Iain Dale does not know what a liberal is !

Iain Dale takes the view that the Lib Dems support for legislation that will make hate crimes against gay people a specific criminal offence is not very liberal. I guess it depends on what view you take of the word liberal.

Many Tories, Iain included, seem to think that "liberal" means you will accept anything as fair game, so long as the government keep out of things. So the word "liberal" means you will allow just about anything. Others, take a different view.

I personally take the view that "liberal" means open minded, but also means that you are prepared to take a specific stand against things that are wrong. Specific acts of hate against Gay people for no other reason than their sexuality should be punished. It is not a very liberal state that fails to accept that some laws are needed to protect people.

Iain personally might not need protecting, but others will and others do. presumably for the same reasons Iain gave we don not need legislation that prcludes religious or racial crimes ? Presumably these are not liberal either ? I wonder if the Tories will put out on leaflets that they would repeal the "illiberal" race hate laws ? What do you think ?

So personally, given the Tories long record of being far from liberal over very many years, I'll not take lessons on liberalism from the Tories, thank you very much.


Iain Dale said...

Whenever anyone says "I'll not take lessons from" it invariably means they have lost the argument. Gordon Brown does it most weeks in PMQs.

The point I was making is where do you draw the line? Haven't we already got laws which punish people for hate crimes? Using this precedent we will end up with similar laws for the disabled, giner haired people, people with spots and for Norfolk school teachers!

Norfolk Blogger said...

Bu taking your point of view Iain means we would never have introduced any legislation. The "where do we draw the line" argument is the argumnt of people who would have not introduced legislation to protect people of different races.

Tristan said...

I think Iain is closer to correct:

Liberalism is founded not upon open mindedness (although liberals tend to be) but upon equality under the law and individual liberty.

Legislation like this not only treats people as a collective, not as individuals, it also violates equality under the law and individual freedom.

Race hate laws are illiberal, they place a ban on some speech, they treat some crimes differently depending upon the perpetrator and victim.

If someone harms someone else, that should be enough to prosecute.

The final point is that such legislation only comes about when society has itself decided that such behaviour is unacceptable - it is therefore an unecessary extension of state power.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I think we know our views on liberalism differ.

Gavin Whenman said...

My response to this got a bit long, so I've posted my thoughts here.