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Open letter to Leo Docherty MP

Dear Leo Docherty,

I am deeply disturbed and angered at the recent arrest of a 51-year-old military veteran in Aldershot. You may have seen videos circulating online where the man is arrested for retweeting a post by Lawrence Fox which depicts the "Pride" flag as a Nazi Swastika.

The intent by The Reclaim Party was self-evident. It wasn't to express hatred for gay or transgender people, but to express the authoritarian way groups like Stonewall (that I have previously stood with on protest marches) have infiltrated government, education, and business. They seek to impose their own ideology with the fervour of a religious zealot seeking witches to burn at the stake.

These groups don’t represent ordinary LGBT people, because I don’t know anyone who lives outside of London that identifies with this woke nonsense. We have gay and lesbian friends, who we’ve known for many years. I’ve also worked with trans people. None of them have any time for this type of political activism, and I think it’s high time the Charity Commission took a close look at these activist groups.

Your colleague Kemi Badenoch has spoken up for, and been the voice for, a large majority who feel their civil liberties are being sacrificed at the altar of this new zealotry.

Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire felt the actions of Hampshire police was heavy handed and disproportionate. It may have escaped the notice of Hampshire police but, article 10 of the Human Rights Act says.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers."

Section 127 of the malicious communications act is not compatible with the right to free speech. The fact that someone finds anything "grossly offensive" isn't cause for criminal prosecution. Otherwise, we might all one day be branded criminals. I find many communications from politicians grossly offensive, but I don’t call 999 every time my feelings are hurt.

Oddly, Lawrence Fox has had no contact with police, despite efforts of the Green Party Members of the London Assembly. Perhaps the metropolitan police realised any action would be an egregious overreach of the state.

As a libertarian I continue to be appalled by the continued attacks on free speech by Conservatives. So, allow me to clarify that the right to free speech, is not granted by the state. It is granted by natural law and is inalienable. The only way the state can limit free speech is if people choose to surrender their rights.

It should go without saying threats of violence, fraud, defamation, libel etc aren’t protected free speech, because they violate the rights of others.

The United States constitution recognises this, and so perhaps it is time we also introduced some constitutional reforms. We need to stop granting more powers to police and start rolling back the state, by limiting the state's capacity to involve itself with people's lives.

I suggest once you finally sort out who is going to lead this country, that you and your colleagues set about ensuring you fulfil the true purpose of government, which is to protect our liberty.

As a resident of Hampshire, I had two occasions to call the police.

Their response when my car was broken into and vandalised was lacklustre at best, and I had to insist that an officer attend. The officer had little interest in recovering my property or solving a crime. On the second occasion I called, drunk teenage girls were vandalising my neighbour’s property and urinating in front of his garage.

They did not attend at all and called me the next day to inform me they were too busy.

Yet because someone is offended by a tweet, they send 7 officers to gang up on, and bully a 51-year-old Army veteran, who has served his country. This is utterly shameful.

The High Court has ruled on this matter already, in the case of Harry Miller. The Home Secretary now needs to lay down the law and put a stop to all these “non-crime hate incidents”, and attacks by police on civil liberties.

Personally, I don’t care for Lawrence Fox’s brand of politics. It’s just as cheap and degrading as the establishment he claims to oppose. However, going after people for political reasons, is something they do in Iran or China, not the United Kingdom. They must watch our news and rub their hands with glee at our hypocrisy.

I look forward to hearing the new Prime Minister tell us how they will address the never-ending growth and over-reach of the state, so we can live lives unhindered by events such as these.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Ede - Libertarian Party Wessex Coordinator