Freedom of speech

Leaks from the Leveson Inquiry have already indicated that it will not only make recommendations for regulating what a free press may legally do in pursuit of a story, but, improperly, what our new “free press” will be allowed to print.

The Feminist Avengers will take “direct action” against any comedian who makes a joke about rape (your report, 22
August). Muslim clerics set up kangaroo courts which sentence a cartoonist to death for drawing a cartoon of Allah, and a novelist to death for not showing sufficient respect.

Same-sex couples demand the legal, dictionary and religious redefinition of the word “marriage” to include their form of partnership.

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These groups will not enjoy being lumped together, but it’s not difficult to join the dots and find a common thread, is it? We’ve come a long way from the heady 1960s when the UK proudly proclaimed itself a champion of free speech.

It is shameful that MSPs and politicians of all parties are so afraid of the influence of pressure groups that they fail to speak up for that most precious principle of free speech: the right to offend.

Pressure groups seeking to corral the words of comedians, writers and journalists do so quite deliberately in the knowledge that if they can control what an individual may say, then ultimately they can control what society thinks.

Although a few years late, 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 have arrived at last.

But I am not a number: I am a free man who is fed up with being told by the numpties what I can say, write or think.

David Fiddimore

Calton Road

Edinburgh