Question Time: 15/1/15

The first question was based around the right of freedom of speech and how far that freedom should extend. Whilst true freedom of speech does not exist, there is a lot that can be said, which can cause offence to others. I have not seen a copy of Charlie Hebdo, so do not know how similar it is to satirical magazines in our country (like Private Eye); it did seem provocative of the magazine to publish an image of Mohammed following recent events and the claim that the magazine had been attacked for previous pictures. However, being offended does not provide any kind of excuse for responding in a violent way, a point made by the panel.

This then developed, looking at the suggestions for new laws concerning the monitoring of Internet use. If this law was used as Anna Soubry was suggesting (those who would be monitored would be people under suspicion and warrants would need to be obtained), it would seem to be a logical extension of the existing law; a blanket introduction, as others were suggesting, would be an encroachment on privacy and also be incredibly difficult (if not impossible to implement) due to the amount published each day. In fact, an incredible amount is published each minute according to Visual News.

The General Election campaign is clearly under way, with Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives looking to score points off of one another on the economy and whether taxes should increase or if services should be streamlined. I would imagine that we will hear the same arguments frequently over the next few months. David Starkey took a different approach, suggesting that the country is now at a time where a choice needs to be made about the services we receive and the taxes we pay.


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