I have to admit that until the last few days, I’d never heard of Tommy Robinson. I was amazed at the reactions from around the world when he was jailed for supposedly reporting on an ongoing criminal trial in Britain. How could this possibly be a crime?
UK law is not US law and that’s where I think a lot of people have become confused. The UK has no 1st Amendment guarantee of a free press, or free speech.
Many of the tweets I read, along with accompanying threads, made it clear that we here in the US had no understanding of British Law. This actually includes many in Britain itself as witnessed by the marches over the weekend there to #FreeTommy.
I wanted to stay as far away from this controversy as possible because, as an American, I don’t have a clue as to actually what occurred to get this man sentenced to 13 months imprisonment.
Today though, I saw a tweet from Stephen Knight (aka Godless Spellchecker) that helped to clear all of this up in my mind.
Stephen attached a post from The Secret Barrister that seems to lay out exactly what happened here and goes into the actual law(s) violated. It’s worth a read and will maybe put out some of the flames we’ve all been seeing on Twitter and other social media as well as television news (here in the US).
We can’t expect another country, yes even in the democratic west, to have the same rights as we in the US have. Even if we believe that some of the laws in that country violate some rights of its citizens, it’s up to those citizens to demand change, not us.
We all jump to conclusions at one time or another without having the facts. This appears to be one of those cases.