The offending image

The Malicious Communications Act 1988 is designed to “make provision for the punishment of persons who send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety”.

Under this legislation, a 19-year-old man from Canterbury, England was arrested by Kent Police for uploading an image to Facebook of him burning a paper poppy on remembrance Sunday with the caption “How about that you squadey cunts?”. 

This demonstrates that this individual is a prize plonker who can’t spell (he should have written ‘squaddy or ‘squaddie”) but that’s not the issue here.

Who exactly has been distressed or made anxious by his action?

The Sun newspaper brand the individual, Lindon House, as a sick-minded lout but ,in typical hypocritical fashion, it has no problem posting the “vile” image on its website.

Human rights lawyer John Cooper QC , who has offered to represent House free of charge says “Freedom of speech is not just the freedom to say nice things, it is the freedom to say obnoxious and distasteful things as well”. 

In other words,  the right to dissent is a fundamental tenet of a democratic society. You may find certain images and words offensive and/or disgusting but preventing people  from doing or saying things that cause offence runs counter to any notion of ‘free speech’.