fraud and completely illegal, but my schoolchums at No 10 won’t do a thing about it.

    2. I’ve just tweeted Ed Balls and told him he’s a rtf’n weirdo.

    UK Establishment – Straining out gnats while swallowing camels whole.

  33. Joemcg says:

    It’s a joke. I was up on a gross misconduct charge for comments on Facebook about 2 of my managers. They were pathetically tame remarks. Still fuming about it years later. This PC crap has went too far.

  34. Jimbo says:

    Looks like we’re becoming a nation of Jessies with eggshell egos.

    I blame the media for the way they jump all over every and any slight, no matter how trivial. They’re inducting the nation into their blame culture.

  35. handclapping says:

    I wonder what difference it would have made if Stu had asked about outrageous as opposed to offensive behaviour?

    The trouble is that offensive has connotations with offence as used in all the best policiers so it may be read as speech that constitutes an offence rather than speech which may offend

  36. Wee Jonny says:

    Is this not proof of the Princess Diana Effect. When Diana died/was killed the outpouring of grief was unbelievable from people from all walks of life. People who’d never met her and who believed the headlines that she was the queen of the slags were now overcome with grief for the Queen of Hearts. And as facebook/Twitter and other social media has grown so has the tendency for people to tell everybody just how much they’re sharing your pain when most really don’t give a shit. As your poll has shown near HALF said they’d want the polis involved if someone called them a smelly bumface yet they same people will stand in squares all over the world holding their posters in support of Charlie Hebdo and free speech. And not a thought for the 2000 (although now disputed to be ONLY 150) killed by Boko Haram. I did it myself. My wife and I were as shocked as most people at the attacks on the World Trade Centre and just had to go to New York so we can make sure the Americans were okay. We did. We had a wonderful 15 nights in Noo Yoyk, went to the memorial and shopped till we dropped. As much as I felt something for New York and New Yorkers I wasn’t really sure what that feeling was. False grief is what it was.

  37. Clare says:

    Interesting. I recognise these questions as a poll I took part in. I answered ‘Don’t know’ to this question because ‘offensive’ covers such a wide range of things – homophobia? racism? And I’m not quite sure how I feel about there being no come back on these issues.

    As far as being Charlie, I’m of the mind ‘I will defend your right to say it, even if I don’t agree with it’ – although again, where’s the line with topics such as those I mentioned above, and how different from them is the idea of religious intolerance? Lack of respect is at the root of many of societys problems today I fear.

  38. Dr Steinberg says:

    Welcome to Wings Over Wormwood Scrubs!

  39. Dr Jim says:

    If they threaten me with that law i’ll kill the bastirts… Damn, did it again…

  40. Alex Clark says:

    @Socrates MacSporran

    Yes I know, worked in London for 3 years and on occasion did come across the “Sweaty Sock” term.

    However the lovely Katie, not knowing any better used “Sweaty Jocks” in her tweet, maybe she was toning it down for her followers 🙂

  41. think again says:

    The devil is in the detail.

    What actually constitutes offensive? One dictionary`s definitions of offensive include displeasing, annoying, exasperating, irritating, vexing, galling, and provocative.

    Might I ever so humbly suggest that these words perhaps describe my opinion of The Right Honourable James Francis Murphy, M.P.

    He couldn`t possibly take offense? Could he?

  42. manandboy says:

    Question – Since the UK Establishment is fully engaged in dispensing with all ethics, truth and morality, why does the majority of the population act as if that doesn’t matter..

    I’m having one of those days.

  43. David Mooney says:

    I knew politicians and the ruling classes were hypocrites, bleating about free speech and democracy especially recently. While systematically suppressing any attempt to expose the truth regarding their lies, misinformation, pedophilia, rape, murder, expenses fraud and all other corrupt practices.

    I guess it goes to show people in general don’t think deeply enough, about the consequences of giving the state more control over newer forms of communication and freedom of expression available on the internet like social media.

    If this manifested itself into further repressive laws against FB, twitter etc… I for one would be f****d.

  44. AnneDon says:

    I did that survey!

    I said Yes to young voters, and No to prosecuting trolls. In the UK, people don’t know what “freedom of expression” actually is.

    We’ve never had it, so we don’t know what it is.

  45. a2 says:

    Not surprising really, lots of people just don’t get the concept. a link to media lens just popped into my inbox, nice illustration of how the west gets free speech.

  46. tartanarse says:

    Can’t we get around the law(if it came into being) by simply using sarcasm?

    For instance.
    As a Scot, I love Katie Hopkins and a those funny little names she has for us. What a lovely lady. I certainly hope she doesn’t fall into a volcano and was upset to catch her crying on telly the other day.

    And, John Sellars at 16.14 I am a wee bit unhappy at being beaten to the smelly bumfaces post. I’d call you a name but i’d likely get sent to jail or something.

  47. James Kay says:

    O/T, but seen on UK Polling Report:

    For a laugh, why don’t we all put UKPR to bed for one night, sit back and have a couple of beers (red wine, G&T – it doesn’t really matter) and all migrate to Wings over Scotland and spend the night posting exclusively about English matters.

    What fun we could have.

  48. Capella says:

    The MSMs freedom to print absolute rubbish offends me.
    Saw front pages of “news” papers today blaring out that the drop in the oil price has blown a £6b hole in the Scottish economy but that the broad shoulders of the UK will save us. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said so at the Treasury Committee.
    But that isn’t what he said at the Treasury Committee. Listen here from 14:31:56 for 5 minutes.

  49. Cag-does-thinking says:

    There is a huge difference between the French point of view and the UK one. Years of offensive media have chipped away at the famed British sense of “fair play” and tolerance changes have come abut despite rather than because of media viewpoints. Just as they can’t get their head round the idea that Scotland might have an independent voice so we have had some thirty years of social engineering to chip away the idea of sympathy and empathy. These days it’s the obese, the unemployed, the disabled or the muslims who are the targets of the deeply unpleasant subsection who just have to find somebody to hate. The problem is that the newspaper barons will say that people buy their papers written by vastly overpaid opinionated fools. As seen on Fox news that guy who was an expert on terrorism who said London had Islamic police shows that they get people to say stuff to suit an agenda. Why else would you put these barking people on in the first place. Can’t find anybody reasonable and tolerant, well let’s get somebody outrageous.

    Social media is dangerous because it’s at the tip of your tongue. Want to call somebody an arsehole it’s right there at your fingertips however drunk or emotional you are. To criminalise it is to stop free speech at source. People will spout crap unto other people, it’s the reason Facebook exists apart from sharing cute dog videos but we live in a country where the overriding message is fear. Fear the authorities, fear the law, fear the DHSS etc and the best thing to come out of the Scottish indepepndence debate was to throw off that shackle of fear and to start to question why we were scared in the first place. We’ve a long way to go though as this survey shows.

  50. steveasaneilean says:

    Surely what matters is whether or not something is designed to hurt.
    You really do have to question the motives of those who use invective to “attack” someone. What’s the point? Does it help persuade others to the validity of your viewpoint? Does it encourage them to engage in meaningful discussion? Do you feel good about yourself for doing it? Is it accpetable to abuse someone on the basis of a body characteristic such as weight or hair colour anymore than it is to abuse them because of the colour of their skin?
    I think there is a difference between individuals and institutions and with individuals we need to be more careful and more tolerant.
    That’s not to say a good few “swearies” is out of order – I don’t have a problem with that per se although don’t feel the need to use them in print myself.
    So now I guess I am going to be told to go and f**k myself 🙂

  51. john king says:

    I have a question,
    could tartanarse be sent to jail for self abuse? 🙂

  52. CameronB Brodie says:

    Perhaps those sampled were just a bunch of stiffs? Would it be possible to weight against such a bias? 🙂

    More seriously, I think this poll highlights society’s conservative nature, as well as the comfort provided by traditions. Two and a bit centuries or so of hierarchical modernist norms, is apparently a though habit to kick for some.

  53. Grouse Beater says:

    We live in an age of creeping authoritarianism, the only way for the neo-cons and neo-liberals to sustain their cracked economic philosophy of greed and power for the few, with fascism rearing its ugly head again in Europe.

    Restricting what is written on social media is just another way of controlling the masses. After all, they already scan most of what’s written, and according to Edward Snowden, store it.

    The more we give in to them, the less we get in return.

    Terror and War on Terrorism – Grouse Beater on WordPress

  54. CameonB Brodie says:

    Oops, wrong thread. 🙂

  55. Amber says:

    There is a difference between using a ‘harmless’ insult – calling someone a smelly bum face, and using targeted slurs against a person on the internet, e.g calling a gay person a p***, calling a black person a n*****, calling a woman a b***h, a c**t, a p***y, a s**t, a w***e etc.

    Guess which one most people reading that question would immediately think it relates to, especially people who have experienced those kind of attacks (hence the greater support from women than men).

    Do you have a right to say what you like? Yes. Do we have a right to call you out on offensive language, and expect consequences for those who use it? Also Yes.

    Free Speech is a right, but it is also a responsibility, and should be used wisely.

  56. David McCann says:

    What I deplore is the double standards employed by many in the media,to appear to support free speech, and at the same time fail to condemn the killing in Gaza of 17 journalists; the bombing of al-Jazeera station’s Baghdad office during a US air raid,and many other instances of closing down of free speech.
    Read this interesting report by Medialens.

  57. Devorgilla says:

    Maybe people were thinking of the recent tweet by Katie Hopkins about the ebola nurse. Maybe that was what prompted the reaction.

  58. bjsalba says:

    Taking offense is one thing but being subjected to abuse is another.

    That is why I try to stick to criticizing policies rather than personalities.

    The problem is knowing where to draw the line.

  59. SSDeptFear says:

    This shows a terrifying statistic that people are willing to hand over all forms of freedom of speech to the police to decide how subjective “I’ve been offended” really is. All these people cry about “you can’t make a joke about this or that” and pick up the phone, speed dial 999 and expect a door to be kicked in by armed police, dressed in black… Oh wait, maybe that don’t want it to go that far and maybe the Police should consult them before the black bag goes over their head and they’re dragged away to never be seen again…. or not.

    There is something very wrong with the world, a world where “I support Free Speech, unless I don’t like it”. Well, I don’t like people wearing Rangers shirts. Should we arrest football skirt wears for support and/orinciting sectarianism “words”? I don’t like being told that I have to have my milk pasteurised. Where are these greif whores going to stop? Maybe when the Police issue papers detailing your permission to speak in public, in your home, on the telephone, online with your friends. Maybe when they tell a dirty joke and one of their “friends” informs on them to the Police because he said a prohibited word?

    The world has gone mad. If you don’t like free speech, you’ll love the alternative. Just ask someone in North Korea. Oh, you can’t because they are now where the UK will be if people don’t stop looking for offence, grow up and realise that they’re so pathetic that words on a screen hurts them.

  60. john king says:

    tartan eh bottom says
    can’t we get around the law(if it came into being) by simply using sarcasm?”

    Eh, would this be awricht?

  61. Grouse Beater says:

    Any chance peurile comedians will stop referring to the French as chronic war feardies?

    The French underground was one of the most courageous against the Nazis.

    Bet we still hear self-congratulatory stand-ups telling audiences Scots live (just) on fried Mars Bars and no vegetables.

  62. BrianW says:

    So I take we’re not allowed to say Jim Murphy’s a C**T, or that BBC Scotland are a shower of Ba***rds.. in case we offend a few Morningside or Home Counties types?

    Is that about write, or am I barking up the wrong survey?

  63. Chris says:

    Prosecuting someone who says something offensive on social media? I doubt very much if anyone irrespective of age/race/colour etc can honestly turn round and say with a straight face that they have not done so.

    Very different story though if it is deliberately aimed at a vulnerable person. (politicians and bands excluded).

    Threatening messages really depends who is the target,but again is it a real threat or person being targetted genuinly afraid.

    I do think that twitter and facebook and other social media need to take more responsibility though.

  64. Democracy Reborn says:

    Utterly depressing.

    As you’ve said said, Stu, the question couldn’t have been clearer : “non-threatening” but offensive.

    So in other words, those who agree there should be prosecutions (on both sides of the border) are effectively saying ‘you can have freedom of speech, but it has to be the right kind of speech’? I wonder if they would still feel the same way after living, say, for a year in some dictatorship or theocracy in the world where ‘offence’, ‘insult’ and ‘blasphemy’ against a head of state/religion/religious figure/all of the above, are crimes punishable in some instances by death?

    Who decides what is merely ‘offensive’? You? Me? Some judge who has the prejudices of the Daily Mail? What categories of public discourse on social media should be worthy of a criminal sanction if deemed ‘offensive’? Political? Religious? Personal? Why arbitrarily just stop at one of them?

    There are, quite rightly, existing offences in place (Communications Act 2003, s.43) for transmission of material on social media which is objectively threatening or harassing. One of the criteria is “grossly offensive” – simple ‘offence’ is not enough.

    There were native-born Scots, and those of Scottish heritage, who were instrumental in drafting the Declaration of Independence in the USA, the forerunner to the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. One of the most fundamental freedoms they fought for was freedom of speech. They, and our forefathers here, fought for centuries against despots and monarchs for the freedoms we have today, and sacrificed their lives in WW2 fighting a heinous regime which, amongst other things, criminalised, errrrr….. ‘offensive’ speech against the state and its leader. From the ashes of WW2 came the European Convention on Human Rights. The same ECHR that the Tories would dearly love to withdraw from.

    Modern social media has given rise to an ultra-PC society where many have a knee-jerk response of ‘I’m offended!’ to something they disagree with or find unpalatable. We may all be “Charlie” for the moment. Many should really add “well, up to a point”.

  65. David Smith says:

    Nah, you’re right. Murphy IS a **n*.

  66. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Je ne suis pas Charlie at all.
    “Smelly bumface” is hardly earth shattering or anything other than mildly offensive.

    I had this argument with a very up to the minute and PC lady yesterday. My point was that if you routinely very deeply and deliberately offend you should not be surprised or unprepared if some people react violently to this offence. This is not to justify a violent reaction, merely to explain it and why I believe a sensible and progressive society seeks to limit the level of offence which may promote violence.
    She disagreed very strongly with me and insisted on the untramelled right to offend – even grossly offend – as a major constituent of free speech.
    I then in a sudden surge of free speech described her as dirty, hairy-arsed slag with 39 pairs of unwashed crotchless knickers who had been shagged by every officer at the local police station and she hit me with a chair and went off looking for a big knife to finish me off.
    Only kidding.

  67. Neil says:

    Can I ask what you would do in the following situation?:
    A couple of blokes move into a flat with 3 girls.
    After a week or so, the blokes decide to put up a couple of pornographic calendars in the kitchen.
    Pretty soon, they realise that this makes all of the girls uncomfortable to say the least.
    Being decent enough (though stupid) blokes, they decide to removed the calendars, but just before they do, one of the girls threatens the two guys with violence unless they take then down immediately.
    Now, for me it’s simple. I would take the calendars down, NOT because I was afraid of the threat, but because I respect the women’s right to not feel uncomfortable in their own flat.
    I’m not saying this issue is black and white, so happy to hear other views.
    Finally, I would say at the moment, I am NOT Charlie Hebedo.

  68. HandandShrimp says:

    Slander and libel are understandably against the law. One should not falsely besmirch a good name to the detriment of that person’s relationships or career. However, robust badinage and general grumpiness should not be a matter for the law.

    Everyone has the right to be offended and say so. I am just not convinced they should have the right to not be offended by stuffing the mouths of others with writs.

  69. ronnie anderson says:

    In the words of Michael Marra we Wingers are Hermless,ur’nt we ,never nae bother fae us.Unless & of course somebody pisses us off ha ha.

  70. Gary45% says:

    I find anything that comes out of Westmonster and the BBC offensive, or am I being offensive accusing them of being offensive?
    Everybody is a smelly bum face (the good guys excluded we know who we are).
    Gary (I don’t do twitter or face plook is the word plook offensive?)

  71. Effijy says:

    These are dangerous matters to discuss!

    We are able to post insulting comments, some with genuine aggression in the tone, and on other occasion we are able to intemperate the same words as having humorous intentions.
    As Big Brother gets more and more involved, ensuring that you can only comment on issues that agree with “their” views, we may well find ourselves imprisoned due to “their” interpretation of aggression, i.e “you need a kick on the backside”.
    We essentially hand them an opportunity to imprison anyone who
    has an alternative idea to their own.
    If someone on line is insulting, insult them back, don’t use that site, block, delete, whatever, but don’t allow a government to control every channel of communication that we have.

    We could be turned into clones of Dim Smurphy! OMG

  72. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Neil 7.22 Ah would caw the pair o them Dickheids fur buyin Sun calendars in the 1st place.

  73. KennyG says:

    I have very little sympathy for these people at Charlie Hebdo. They’re trying to make out it was all just a little joke. Well it wasn’t just a little joke it was organised ridicule of Islam on a huge scale fuelled by hatred and they can’t say they weren’t warned. They have taken free speech and used it to constantly ridicule Islam and they have paid a heavy price.

  74. Paula Rose says:

    @ronnie Anderson

    …and then I gave hame fur ma tea xx

  75. Paula Rose says:

    Effing fecking auto bleedin’ word wot sit – bastards!

  76. Martin McDonald says:

    We are not a society which believes in free speech at all sadly. The media and popular culture drives this, ingraining in people the belief that their “feelings” are sacrosanct and that it is somehow automatically wrong or criminal to offend someone’s sensibilities.

    The far left can’t stomach free speech any more than the far right and neither can most people in between. In my experience most people are all in favour of free speech until THEIR prejudices are challenged. And even when it is pointed out to them and even when they understand the point being made regarding freedom of speech, they choose to disregard it, placing their values and prejudices above the principal of freedom of speech for other people.

    In politics we see it all the time. Someone says something then apologies are demanded, resignations sought. Because people disagree with something someone else says.

    The media are particularly bad when championing free speech. Normally journalists mean freedom of speech for THEM, not for us ordinary plebs. You only have to look at the tweets from the National Union of Journalists this week, crying about poor journalists being criticised and calls for journalists to be sacked. How often to journalists call for people to be sacked?

    Of those who have jumped on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy to bang on about freedom of speech, how many of them do you think believe in freedom of speech for “radical clerics”? The Wilcox guy from the BBC having to grovel and apologies for daring to refer to Israeli violence amongst the context of the Charlie Hebdo massacre was a bell weather.

    Then go have politicians, journalists and other public figures who use social media with glee to pump their message and who then become mortally offended when their views are challenged by members of the public. They “block” these people so that their list of followers contains only sycophants. It’s crass cowardice.

    The fundamental here is the ability to take it as well as dish it out. Sadly few people seem to be capable of this. And I’m talking about grown adults.

  77. X_Sticks says:

    Me O/T again 🙁

    Live Independence Broadcasting The Charlie Hebdo massacre: a debate in the aftermath of the attacks. ON NOW

  78. Barbara McKenzie says:

    Let me spell out why the ‘Je suis Charlie’ campaign is so deeply, deeply hypocritical.

    1) Charlie Hebdo does not believe in free speech: they sacked Mona Chollet for question Val, the person who resurrected CH in the 90s, for sneering at the ‘uncivilised’ Palestinians; they sacked Siné for ‘anti-semitism’ because of a joke he made about the son of the French PM. What Charlie Hebdo believe in is selective racism.

    2) Free speech is not a special part of French culture as French contributors would have us believe. Siné is on trial for anti-semitism as we speak. Nobody, NOBODY, is prepared to comment on the irony of this.

    3) I don’t know of any country in the world that condones hate campaigns, at least against Jews and other ‘sensitive’ minorities. In Austria, you are not even allowed to question the number of people who died in the Holocaust without risking a prison sentence. I can’t imagine an anti-homosexual hate campaign being acceptable in any European country.

    3) The world leaders who paraded in Paris included representatives from most of the most repressive countries in terms of free speech, including, Turkey (most imprisoned journalists), Mali (second most imprisoned journalists), Israel (second most journalists killed).

    4) The principle of free speech is quickly forgotten when anyone criticisms either CH or the media circus surrounding the Paris events. Most recently, Henri Roussel, one of the founders of the old CH, has been slammed for criticising Charbonnier’s decision to publish anti-Mohammed cartoons.

    5) There is tremendous pressure to self-censor, e.g. 1) by constantly stressing the horrific nature of the event (thus tacitly accepting that it dwarfs almost any other event where human life is lost), 2) by not referring to the fact that George Wolinski is Jewish and that Val was a strong supporter of Zionism and Israel, and these were likely factors behind the decision to conduct hate campaigns against Islam.

    6) If you question any of this, you are told, ‘they died for God’s sake!’ Very true, and very awful, but I hear people ask, ‘Did you hear about Paris? Isn’t it horrible?’, when those same people think there is something odd, extreme, or over-emotional, if others gets upset about the Rwanda genocide, or Tibet, or the Naqba, or the destruction of Iraq and Syria. Frankly, given the ‘objectivity’ with which most people facing the most cruel and immoral events of human history, when they say they are appalled by the Charlie Hebdo killings, I simply don’t believe them.

  79. morgatron says:

    Je Suis in Bar-L

  80. Jimbo says:

    Here’s a photo that shows the shallowness and hypocrisy of our so-called leaders and their tame media.

    See here how Cameron, Merkel, Sarkozy and Co actually didn’t ‘march’ in support of free speech.

  81. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Barbara McKenzie

    I find myself in considerable agreement with you.
    I have many moslem relatives and also relatives in France. Free speech in France does not extend to freedom to criticise Jews or Zionism as they are always pointing out to me.

  82. davidb says:

    Ach, I couldnt have any fun at all on websites if I couldn’t direct my venom at Skeletor, Magrit, The Hutt and even The Saviour Of The World.

    What a drab and colourless world we are sleepwalking into.

  83. Mark Russell says:

    Sticks and stones….

  84. Chris says:

    Haven’t read all the posts so forgive if repeating but we’ve been here before.. In no way am I condoning what happened but France, and then beyond, have been caught up in mass hysteria – we saw similar in UK when Diana died – she went from an unwelcome member of the royals to a saint overnight, objectivity went out the window. If I recollect correctly, Private Eye was the only outlet that maintained some reality and objectivity but anyone pointing this out (like myself at the time) was harassed, bullied and occasionally threatened as they were questioning the ‘norm’. We’re already seeing a move to further restrictions on our ‘freedom of speech’ following this incident. It plays into the hands of the establishment beautifully and makes it easy to manipulate the situation. The ironies are beyond my abilities to communicate adequately. It’s so frustrating.

  85. Macandroid says:

    The great Gordo and saint Tony don’t believe in free speech – paid for every word they spout!

  86. Paula Rose says:

    Such a beautiful world, full of peace and love – nope nae worth it, I would ne’er bring another bairn into this world.

  87. Defo says:

    manandboy says:
    “Question – Since the UK Establishment is fully engaged in dispensing with all ethics, truth and morality, why does the majority of the population act as if that doesn’t matter..

    I’m having one of those days.”

    Bread & Circus’, served up with lashings of fear mate. Same as it ever was.
    Why this stage managed, (they only have to wait, having primed the pump throughout the 20th century)overblown media event?
    Easy. The elites can see their power draining away, down a fibre optic cable.

  88. Alex Clark says:

    Speech is never free. YOU are responsible for your words.

  89. ElaineS says:

    One thing folk in Scotland don’t realise is that on a daily basis we are racially abused by our neighbours in the south….Katie Hopkins was a classic case but its ignored by majority as just offending Scots rather than being racist “You aren’t a race” is what you hear……..I beg to differ, our Nationality/national origin is being racially abused so therefore we have the right to complain in same way if a black, gay or Muslim person is racially abused, why shouldn’t we not! Do we offend English folk by calling them all sorts of offensive names? No we don’t so why should we take it!

  90. hetty says:

    I do wonder with this and also the capital punishment question, whether most people do not actually include themselves or their families when considering these things, It is like the other is not the same as you, they are somehow, different, more deserving of retribution for misdemeanors, minor or not.
    We really need some perspective, sanity and logic to be injected into people these days! Not literally mind!

  91. Ali says:

    I … I … wtf?

  92. bowanarrow says:

    Case by case basis. Most people can see and understand racism and hatred when they see it.

  93. jake says:

    What I find offensive is the very idea that people should be prosecuted for offensive, but non-threatening, comments on social media like twitter and facebook.
    I don’t however look forward to the day when people who hold these views and express them on social media are amongst the first to be rounded up to face prosecution, however much they might have wished it on themselves

  94. Iain says:

    I must admit this one got me. My initial, spontaneous answer to that was yes but after considering the question a bit more I settled with No.

    The reason was because of recent tweets like the one from you know who regaridng the Ebola issue and the guy who was glad that people died in the George Square crash, I suspect at least one of those will have been in peoples heads when this question was asked because the thought of either of them getting away with those comments seems unfair to me. They can, I guess be viewed as being racist which put’s a different angle on it.

    Also, it’s totally open to abuse from the Government which has a more sinister angle and pushed me to answering no.

    I do not feel the answers truly reflect peoples views here. On more consideration I think the results would be different.

  95. Scottish says:

    Wow – a) that’s depressing and b) I’m going to jail.

  96. luath says:

    Actually, I think the problem is in the wording of the survey question:


    Offensive is not just rude, or super rude, or any kind of quipping badinage… for a lot of people, particularly the vulnerable, offensive is threatening, and aggressive… so offensive and non-threatining, for a lot of people, that’s a koan. And that’s also what it got as an answer back.

    I wouldn’t hold back on slating anyone who happily hands it out.

  97. Gary says:

    ‘Offensive’ is a VERY broad term. As someone who has worked at the sharp end I know that I may be difficult to offend but realise that without threatening, or even swearing, it is possible to be extremely abusive and to bully, belittle and harangue. I notice quite a difference between here and the United States. They fiercely protect ‘freedom of speech’ (allegedly) but consider themselves free to troll, bully, abuse and say things we would consider criminal. On the other hand, we seem to value the ‘right’ not to be abused. Its a difficult area, difficult to quantify. Changing perceptions, styles, moral values and the meanings of words mean that ‘offensive’ is truly in the eye, or ear, of the beholder…

  98. Barbara McKenzie says:


    Good point about Diana – thank you. I got this from twitter.

    Charlie Skelton ?@deYook

    it’ll be fascinating to see how all the topical satire shows on British TV respond to the #CharlieHebdo murders. Oh no, hang on…

    Funny how the great British instinct for satire has proved to be, well, just about non-existent … So no loss if it is suppressed if you ask me.

  99. Barbara McKenzie says:

    Further to my post above.

    Thank God for Frankie Boyle!

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top