I can think of nothing more ridiculous than the present trial of John Terry. It reminds me of the trial of a student demonstrator - at huge expense to taxpayers. The student was on trial for calling out an insulting remark to a mounted policeman. The student hurled at him the accusation that he had sex with his horse, or some similar juvenile jeer, and the mounted policeman sued the student for hurt feelings. He wasn’t a two year old baby, for God’s sake, whose whole development was endangered by some nasty insult but a mounted policeman. People are losing their jobs, their homes because of the financial crisis, and this is what the country has money for?
As for John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. If John Terry had tripped Anton Ferdinand and Ferdinand had tripped and broken his foot, and Ferdinand would have been unable to play for six months or more, Terry would have got no worse punishment than a red card, and it oqwuld have been the end of the whole business. But left unhurt, this strong and tough grown man, an athlete, is not ashamed to testify in open Court that he is plunging the administration of justices into a needless expense of tens of thousands of pounds, not to mention the wastet on his own lawyers which must amount to about a hundred thousand. Football is becoming ever more brutal, players get away with more and more infractions of the rules. It would be better for the game, the skill of the players – and for the manners of football-mad hoodies - if the rules of the game were rigorously enforced instead of worrying about the players’ hurt feelings.
I date legal support to enshrine infantile sensitivity in grownup people to the time when Muslim organizations have been pressing for a new law making derisory remarks about anyone’s religion a criminal offence. Much of the argument for a new criminal offense was that religious people’s feelings would be hurt. The House of Lords Committee invited submissions on the issue. In my submission I quoted the rhyme that every child used to learn in school:
Sticks and stones
will break your bones
but words will never hurt you.
This was the drift of the majority of submissions and The House of Lords Committee advised against criminalizing the criticism and insults to believers. No legislation was ever passed, but greedy lawyers managed to create a new offense, bleeding the state, as well as their clients. Now people are convinced that it is their human right not to have their feelings hurt. No wonder we are in all sorts of trouble.