I might need to think twice about my opposition to penalising blasphemy.
Note: more seriously, I don’t think that trying to associate the central event of Christianity with the currently ruling political party would have been caught by the old blasphemy law: but its gross offensiveness and arrogance - and the fact that it is still up - speaks volumes.
However, we may not need a law on blasphemy.
In the terms of clause 59(1) and (2)(c) of the current government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, that tweet is an “act” that causes (at least) “serious annoyance”: and recklessness as to that consequence might not be hard to prove. And no obvious reasonable excuse.

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More from @GeorgePeretzQC

30 Mar
In an earlier thread, I looked at how one might strengthen accountability.
But let’s look at the current government’s attitude to accountability, to see where the dangers lie.
Read 17 tweets
30 Mar
David has identified the problem. The point, however, is to deal with it.
What could we do to improve things? Some parts of our system work well. @CommonsPAC - backed by the National Audit Office - is feared by Ministers and Whitehall. “What would the PAC say about that?” is still a useful and salutary question.
Strengthening Select Committees; giving them more resources and staff; making chairing one a real goal of an ambitious MP wanting to change things and make their mark (better than being a minister) - all important. And to some extent happening.
Read 10 tweets
26 Mar
Fascinating judgment on compatibility of COVID regulations requiring closure of places of worship with Article 9 ECHR and Scots constitutional law. scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-s…
Points which struck me: the judge (IMO rightly) dismissed the “but you can worship anywhere” argument, noting the emphasis that most Christian churches place on collective worship and (esp in the Catholic tradition) sacramental aspects of worship that can’t be replicated on line.
The other point was the finding that Scots constitutional law imposes a limitation on the powers *of the U.K. Parliament* (and therefore the Scottish Parliament) to interfere with worship - dating back to the 1592 doctrine of the “twa kingdoms”.
Read 5 tweets
25 Mar
I’m no fan of the EU’s measures. But “suspend and override the law” is simply incorrect.
(See below, for more explanation. Note also that the EU position - wise or not - is probably defensible under Article XX GATT.)
Fortunately, for once, the current government seems to be taking a more measured and diplomatic approach than that recommended by Lord Moylan.
Read 4 tweets
25 Mar
IMO it’s unwise - it sets an unhappy precedent - for a state to ban vaccine exports where contracts have been entered into. But I think there are dangers (as in other contexts critics of “judicial activism” are eager to point out) in extending the “rule of law” concept too far.
@SBarrettBar seems to regard any state interference with pre-existing contracts as a breach of the rule of law. But if that’s right, then eg legislating to increase tenants’ or employees’ rights, or banning exports of arms or cultural heritage is a breach of the rule of law.
Conceptually it’s better, I think, to regard such interference as an interference with property rights - in ECHR terms, an interference that engages Article 1 of Protocol 1.
Read 8 tweets
24 Mar
The current PM’s identification of capitalism with greed - shades of Gordon Gecko - is quite interesting.
Most political defenders of a market economy or capitalism - from Smith/Hayek to Thatcher - shy well away from that identification: indeed, they reject it.
That’s not just because greed is an unattractive characteristic. More profoundly, it’s because a market economy depends on respect for rules, trust, and responsibility: all of which are undermined by greed.
Read 6 tweets

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