Free speech and football fans

After I posted last week on police using sweeping new powers in the Violent Crime Reduction Act to target entire groups of football supporters with banning orders, regardless of whether or not an offence has been committed, Tim Black got in touch with me to draw my attention to an article he’d written for Spiked. The article examines the threat to free speech posed by the police’s recent crackdown on offensive football chants. Tim writes: “There is little doubting that many football chants are offensive and in poor taste. But that’s no reason to make them illegal. They deliberately run against the grain of politeness. If anything, the stifling, tip-toeing uncertainty of contemporary social intercourse – the ‘oops, is that offensive?’ doubt that is so prevalent in the everyday world beyond the football stadium – actually inflames offensive chanting today, giving such unbounded vitriol a greater significance and sense of daring.” Read the article in full here.

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