Melanie Phillips points out that the intellectual trend in Britain is a remorseless slide towards a dark age of intolerance, reverting to a reason-suppressing, heresy-hunting culture in which certain opinions are being turned into thought crimes.
Astoundingly, she observesm people are being arrested by the police — even if the case against them eventually falls — because of what they have said. They are not inciting violence or any criminal activity. They are merely expressing a point of view. Yet for that they may find the police feeling their collars.
It is difficult to say when, exactly, the priorities of the British police shifted from the prevention of criminal offences towards criminalising people for causing offence. The police have become the thin blue line against the Wrong Opinion. Instead of protecting society against oppression, British police officers have become the agents of oppression.
Freedom of religious expression, for example, is a bedrock principle of an open society. Yet if Christians express their religious opposition to homosexuality, they are treated like criminals.