Rapid responses

Freedom to offend

[Re: The public order act needs reform: It is an insult to free speech, Thursday]
David Davis is right. If we’re going to fully adhere to this joke of a law, there’ll be more prisons in Britain than there are houses. People need to accept that they will sometimes be insulted. I, for one, feel it’s impossible to be insulted by someone calling me a sinner, or an idiot, or worse. It’s just his or her opinion, and doesn’t reflect anything more than that.

Har Davids

Davis is too balanced. It’s more precious to defend free speech than to protect people from feeling insulted. Without free speech, there’s no such thing as a free society.

Annie Reynolds


Free the Beeb

[Re: As more criticism emerges, has the BBC done enough to deal with the Jimmy Savile crisis?, Thursday]
The BBC is in an unique and privileged position. It lives in its own bubble, and is not subject to the same rules that govern all other media organisations are. The Savile crisis, in many ways reflects this. It’s utterly wrong that we are compelled to pay a licensed fee for a service that we have no choice over – and if we fail to do so, we can be criminally convicted. The organisation also inhibits the competitiveness of the media sector in this way. The licence fee needs to be scrapped. The quicker we make the Beeb a commercial entity, the better.

Joshua Farmer



Under a law that Silvio Berlusconi advanced, convicts over 70 can’t serve a prison sentence in Italy. Very convenient.

In Italy, cases must pass two levels of appeal before verdicts are final. As Berlusconi is expected to appeal, it’s not over yet.

Just as UK estimates tend to be revised up, if we reported GDP like the US, last week’s UK figure would have been 4 per cent!

What, during the financial crisis, do MEPs regard as the top issue in European banking? Gender balance.