Should My Tram Experience woman be arrested?

When the Nazi-woman-on-a-tram video came out, I was one of the twitter-chattering classes who bemoaned what she was saying.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the foul-mouthed and utterly inarticulate rant by a woman with her toddler on her lap bemoaning that “my Britain is fuck all” because of immigration, asking other passengers where they come from, telling them to go back (one person is told to go back to “Nicaraguaberra”)

It’s horrible, but it represents the views of many, many people who don’t yell it in public and who aren’t daft enough to do it in front of a camera.

But then I read that “Emma West (34) of New Addington was charged with Racially Aggravated Section 4a on Monday. She was remanded in custody overnight.”

It makes me uncomfortable that she was arrested and spent the night in a police cell. Before you call me a racist, let’s be clear: I disagree with everything she said, and the manner in which she said it. And, had she and a few of her friends surrounded a black person and started shouting at him, they would be obviously threatening and should be arrested.

But Ms West wasn’t threatening anyone. She remained seated, with her child on her lap. While her words are abhorrent, they’re only words. No-one was physically threatened. She wasn’t inciting anyone else to violence. So what’s her crime? Being a horrible idiot isn’t a crime. She’s offensive, but being offensive isn’t a crime. And no-one has the right to be protected by law from being offended.

It seems to me that those of us who believe in free speech must support the right for people to spout offensive nonsense.

Right. Who’s first to call me a racist?

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