Friday, 24 December 2010

Ann Widdecombe On Dale McAlpine: No Offence

Is it worth even documenting that Ann Widdecombe has used her column in the Daily Express to defend some homophobic Christian crank?
"The best outcome of the police arresting a street preacher called Dale McAlpine for saying that homosexual acts are sinful (no more than the teaching of most major religions) is not the compensation of £7,000 which they have now been obliged to pay him but the issuing of guidance to police telling them that the right to free speech means the right to express unpopular views..."
Much of what Widdecombe argues today are such bland truisms that Fagburn finds himself agreeing with her.
"In a free society a person should even be able to call for the outlawing of homosexual acts, zero immigration or women not allowed to work and meet with raised eyebrows rather than handcuffs and the cells. What we once would have regarded as cranky we now regard as criminal. If anything shocks us there is an immediate call for a law against it..."
Yes, there have been a couple of Christian nutters being visited by the police after doing something "allegedly" homophobic - but Widdecombe must be aware that if a complaint is made against someone then the police have a duty to talk to both parties.
Dale McAlpine was charged under the Public Order Act with using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress."
He was shouting/preaching/being annoying in a west Cumbrian shopping centre, and told a passing shopper homosexuality is a sin.
A Community Support Officer went and had a quiet word, and they got into a lively discussion.
You can watch Dale McAlpine being spoken to and arrested thanks to the Christian Institute.
The Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case.
That's what the CPS is there to do; if someone from the police service has acted overzealously or been a bit daft.
It's only worth wibbling on about in print if you have a hidden agenda of trying to portray Christian bigots as a persecuted minority, as Ann Widdecombe does.
The mendacious ballroom dancing batty old witch - no offence.

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