Free Palestine marches have crossed the line on free speech and democracy has failed itself, says Richard Tice

Richard Tice presents on GB News

Free speech is a vital cog of the democratic coin

GB News
Richard Tice

By Richard Tice

Published: 01/11/2023

- 14:09

Updated: 01/11/2023

- 14:54

GB News presenter Richard Tice gives thoughts on free speech in Britain

Imagine a 50 pence coin, with its 7 sides. At first glance, fairly simple, but actually a real work of art, with the sides appearing to be straight but in fact on a curve.

This makes it an equilateral curve heptagon, with each side cleverly fitting together.

Democracy is like this coin, with its different elements seeming at first glance straight forward, taken for granted, but in truth a carefully crafted, precious and even fragile construct.

The make up of fair elections, judiciary, executive, legislature, rule of law are all critical elements of democracy, as is free speech.

Without free speech, with all its own aspects, then can democracy really exist? Bluntly this manifested itself in recent days with the decision by the Welsh Parliament to ban GB News from the Welsh Assembly buildings.

So an Ofcom-regulated, fast growing media news and opinion channel is not allowed to enter the house of debate and elected representatives in Wales.

That exemplifies the largest single challenge to free speech within our form of democracy that I can recall.

Surely the whole essence of free speech is to be able to question, challenge, debate, and disagree. To have arguments about topics and issues. Sometimes polite, sometimes rude, and sometimes seriously offensive.

Part of this is the right to peaceful protest, sometimes loudly. Is there a line beyond which free speech cannot go, should not go? Where is that line?

Most rational people will agree that line is when free speech descends into inciting hate and violence. The application of common sense is vital as always. There is an obvious difference here between hurty words that offend the sensitive, compared to real hate and likely violence.

Cancel culture has emerged, led by the “progressives” on the left, on the back of hurty words and feelings being offended. They are not progressive at all, they have hijacked language and words for their own cause, leading to enhanced culture debates and battles.

Richard Tice appears on GB News

Surely the whole essence of free speech is to be able to question, challenge, debate, and disagree.

GB News

Because living in a democracy includes many rights, such as the ability to coexist in peace, the right to work amongst many others, constant loud protest such as amplified speakers can interfere with those rights. Does free speech trump all these other rights?

It was fairly obvious to me that the Free Palestine marches in London and elsewhere in the aftermath of the brutal terror attacks by the terrorist group Hamas were likely to incite real hate and probable violence.

Religious and community tensions are extra high following such outrageous acts, but are always very taut between the Jewish community and some Arabs, and this exists globally. Basic common sense.

Sure enough, some appalling slogans and chants have been seen and heard, that have increased tensions and made many feel genuinely scared. At that point democracy has failed itself.

This highlights a key, important element. Leadership quality will determine how well a democracy functions.

Mark Drakeford, as First Minister of Wales should have immediately stopped the nonsense of cancelling GB News from the Welsh Assembly; his failure to do so infers that he does not want debate and challenge except from his own tribe.

Rishi Sunak or the Home Secretary should have demonstrated the leadership to stop the London marches on the basis that they would incite real hate and violence. Sure enough, such hate and violence spewed out onto our streets in hideous odour. Both examples of failed leadership have diminished our democracy.

Free speech is a vital cog of the democratic coin. When you roll a 50 pence coin, it bumps along. So democracy is a bit bumpy. It requires steering, with some tender loving care.

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