'Mr Page was arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after a pro-hunting speech he made in Frampton-on-Severn.
He said supporters of the traditional country way of life "should be given the same rights as blacks, Muslims and gays".'
I can hear a huge chorus of groans up and down Britain as people read and digest this story on the BBC website.
But will the groaning be because an Englishman is being suppressed from expressing what seems a perfectly sensible and normal opinion about country life? Or because it shows up the Police to be unutterable morons?
I am mostly in the latter camp. We don't have a complete transcript of what Mr Page said, but if the basis of the Police action was saying country folk should get the same rights as blacks, muslims and gays, we are surely in very perilous straits. Equal rights before the law is a foundation stone of our society. Re-iterating your support for it is both worthy and positive. To be arrested and have the CPS consider taking action against you for indicating your support for equal rights before the law is astonishing and disastrous.
Should we infer from this that you merely have to mention blacks, muslims and gays in a speech to be considered for incitement to racial hatred?
I would say this reflects very badly on the intelligence and education of our law-enforcers. We need policemen and women who are capable of discriminating between perfectly acceptable discourse about problematic social conditions, and hate speech. I detest the latter notion anyway, but there is such a concept currently in British law, and the law must be upheld. But these pathetic attempts to sniff out the presumed latent hatred in middle England are a disgrace, and intellectually shameful.
What happened to our wise and worldly constabulary? Is public education in Britain so bad that ordinary PC's can't even make simple judgements? I hope its not true.