It seems to me that the idea of overcriminalisation is a 'steam engine' moment in English jurisprudence. It seems to me to be fundamentally wrong that laws that are passed through Paliament - with specific objectives in mind - can be used for purposes they were, and this is controversial, never intended.
Why, for instance, can a law directed at terrorism be used to check on our methods of rubbish disposal?
In addition, opposition MPs fear the 2000 Terrorism Act could be used by councils to probe ordinary householders’ bins.
Tory MP Philip Davies said: “It is one thing for the security services to go through your rubbish but quite another for the council.“They should concentrate their efforts in collecting it not looking at it. It is yet another example of a growing police state.”
That is not the most persuasive quote I have ever seen, but it is indicative of what you get when you allow loose legislation, well loose. It is used for unintended purposes by bureaucratic non entities. For that is what they do. Twist legislation beyond it's original purpose and apply it in, frankly evil, ways. There is, apparently, no consensus that religion has no right to protection. Apparently it ought to, and it does. I refer you to this thread, where I may have lost the plot, but remained polite:
We are completely stupid in allowing government to enact laws that are twisted far and away beyond their original intent. I do not believe it was the intention of Parliament that Harry Taylor should be criminalised. It is, however, the rule of unintended consequences. Crap legislation makes for crap decisions.
It was never right to allow you or me to prosecute under the criminal law for 'offence'. Your offence is my decency, and vice versa. Trying to arbitrate between us is taking the state, and the stakes too far.
Fuck your 'offence'. Fuck my 'offence'. Your right to offend and mine ought to be equal under the law.
There certainly ought to be no religious exceptionalism.
I'd go as far as to say that Parliament has got this entirely wrong.
And the law that protects the god fearing is out and out wrong.
Salman Rushdie had a right to say what he did. And no petty fool had the right to do anything other than argue against him. Balancing the law in the favour of religious bigots is completely stupid.
That is the measure of what is right and what is wrong about this case.