Count Dankula and the death of free speech

Brendan O’Neill:

On freedom of speech, Britain has become the laughing stock of the Western world. People actually laugh at us. I recently gave a talk in Brazil on political correctness and I told the audience about the arrest and conviction of a Scottish man for publishing a video of his girlfriend’s pug doing a Nazi salute for a joke and they laughed. Loudly. Some of them refused to believed it was true. I found the news report on my iPhone and showed them. They laughed again. Brazilians, inhabitants of a nation not that long out of military dictatorship, are shocked at how illiberal Britain has become.

As we should be, too. Censorship in this country is out of control. Yesterday, that ‘Nazi pug’ man, Martin Meechan, often referred to by his YouTuber name Count Dankula, received his sentence for making a joke in a video: an £800 fine. A criminal record and a fine for taking the piss out of a pug. Or as the law defines it, in the 2003 Communications Act Mr Meechan was charged under, for being ‘grossly offensive’. The British state now punishes citizens for offensive humour, for tasteless jokes. Let’s hope no cop ever overhears the off-colour joke you might make in the pub or you could be had up for jokecrimes, too. We should be as alarmed about this as my Brazilian audience was.