back to article Man, 19, cuffed after burning Remembrance poppy pic is Facebooked

A 19-year-old man from Aylesham, near Canterbury in Kent, was arrested last night after a picture of a burning poppy was reportedly posted on Facebook. The county's cops collared the teenager on suspicion of a committing an offence under the Malicious Communications Act. "Officers were contacted at around 4pm yesterday, …

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  1. JDX Gold badge

    When we had a similar case of someone posting very offensive jokes onto a dedicated victim support page I was in favour of it being viewed a crime. But if someone simply makes an anti-poppy protest on their own site, that's too far IMO.

    Can anyone shed more light because the context of where such things are posted is important whether it is malicious or just poor taste.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Ah, if only life were that easy ...

      The problem is "friends" who can create a chain whereby the originator has no idea AND CAN HAVE NO IDEA who will actually see what they post - even if they are technically savvy, let alone the average FB user.

      Clearly the Malicious Communications act (or whatever) has some sort of wording that ignores intent which means it's very possible you could be arrested[1] even though it's patently obvious you did intend offence.

      [1]Bearing in mind, in the UK, arrest is a punishment in itself, involving the forcible taking of DNA and fingerprints, and possible problems when applying for US visas.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Poppycock!

      "grossly offensive"

      I find it grossly offensive that someone can be arrested for posting a picture of a burning poppy together with some insensitive commentary

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Poppycock!

        Probably another one of those foreigners stuck in the middle ages who follow that guy who invented a religeon while shagging a 9 year old girl. Rather like Rob Hubbard inventing Scientology but a bit less believable....Muslims - that's the one.

        Let's hope it was it was this guy who was arrested: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/402005/20121106/anjem-choudary-twitter-poppy.htm

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Poppycock!

          <blockquote>Probably another one of those foreigners stuck in the middle ages who follow that guy who invented a religeon while shagging a 9 year old girl. Rather like Rob Hubbard inventing Scientology but a bit less believable....Muslims - that's the one</blockquote>

          Plenty of Brits feel the same way. Their country of origin and religion is really immaterial to their action. Perhaps they have had relatives killed by British forces. That could apply to someone from Ireland as much as it could from Pakistan. And in either case you might do the same in such circumstances.

          As to the tiresome paedophile jab - historical record suggests he married her. Some records indicate she was 9, others that she was older. Even if she were nine, at that time and place, marriage could just be a way of protecting a girl without family, it wouldn't necessarily mean consummation. He had multiple wives - that's pretty reprehensible and even if the last wife was sixteen at the time of marriage, that's also still not great. But the paedophile jab isn't very supportable with what we have at the moment.

    3. bdam
      FAIL

      I also find poppy related crimes offensive

      Where do I complain?

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5380085/MPs-expenses-Ed-Ballss-claim-for-Remembrance-Sunday-wreaths.html

    4. calumg

      How about the offensive posts being quickly taken down, and the user being kicked from Facebook for breaking the T&Cs. That to me would be a proportionate response.

      If someone wants to be an idiot online, let them. It's not the real world. These laws were written before social media existed, and were designed for situations like phoning the victim's family.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Of course the internet is the real world. To many it is the most real part OF the world.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How about people stop being so easily offended and let the Police deal with more serious issues such as knife crime, violent crime, etc. They're stretched enough already, without having to respond to crap like this.

      3. NogginTheNog
        Thumb Down

        Idiot online?

        That depends on whether you define having a legitimate beef, and commenting such, with a charitable cause. Insensitive maybe, but surely it's free speech to make a comment on something you disagree with? Definitely not a crime.

    5. LarsG
      Meh

      Is his name Private Pike....

      Stupid boy!

  2. Gav
    Holmes

    Stupid

    19 year old "man" is stupid boy. Being stupid boy is not an arrestable offence. Kent Police also stupid.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Stupid

      Didn't get nicked for the pic but the comments - apparently.

      anyway - isn't burning poppies known as 'chasing the dragon'?

    2. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Stupid

      "19 year old "man" is stupid boy. Being stupid boy is not an arrestable offence. Kent Police also stupid."

      Agreed. However it is quite amusing how teenagers over 16 get called "men" when they commit a crime , but "boys" or "teenagers" when talked about in any other fashion by the media. Can't have it both ways people.

    3. a cynic writes...

      Re: Stupid

      Anything over 18 they're 'men', anything under they're boys. If you're old enough to vote, you're old enough to be treated as an adult. I realise that most people, whatever the gender, haven't grown up by that point but if we made maturity the criteria we'd have boys of 80.

      I would have agreed if the statement had been "...19 year old "man" is a prat. Being a prat is not an arrestable offence..."

      1. cs94njw

        Re: Stupid

        Bah - in this country you're old enough to pay taxes (16), but not old enough to vote (18). Gits.

    4. P Saunders

      The irony being

      that it was this type of tinpot tyranny that our great-grandfathers and grandfathers fought against in the two world wars. or were they fighting so that the profiteers and warhawks could get rich? I keep forgetting which.

    5. Jim 59

      Water

      Guy deserves a bucket of water over the head but not arrest.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Over the top

    Whilst his arrest may be over the top, the suffering of countless men who went over the top is on a different scale.

    I don;t want to see this guy imprisoned, but hope he can at least learn about the suffering so many went through for his freedom.

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Over the top

      Suffering of the biggest bunch of darwin award hopefuls the world has ever seen

      British soldiers shot for the common sense tactic of getting into cover when someones plastering the area with 7.92mm Mauser.

      The bright idea used at first to keep firing when the Vickers you're hunched over is water cooled, made of metal, and actually smoking - cue a big bang and lots of dead tommies. Not to mention the early use of artillery bombardment to make sure the enemy had time to get up, get dressed and have breakfast before they massacred the poor sods "walking slowly towards the enemy"

      To quote "The guns have stopped because even our generals arent mad enough to shell their own men; they find it much more sporting to let the Germans do it"

      We only won it because the Germans had a lack of food and a surfiet of what was the start of the pandemic flu

      As to whether I would use a poppy as a firelighter, I probably wouldnt - but its odd how this kid gets done over by the piglets yet Sainsburys can advertise Gears of War 3 3 FEET away from a bunch of war vets handing out poppies - talk about monumental insensitivity, but thats ok, its big business. The best bit, the manager of the store (think PFY) couldnt get his head round the point that it was insulting...

      Finally - I'm sorry but if you join the army you take into account that people will likely be shooting at you with extreme prejudice - this is generally considered a bad thing - and if they can shoot straight it hurts. You made your decision, so its your look out. Dont try and guilt me out of my money when you lose the all comers land mine competition afghan 2012, it doesnt make you a hero it just makes you unlucky. If stepping on landmines was all it took to be heroic half the population of Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia (and a few dozen others) would have the VC and the CMO, oddly enough they dont. Heroism in that context would be the whole lot of the army turning round to the US and UK governments and telling them to sod off since we have no place doing what we're doing out there anyway.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Stop

        @Jemma

        Whilst I might agree with you about volunteer soldiers, it's worth remembering that a great majority of soldiers in WW1 and WW2 were conscripts, who had very little choice.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: @Jemma

          "Whilst I might agree with you about volunteer soldiers, it's worth remembering that a great majority of soldiers in WW1 and WW2 were conscripts, who had very little choice"

          Modded you up, but logically, doesn't that make the enemy of those who died their own government?

          Burning a poppy could be regarded as a political statement of all sorts of things. Quite probably, the gesture is meant that the burner sees the poppies as a legitimizing of war and burning it a rejection of that. If that's their position, it's perfectly acceptable as a political statement (though obviously not acceptable to some). Poppies are for rememberance of those that died. Maybe the burner feels that invading far away countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan and killing tens of thousands there is something that shouldn't be put forward as a symbol of heroism. Again, a supportable point of view.

          Maybe they were just trolling and wanted to cause offense? Who knows. But this should not be anything they get arrested for.

          1. Vic

            Re: @Jemma

            > doesn't that make the enemy of those who died their own government?

            'Twas ever thus...

            Vic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Jemma

          There were some significant numbers of volunteers.

          the Kitchener's Army of 2.5 million Britons was volunteer, though volunteering dried up by late 1916

          For the First World War, the Canadians and Australians were predominantly volunteers. (Being the healthier outdoors types they were in better physical shape to start with and made good assault infantry).

          And half of the Canadian soldiers on the Western Front were British-born.

        3. David Evans

          Re: @JimmyPage

          Actually not true (for WWI anyway). Conscription wasn't introduced until 1916, by which point most of the men able to fight had already volunteered (around 40% of conscripts were found to be medically unfit). The number of volunteers in the British forces always outnumbered the conscripts. So, yes you can argue the case for a collective Darwin Award (not that I would).

          Back on topic, I always wear a poppy (even though I now live in Ireland, which makes it much more contentious) because I come from a long line of soldiers, but I am increasingly uncomfortable with "poppy guilt" as seen on most of the British Media, and have no problem with someone exercising their RIGHT to protest against the poppy by burning one. This whole Malicious Communications thing is turning into a farce, just as was predicted when it was enacted.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Jemma

          Don't feed trolls - report them

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Over the top

        The Allies had recovered from the German Spring Offensive of March-July 1918 and put the German Army on the backfoot at the start of August 1918 and were pushing it back through the Hindenburg Line.

        Large amounts of material was being lost in the retreat and most of Franch territory that had been lost was back in the Allies control.

        While the Blockade of Germany had brought about the lack of food at home, it could not evict Germans from France which is what the French wanted.

      3. droolian01
        Facepalm

        Re: Over the top

        When you quote:

        "The guns have stopped because even our generals arent mad enough to shell their own men; they find it much more sporting to let the Germans do it"

        as a historically salient point in your general argument, i find it hard to take you seriously.

        Especially as i know it is a quote from the final episode of 'Blackadder goes forth'. A sensitive handled piss take ofthe bufoons who led this tragedy, NEVER AT THE EXPENSE OF THE ORDINARY TOMMY.

        You are a child, a fool and a disgrace humane(ity)

      4. PhilDin
        Trollface

        Re: Over the top

        An excellent analysis from someone who's clearly watched two or maybe even three episodes of Blackadder goes forth. In reality the officers during WW1 were not the idiots they were portrayed to be, particularly General Haig.

        As regards your remarks on true heroism, you seem to be advocating the scenario where the military can decide what wars they will and won't engage in rather than that decision being made by their democratically elected paymasters; sounds great, I can't see anything wrong with that plan.

        Overall you seem to have absolutely nothing positive to say, just lashing out randomly at rank and file soldiers, their officers, the government and Sainsburys. Maybe you should think about what you DO believe in.

        Finally, I'm not British and I don't wear a poppy but I would never consider describing the dead from WW1 as "Darwin award hopefuls"; that historically wrong and ethically repugnant.

      5. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

        Re: Over the top

        Gears of War 3 ?

        Was there not a law against glorification of war?

    2. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Over the top

      Oh and while we are on the subject - WW1 was nothing to do with 'freedom' whatsoever. WW2 you could argue was (and look what a balls up was made there). WW1 was little more than a europe wide family row between the crowned heads of Europe (who by that time were so inbred its amazing they didnt give birth parthenogenically) started by a bitter little German with delusions of grandeur and an inferiority complex that could have given Emperor Nero sleepless nights. The irony is that if Kaiser Bills mother had had a decent gyno none of it would ever have happened (note to the NHS - its not good practice to pull a baby out of his mother by his arm, you might cause a world war 50 years later)

      Please actually learn about things you post about - its not hard, and stop spouting the Fox News version of history. After a while that gets tiresome for the people who use their brains for something more than basic life support functions.

      1. Bumpy Cat

        Re: Over the top

        It's a bit sad that you say "please actually learn about things" after spouting a lot of nonsense, some of it rather unpleasant.

        The soldiers in WW1 and 2 were conscripted - they fought willingly, but they did not actually have a choice in the end. It's not really the case that both sides sat stupidly starting at each other, throwing lives away, for four years until Germany ran out of food. Try reading something more detailed than Wikipedia on military tactics in WW1.

        The Central Powers, especially Germany, were the aggressors in WW1, and had a pretty genocidal approach on the Eastern front - not a lot changed there between WW1 and WW2. Look what Germany did to the Russian prisoners from Tannenberg, or the Austrians did to Serb prisoners, or what the Turks did to the Armenians. Believe me, the UK was on the right side of WW1 too.

        Quite aside from your historical inaccuracy, your venom on this subject makes you look like rather unkind.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Over the top

          > The Central Powers, especially Germany, were the aggressors in WW1, and had a pretty genocidal approach on the Eastern front

          That was of concern to UK how?

          Did they just defend Belgium, which had transformed Congo into the Roi's own slaughterhouse, because of the Freedom Fries?

          Why is there no shrug icon? Big Brother as as stand-in for Loyd George eyeing politicial cheap points by killing a few of the boys will do, then.

      2. thegrouch

        Re: Over the top

        Little harsh to label teenage conscripts as 'Darwin award contenders' when they had no choice about their assignments to the trenches, nor anything approaching sensible orders when they got there. One week they're turning in the harvest, the next they're sitting in a shithole in France being shot at. Turning around to run away from the enemy guns got you shot by your superior officers for cowardice. They were led by dickheads playing with toy soldiers miles away, thinking they were still battling Frenchie at Waterloo. Whilst you might disagree with the motives for WW1, a little sympathy for the poor bastards who had to endure it wouldn't go amiss.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Re: Over the top

        WW1 ... started by a bitter little German with delusions of grandeur and an inferiority complex

        Err, no, It was started by an assassination in Serbia of the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Serbia refused to cooperate with the Austro-Hungarians in bringing the assassins to justice and the Russians started sabre rattling since they viewed the Serbs as their Slavic and Russian Orthodox brethren. The Austro-Hungarians had a treaty which would pull Germany in if, as looked likely, hostilities broke out. France, itching for a rematch with Germany for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian war, had a similar treaty with Russia. Germany, faced with a dual front war that it knew it only had a slim chance of winning launched the Schlieffen plan, which relied on getting a quick victory over France before facing a war of attrition in the East.

        Britain was sucked in thanks to a treaty that sought to protect Belgium - not out of any altruism, but as a way of creating a buffer between France and Germany that dated back to the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars. However, the hawkish British press had played up on the fears of a strong German navy in the North Sea. If any inferiority complex was involved it was on the part of the British, who feared a strong rival - the Kaiser's failing was that he had too much confidence in the ability of the German army to repeat the success of the Franco-Prussian war.

        In other words, it was a clusterfuck of epic diplomatic and strategic failures triggered by the tinderbox of Balkan nationalism (there'd already been a number of Balkan wars with shifting allegiances in the preceding few years). That was the worst part of the Versailles treaty - the insistence of Germany shouldering the entire blame for a war that was the fault of all the major powers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Over the top@Chris Wareham

          Wow. I remember plodding through this at school now. You are a gent and a scholar for managing to put so concisely and clearly the causes of WW1. If only all history teaching was one like this.

        2. No, I will not fix your computer
          Holmes

          Re: Over the top

          @Chris Wareham

          While that is the classic (school taught) view it is always wise to step back and give the landscape a 360° view, for example are you aware that the planned extension of the train line (known as the Orient Express) would have given Germany access to the new-found oil reserves in Iraq, this at a time when the Navy (of all nations) were switching over from coal (which the UK had) to oil (which the UK didn't have).

          But don't take my word for it, I don't want to come off as a conspiracy theory crank, if you're interested in a different view have a look, look past the books that we were fed as children, the truth is out there ;-)

          OK, so you've read a bit more, and you're in two minds, dismiss me, or actually do a little bit of research? a good starting point (light, funny, easy to watch) is Rob Newmans "history of oil" www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQhhrzHKMhI in years to come will people think that more or less people will think that the non existent WMD's in Iraq were the reason for invasion? what will be in our history books? go back 100 years when the government wrote history, compare that with now when media (especially social media) is much harder to control, now put that in the context of the history books about WW1.

      4. Jim 59

        Re: Over the top

        Jemma these posts are garbled and don't make any sense, or project any coherent view, so I can't really comment further.

    3. Greg J Preece

      Re: Over the top

      I don;t want to see this guy imprisoned, but hope he can at least learn about the suffering so many went through for his freedom.

      Can he "learn" the mandated level of misty-eyed sentiment without being arrested? Because it's kind of ironic banging on about his freedoms right after arresting him for exercising his freedoms.

    4. JP19

      for his freedom

      His freedom to be arrested for burning a poppy?

      To be honest I am surprised it isn't an offence to not wear a poppy for the 2-3 weeks every year. Every single face you see on TV for 3 weeks has a poppy pinned to it, an alien observer would think it the law.

      It makes me puke, wearing a poppy is now meaningless.

    5. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

      Re: Over the top

      The poppy used to be a symbol of the lives of soldiers lost in the first two world wars. It has been expanded to include heroes. Heroes are not the sort of people I want to encourage, the war crimes they allow themselves to be used for are disgusting. Wearing a poppy means you support the heinous crimes committed by heroes, they deserve no help from us.

  4. The BigYin
    FAIL

    Free speech?

    His alleged act was offensive to many, but he was simply exercising his right to free speech.

    Curtailing that should be even more offensive. (Unless you are a Daily Fail reader of course.)

    In fact, I find Kent police's action grossly offensive and as they were communicated to me electronically - can Kent police please arrest themselves?

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: Free speech?

      What right to free speech? This is the UK. We don't have such a constitutional right. We do have the European Convention's article 10 guaranteeing freedom of expression in our Human Rights Act. However, there are a large number of exceptions to this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Free speech?

        "right to free speech"

        anything not prohibited is permitted generally. and a lack of consitutional declaration does not preclude rights being defined elsewhere in common law and case law.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: Free speech?

          Well I have only one thing to say about all this:

          Free speech does not involve match's, really is that simple and sorry if I killed an entire thread of emotions.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free speech?

      So you believe that anybody who reads the Daily Mail has no right to be heard?

      I guess for you free speech is only for those that agree with you and everybody else can shut the fuck up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Free speech? @AC

        Daily fail reads have a full right to a hearing. Then they can be shown up for the red-neck, witch buring, tar and feathering ignorant lynch mob they are.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Free speech? @AC

          > Daily fail reads have a full right to a hearing. Then they can be shown up for the red-neck, witch buring, tar and feathering ignorant lynch mob they are.

          The intolerance of the liberal left never ceases to amaze me.

          You can be heard only if you agree with me.

          You have a right to an opinion but only if it is the same as mine.

          You are innocent until proven guilty unless you are in the lower, middle or upper middle class (the Daily Mail demographic) in which case you are guilty.

          1. h4rm0ny
            Facepalm

            Re: Free speech? @AC

            "The intolerance of the liberal left never ceases to amaze me. You can be heard only if you agree with me. You have a right to an opinion but only if it is the same as mine."

            The poster you're replying to never said anything like that. They said that "Daily Mail" readers should be allowed the same voice as everyone else and they they could exposed as the [negative people] they are. There was nothing in their post about punishing those people or stopping them from speaking. I agree it's ridiculous to make sweeping statements about Daily Mail readers (I know at least one very nice one), but the poster said nothing like what you say they did.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Free speech? @h4rm0ny

              Go and read the Daily Mail online then look at the comments on a particular story and view what usually comes top voted. Bring back hanging quite often features in top spot.

          2. John Wilson
            Mushroom

            Re: Free speech? @AC

            And the ignorance and paranoia of some on the right never ceases to amaze me.

            You were called a "red-neck, witch burning, tar and feathering ignorant lynch mob", but you weren't told you didn't have a right to be heard. It was descriptive, not proscriptive.,

          3. The BigYin

            Re: Free speech? @AC

            @AC - "You have a right to an opinion but only if it is the same as mine."

            You have the right to an opinion, however you only have a valid argument when you can back it up with facts. The Daily Fail (or Daily Hate, if you prefer) is rather "facts light" and "vitriol heavy".

            Amusing how irate you are getting about this.

      2. The BigYin
        FAIL

        Re: Free speech?

        @AC - Do learn to read. There's a good fellow.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free speech?

      Ok Mr. Free Speech - try getting a flight out to various middle eastern countries and start burning their flags and see what happens to you. Free speech is one thing. Inciting others is a thin line and clearly some people think he went onto the wrong side of that line.

      What;s your view about peeing on a cenotaph - guess that's acceptable?

      1. Chris Thomas Alpha

        Re: Free speech?

        don't conflate two issues together, just because they would lynch you, doesn't mean we should do it.

        just look what happens over there if you try the same thing - bad argument!

        you're effectively arguing that we should equal the behaviour of other people, or do better, no, we should do a LOT better.

        basically some people would find what he did to be offensive, I personally don't, I find it unfair, but a lot of people in the army are there out of choice, not queen and country, what part of "doing your duty" is being done in iraq right now.....are we in imminent danger of being invaded by the Iraqi's ?

        the police should back off slowly, you can't arrest people for burning poppies, no matter how offended some people would be.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Free speech?

        "What;s your view about peeing on a cenotaph - guess that's acceptable?"

        My view on it is that it is different to making a political statement on a website. And if it's a political gesture, then it should be punished only to the degree that urinating in some other public place is punishable, not extra punisment heaped upon it because it causes offense to a segment of society.

        Causing offense can be punishable when it's harrassment. If you send offensive messages to the widow of a soldier, that's punishable. Making broad political statements, even if some don't like it, is not harrassment.

        This whole veneration of the dead, reminds me of who upset people were by Chaser's War on Everything where they made a very well put point (to music), but upset quite a few people. Sometimes it is okay to speak ill of the dead. I fully expect people to do it about me!

      3. The BigYin

        Re: Free speech?

        @AC - Straw man,but nice to know you read the Daily Mail.

        "What;s your view about peeing on a cenotaph - guess that's acceptable?"

        Wrong question. Is peeing in public acceptable?

        Tell me, how is this the fault of the immigrants again?

      4. Mat

        Re: Free speech?

        No - That'd be a public order offence of which there is already a law to cover....

        You are a troll!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free speech?

      Free speech, I'd imagine there would be a fair few people who know or knew people being honoured by the poppy who would love to express there free speech in burning this chap alive, they don't seem to be doing that so WTF should he have any right to desecrate the honour of the dead who died in the hope of leaving a better place and not so some toescrub can burn poppies on the internet.

      If anything I'm disapoint that the Kent police acted so quickly and should of at least been arresting him at 4am or some other unseenly hour.

      If you seriously believe he had a free speech right then you should take a look at America which has this church that goes and protests funerals, we don't have that level of bad manners or common respect in the UK but if we did, I'd probably break laws excercing my free speech rights on there ass's and I'd bet there would be a bigger queue to do it as well than anything Apple have pulled off.

      I hope the law truely educates this chap as I would hate to feel cheated.

      1. teebie

        Re: Free speech?

        "express there free speech in burning this chap alive"

        OK, concentrate, because I'm going to try and explain a concept that you seems to have overlooked:

        setting people on fire isn't "speech"

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Free speech?

        "Free speech, I'd imagine there would be a fair few people who know or knew people being honoured by the poppy who would love to express there free speech in burning this chap alive"

        And were they alive, and did they try to do so, I hope you would join me in condemning such people as psychopaths.

      3. The BigYin
        Facepalm

        Re: Free speech?

        @AC - "I'd imagine there would be a fair few people who know or knew people being honoured by the poppy who would love to express there free speech in burning this chap alive"

        See, this is Daily Fail logic at its finest. So destroying a small paper flower = capital punishment. FFS. Here's a question....do you have all you poppies from previous years? No? You threw them in the bin! MY GOD MAN! The mob will be round to throw you in next!

        "I'd probably break laws excercing my free speech rights on there ass's"

        You want to impregnate their donkeys? Eh?

    5. Michael Habel Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Free speech?

      I have to agree here, this "act" was no doubt offensive to many.

      But even I don't think that those fallen would have somehow supported this.

      Wasn't against this kind of tyranny, and oppression of freedom that those Soldiers wore fighting against?

      Best thing One could do in a situation like this is to unfriend them, and shun them in polite society.

      But, this is clearly in-line with Free Speech and no matter how tasteless it may be to the masses.

      There can be no justification found here to have, had him carted off like that.

      Fail - ON YOU UK!!

  5. frank ly Silver badge

    Logical progression:

    Senior politicians and senior police officers have often made public comments that offend me. Can have them arrested and charged from now on?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Logical progression:

      Alas, that doesn't work

      As the police themselves say, they have - or at least, claim that they have - the power to use discretion as to whether to proceed with a case.

      In the case of someone without powerful connections or lots of money, they'll proceed.

      In the case of someone with powerful connections, or lots of money, they won't proceed.

      AC <shame>

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Logical progression:

      Sorry, first thing they do when elected is grant themselves immunity.

  6. Wokstation

    I find Cameron wearing a poppy while selling arms far more offensive.

    The MC Act simply isn't designed to handle social media. It was to protect telephone operators, then users, then covered email. All one-to-one communications. It really cannot handle a virtual soapbox without stepping on free speech.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You call this freedom?

    You call this freedom? Many of those people who we remember dying to protect this country did so to protect free speech. This is free speech. Yes, it may be stupid and offensive to many, but it is free speech nonetheless. It isn't libel or defamation, but an attack on an institution or concept. It can be viewed as a form of protest.

    The stupid actions of the police are a serious cause for concern. You can be arrested for making a joke, making a protest or for generally being an arsehole. Yes, there are some people who do things online who SHOULD be arrested. They're the ones behind seven proxies, who are probably watching with amusement as the plods cuff some other easy-to-find sod.

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: You call this freedom?

      cant arrest all arseholes. our government would collapse!

      i too think the guy is a cock, but is that an arrestable offence? as people say, our relatives died to give us freedom, that has now been removed.

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: You call this freedom?

      Whilst I find the act of burning poppies and making derogatory comments about soldiers (on both sides) who fought and in many cases gave their life utterly reprehensible, it is not an arrestable offense to be a c**t.

      I believe in letting people make absolute twats of themselves should they desire to. Yes it can be grossly offensive, but better to know who they are for sure. All the comments about ww1 being a family spat etc and blackadder related jokes, it's all well and good and mostly accurate. However, millions of normal people died on both sides in both world wars and many smaller conflicts because they were told to fight. Some were lied to, many were forced to fight, it's easy to make light of it but war is not nice. I believe in taking the time each year to remember their sacrifice and appreciate how lucky I am not to have faced that. However, if somebody wishes to disrespect their memory they are entitled to, just as I am entitled to believe they are a c**t for it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet when I call the police..

    to tell them that I've found some gypos selling stuff at a boot sale that was all stolen from my house, they tell me that it's not an emergency and that I should just note the details of the vehicle and go into the station to report it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet when I call the police..

      You were lucky. A colleague had a similar experience (IIRC it was a bike) and when he reported it, the PC warned him he would "be reported for using racist language."

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        be reported for using racist language

        And I thought that the Police Log Column in Private Eye was made up.

  9. Occams_Cat

    Offensive to some? Yes. Insensitive, stupid, ignorant, tasteless & disrespectful: absolutely. Illegal - No. He just makes himself look like a moron.

    Offending people isn't a criminal offence. If you own it, then burning a Koran, Bible, poppy or any other symbolic object is your choice to make. Society will judge you, no need for police action.

    1. Dan Price
      Big Brother

      Sadly, it is a criminal offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act. Check out reformsection5.org.uk for more on that piece of government idiocy.

      1. Tommy Pock

        He wasn't arrested under the public order act but the offensive communications act. Burning a poppy isn't a criminal offence in the UK, so causing offence by doing so isn't possible.

        A pointless arrest the CPS - assuming they go anywhere near this - simply will not win.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Check out reformsection5.org.uk

        Surprise, surprise. It's a 'guilty until proven innocent' law.

  10. boltar Silver badge
    FAIL

    Oh the irony of the police actions

    Soldiers died in the wars protecting our right to a free society that respects free speech no matter how unpalatable. Obviously this simple fact is lost on the buffoons at kent police.

  11. Wombling_Free
    Thumb Down

    Justice

    Own a newspaper or five, and order your staff to indulge in a bit of highly illegal hacking, perverting the course of justice and being smarmy beyond UN mandated limits in a public place? - Nothing.

    Be a teenager, perform what is in the grand scale of things, a very, VERY minor misdemeanor? - expect some years behind bars.

    What's next? Arrests due to bad taste? Wearing too much fluoro without a council jobsworth-permit?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is very wrong

    Just because someone makes a complete tit of themselves by opening their mouth and looking ignorant, insensitive and just plain unfunny there are worrying issues here. In a free society they should be able to speak then challenged and shown up for what they are.

    A lot of comedy often relies on individuals or groups of people being the butt of the joke with the comedians intent to maybe bring attention to the plight, stupidity, differences, similarities etc of those commented on. It makes you wonder if the thought police will be after those next.

    Whenever Governments curtail the right to speak and think, despotism often isn't very far behind.

    1. g e
      FAIL

      Re: This is very wrong

      Perhaps if the kid were a soldier it'd be OK...

      Just like it's OK for Omid Djalili to make jokes about Iranians but not for me.

      Hopefully his lawyer will tell him to claim it was an act of protest against war and the CPS will have to sod off and find some real criminals to prosecute.

  13. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    Meanwhile...

    ... Nick Griffin of the BNP makes a homophobic post about the gay couple who were discriminated against by a B&B owner and posts their address, seemingly calling on his supporters to stage a demo outside their house, yet all he gets is a brief ban from Twitter and the comment removed

    #levelplayingfield???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile...

      What? We have to like gays now as well!?

      Only joking, any normal person loves gays, as do I. Some of my friends are gay and I am thinking of becoming a poof because I respect them so much.

  14. Efros
    WTF?

    s'all bollocks innit

    I couldn't disagree more with the actions of this idiot, although I can see cause for burning a poppy as a protest against Earl Haig and his fuckups in WW1, bit late for that now though, but he surely should be free to do this sort of thing and not be subject to criminal law for doing it, a heap of disparagement and abuse would suffice, and I'm sure he'll be getting that. Isn't this what the men who fought in those wars were fighting about, the freedom of speech and action, well that and the criminal expansionism of the empires involved. The police need to get their priorities right.

  15. David Hicks
    FAIL

    God dammit

    This country needs a first amendment.

    There's a lot wrong with the US and the way it goes about, but protecting people's right to be an insensitive arsehole (and to be judged by the rest of us for it) should go without saying.

    The kid in question needs a clip round the ear from an older relative, not police involvement.

    1. g e

      Re: God dammit

      Agreed. Remember though, a clip round the ear is assault and that'll get you thrown in chokey.

      Which is why we have Chavs...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: God dammit

      So let's get this absolutely straight...

      In the US, the First Amendment would protect me if I set fire to the Stars & Stripes?

      I think not.

      I'd be dead before the first can of lighter fuel was empty.

      The US talks a good game when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression but the reality is much much harsher.

      Posting as Anonymous for obvious reasons.

      1. David Hicks
        FAIL

        Re: God dammit

        @AC -

        Err, yes, flag burning is protected speech, meaning the government (local, state or federal) can't do anything to you if you do that. Fellow citizens may then, illegally, beat the tar out of you. They should be arrested and prosecuted for that. If they aren't then that's a failure of the police and court system. Violence is never an appropriate reaction to speech.

        That situation is far, far different to the authorities themselves coming to whisk you away because you posted a picture to the internet that some people found offensive.

        What is it you don't understand here?

        I'll also remind you I said that there's a lot wrong with the US and I don't hold them up as a model. I just think that guaranteed freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. For god's sake look at our ludicrous double-secret-super-injunctions and people from foreign counties coming here to sue each other over things never even published in the UK. These things should not happen.

        1. LaeMing Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: God dammit

          Also, US flags get burned all the time. You are not allowed to just chuck them in the garbage bin and incineration is considered the most appropriately respectful method of disposal by those who's job is to consider how to respectfully dispose of old flags.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: God dammit

        "In the US, the First Amendment would protect me if I set fire to the Stars & Stripes?

        I think not."

        As was posted above - uhh, yes, it would indeed. In fact, that particular case is regarded as a prime example of offensive political speech which is *explicitly protect* under the first amendment. It's precisely the kind of thing that the amendment is intended to protect.

        The reaction of passers-by is neither here nor there vis legal protections for freedom of speech. And for that matter, plenty of protesters have burned plenty of flags, and I've never heard of one being burned alive or even beaten to a frothy pulp by outraged locals.

        If you want an even better example of protected speech in the US, consider the "church" run by the Fred Phelps guy (really it's pretty much his extended family of dimwits, not actually a church). Here's a guy who goes around to funerals of military personnel carrying signs saying "GOD HATES FAGS" because he thinks that God kills soldiers as punishment for the US' tolerance for homosexuality.

        He not only is allowed to protest, but is protected from harm by the cops.

        That doesn't stop OTHER people protesting THEM - blocking them from view or drowning out their voices - but it does stop the government from prosecuting them for their (wildly misguided) religious and political beliefs.

        The US talks a good game when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and the reality, while imperfect, is a hell of a lot better than being hauled off to the slammer for what is by its very nature political commentary - however crassly-executed.

        Not posted as Anonymous for obvious reasons.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are all.....

    Fooking W4nker5

    Now waiting for her majesty's constabulary to come and give me a free nights B&B and self defence training.

  17. Ben Rosenthal
    WTF?

    just a dumb kid doing dumb kid things, hardly a danger to the public worthy of the costs of a bloody police investigation.

    Plod really likes a nice soft target though, they'll probably CS gas him while they're "investigating" just to make it worth the visit.

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Its obvious why the police go after these offenses, its easy to do so, the person usually has posted under their own name with photos of themselves tagged along side it so they can simply lookup the persons details and send a van round to their home, so they can make the crime stats look good.

    When they have to do some actual police work they are not so keen, had been scammed out of several hunderd pounds of computer equipment when someone bought it from me then claimed they hadn't authorised the transaction. Gave the police the address, phone number and IP of the person involved as was told. 'nothing they could do'

    1. Citizen Kaned

      yup. just like when my old car got stuffed by a white van in a parking space (scraped all down the side).

      this was right infront of a CCTV camera. it would have been easy to just look back at the tape and give me the reg number. reported it and they didnt even bother to contact me back. lost 4 years no claims to get it repaired costing me hundreds.

      wankers!

      1. teebie

        I reported my stolen bike to the police.

        I got a call a few days later to tell me they had got the CCTV tapes and were going to see what they could find, and another call a few days after that to say that the camera didn't pick it up.

        They must have wodnered why I sounded so confused.

  19. foo_bar_baz
    Devil

    How long

    until possession of cartoons depicting a certain holy man become an arrestable offense in the UK?

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: How long

      IMO they should have to prove he existed and so does god... good luck with that! :)

    2. a cynic writes...

      Re: How long

      I think it will be a while before possession is outlawed, but if you had them displayed so that they could be seen outside then potentially you could be done for a religiously-aggravated public order offence, in that you intentionally caused harassment, alarm or distress. That's worth up to 6 months and/or £2500 fine.

      I suspect there are two reasons we hear about these sort of arrests - first they're daft enough to be news, secondly the police like them as they have a 100% clear up rate and count towards their targets (see inspector gadget for details).

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

      Re: How long

      It's illegal to show cartoons of children sucking adult cock but the PTB get away with the 2012 Olympic logo.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Send him off to Iraq to do 6 months then see if he still wants to burn poppies.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Send him of to Afganistan for 6 months.

      Then he can burn Popies with the rest of the troops.

    2. Citizen Kaned

      hmmm.

      poppies are for those that fought in ww1 and 2. the great wars for our freedoms from nazi invasion.

      not a war on oil like these days. today soldiers arent fighting for our freedoms, they fight for globomegacorps' infrastructure projects.

      flame away. i know this will be controversial.

      1. h4rm0ny

        "poppies are for those that fought in ww1 and 2. the great wars for our freedoms from nazi invasion."

        The NAZIs didn't exist in WW1 - that was a war between mostly monarchical colonial powers over territory. Also, I think Poppies are for British war-dead generally rather than just those that died in WW1 and WW2. Otherwise, the Irish might have less of a problem with something that otherwise commemorates British soldiers who were active for several decades in Northern Ireland. The money raised from the Poppy Sales goes to the Royal British Legion - a charity for all soliders and their families, very much including those today.

        "flame away. i know this will be controversial."

        I don't think it's contraversial, I think you're just incorrect on what you think Rememberance Poppies symbolize.

        1. Citizen Kaned

          fair point. i simplified it too much.

          in ww1 there were loads on conscripts who were forced to fight. in ww2 they were fighting a fascist invasions off.

          many people have issues with modern soldiers getting in on the remembrance thing though, hence the white poppies.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Not just British. Commonwealth. A lot of Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, etc. fought and died during WWI, and those countries also commemorate using poppies.

      2. Arclight

        @citizen kaned

        When did Afghanistan become a leading producer of oil? Same goes for Bosnia and Kosovo.

        1. Citizen Kaned

          Re: @citizen kaned

          Afghanistan is all about opium poppies now. and as i said, massive building contracts. us being there serves no purpose and in fact our lives are far worse for the wars now (loss of liberties etc). the fact so many soldiers have died has been a disgrace really.

          bosnia and kosovo were for the UN/nato predominantly werent they (could be wrong)? and to stop genocide. a much more worthy task than the middle east. lest we forget the kuwait had one of the worst civil rights records in the world.

  21. ukgnome Silver badge
    Pint

    Misuse of misuse act!

    My Grandfather would snatch a poppy from my jumper and throw it onto his open coal fire. He saw war as something best forgotten. In his words, "don't buy some daft poppy, just buy those old buggers a pint" He wasn't a "my mates gave their lives for you" type of guy, he was however a "live and let live" kind of guy.

    He acknowledged that not everyone would celebrate the allied forces success and only wanted people to live as they please, free from criticism for displaying views that you disagree with. Afterall he fought for the right to do as you please and not live under oppression.

    <---------------------Beer for my Granddad, he did like a few

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misuse of misuse act!

      In an ideal world war would be best forgotten (or never to have happened) but we are a way off that. Your grandfather probably also needs to consider other people do respect poppies and what they stand for, soldiers that were lost fighting for their country and where the money earned from them goes.

      But I already agree with 'live and let live' - but that also means you don't go around burning poppies, posting the pics on Facebook with comments likely to offend. Many would be happy for you to 'buy them a pint' but how many people do...?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misuse of misuse act!

      Live and let live guy? No offence but seems a strange career move to join the army.

      1. Code Monkey
        Facepalm

        Re: Misuse of misuse act!

        "strange career move to join the army"

        I'm guessing he was conscripted, y'know like most of the army in WWII

        1. ukgnome Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Misuse of misuse act!

          He was in the navy, on mine sweepers, but no he wasn't conscripted he actually thought that the UK was worth saving. He was proud on the country and what it meant to be free. Free to burn poppies if that's your thing. He was also very ahead of his time with regards to social injustice. So many tales about this great man, such as the time he was physically thrown off a tram in South Africa for letting a pregnant lady sit down. Or his dislike for the army squaddies using his local pub, legend has it he walked in and in a raised voice said " one at a time, or all at once. Either way you are leaving my pub" apparently the squaddies left.

  22. Purlieu

    From the horses mouth

    "Going to war is nothing more than a licence to murder people" - Harry Patch*

    * sorry if I got it slightly wrong

  23. SpasticHawk

    Perhaps UK needs a constitution...

    ...to protect against this kind of flavor of the month political correctness trumps free speech?

    Or could you be nicked for suggesting the above, or anything that upsets the people in power?

  24. jxp
    Coat

    Oh, a POPPY

    This story actually seemed reasonable when I misheard that he had posted a picture of a burning puppy.

  25. calumg
    Unhappy

    MPs don't want to know

    If this disturbs you, I suggest you write to your MP.

    I did, and got absolutely nowhere. The problem is that my MP epitomises the average Daily Mail reader. Apparently my MP has no problem with the Communications Act 2003 S127, and thinks that it should be illegal to post sick jokes on the internet.

    I'll vote for the other guy.

    1. Vic

      Re: MPs don't want to know

      > I'll vote for the other guy.

      I've been voting for the other guy for years. But there's no chance he'll get in[1], and he'd be no better anyway[2].

      Vic.

      [1] I'm in a staunchly-Labour constituency. My MP was a cabinet minister in the last fiasco. He's an imbecile

      [2] I've actually tried various alternatives. I've no particular political affiliation - I just dislike political imbeciles. Sadly, there's one phrase which aptly describes the various choices I get[3]...

      [3] Yes, I did consider standing myself on one occasion.

  26. Steven Roper
    Mushroom

    This is why

    I only post on Facebook what I would be prepared to go down the police station and file as a statutory declaration. In fact, Facebook is simply my business page - I never put anything personal like an opinion on there.

    I save personal opinions for more anonymous forums like 4chan, Listverse and the comments pages of El Reg, since it's generally illegal to have an opinion that differs from the politically correct norm these days.

    Freedom my fucking arse. My brave ancestors fought and died for fucking nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your ancestors didn't die for nothing ...

      they died so David Cameron and all the posh boys could keep their country estates and huntin', shootin', fishin' shindigs. That's why *they* make such a big thing of it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is why

      "I save personal opinions for more anonymous forums like 4chan, Listverse and the comments pages of El Reg, "

      Maybe, but there's not complete freedom of speech round here, even if tolerance of implolite langugage is for the most part quite good. You only have to try moderately hard to have a comment withdrawn on El Reg (calling an AC a c*** seemed to do it the other day).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is why

      Steven you're entirely free to piss off somewhere else. Maybe join a Militia on the Mexican border.

      I very much doubt your ancestors fought and died so you could be a spiteful little prick on the internet if you're going to turn it round to that subject. I'm sure they'd consider compulsory military service might straiten you out.

      You know, a bit like how the government forced them to be in the army.

      1. Steven Roper
        Flame

        Re: This is why

        Unfortunately you're going to have to put up with the likes of me whether you like it or not, while there's any semblance of freedom left. My ancestors fought and died so that I did not have to be afraid to speak my mind, even if doing so offended some people. Just as they also fought and died for your right to call me a spiteful little prick just because you don't agree with my views.

        But you do not have the right to ostracise me from a community or force me into military service just because I don't conform to your specific brand of arrogance and self-righteousness, not to mention your gutlessness in not posting under a trackable ID when you attack me. I put my money where my mouth is. Where's yours?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it great

    That someone decided we must all have the right not to be offended? That we are now all hostage to the easily offended and all the feeble minded buffoons (including, apparently, the police) who shout loudest?

  28. Code Monkey

    The man's an arse. However, my granddad's generation went through shit I can't even imagine to protect his freedom to be an arse.

    That he's been arrested for this is a bigger affront to those who died in service than burning a poppy.

  29. ravenviz
    FAIL

    websites could face regulations to tackle offensive material online

    In other news, Halfords must now act to prevent spray paint being use to paint tags on trains.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm gonna get flamed for this

    ...geddit. .. burning poppy ... flamed ...

    Anyway, There is a time and a place for protesting something you disagree with.

    If you disagree with the wars that we are engaged in, then the remembrence services are not the time or place to do it.

    Protests which go to the extent of generating strong emotions, such as burning poppies, are asking for trouble. You're putting a very large set of two fingers up at the nation and saying, "I don't care that all the people you give a damn about, gave their lives to defend our way of life; including the way of life that enables me to say this and get away with it, nah, nah na naaaah nah."

    If you want to stand up and say, "I don't agree with the wars we are fighting, or have fought." then that's your point of view and fair enough. But to do so in a manner which offends people is the height of insensitivity ... there's the cell, walk in, there's a good chap.

    For Kent Police, of all institutions, to be the ones that throw away the key on this particular youngster, does add a bit of oddity to it; as they are the ones that would still love to ban Lady Chatterleigh's Lover. Let's face it, they could do with a kick up the arse in to the 21st century IMHO.

    Remembrence is the time to remember people who gave the most precious thing that they had, for the rest of us; not the time to make ideological statements.

    1. David Hicks
      Flame

      Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

      So there are certain things you can't ever say and certain times you can't say them, lest you be locked up?

      What a nasty civilisation you propose.

      Who gets to decide what and when? How are you going to make sure this doesn't expand to any criticism of soldiers, or a war, or the current political leader?

      I agree that what this kid did was dumb, insensitive and offensive to some people. So what? Aren't the rest of us adults? Who gives a crap what some 19 year-old scrote thinks about anything?

      But by all means, let's chuck away basic freedoms so nobody feels offended by people's writings on the internet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

        To quote "Respect Yourself," ...

        "If you don't give a damn about the man with a bible in his hand.

        Then get out the way and let the gentleman do his thing."

        That, in my humble opinion, seems like a respectful line to take.

        And I believe from what I've read, that most commenters agree with that kind of common sense; and that is where this scroat failed. He decided to get in the way and disrupt things.

        The problem we've got is the degree of punishment for the individual not having respect for either themselves, society, or in this case, the people who laid down their lives.

        You are making comparisons that are bending things. A soldier, politician, those responsible for the decision to go to war, are here, alive, and can be brought to public enquiry to defend themselves.

        Those who laid down their lives ... can't.

        And yes, I do care what a 19 year old scroat thinks ... they are the next generation and if they show such disrespect for something such as this, then it is us who have failed them. This is the civilisation that we have already created.

        1. David Hicks

          Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

          "And I believe from what I've read, that most commenters agree with that kind of common sense; and that is where this scroat failed. He decided to get in the way and disrupt things."

          What a load of nonsense. He sat in his bedroom and posted to facebook. In whose twisted worldview is that getting in the way of or disrupting of anything?

          "You are making comparisons that are bending things. A soldier, politician, those responsible for the decision to go to war, are here, alive, and can be brought to public enquiry to defend themselves."

          No, you are making excuses for a police state. The moment you give people the power to arrest based solely on perceived offensiveness, you have lost freedom. There are plenty of people who would push for this to be used in criticism of a current war, and they'll justify it by saying it's offensive to the troops, and can't you just wait until it's over, this is disruptive, it's not appropriate to speak like this now. This can then easily be expanded to leaders - how dare you criticise the PM in a time of war! That's dangerously seditious! You're giving comfort to our enemies!

          Without the first amendment we would have seen exactly this in the US over Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd hate to see it here.

          "Those who laid down their lives ... can't."

          So what? I mean really, so fucking what? It's not like the guy is desecrating their bodies or tracking down family members and harassing them, he's just an idiot posting a dumb picture to facebook and mouthing off about squaddies. And defend themselves from what? A swearword and a picture of burnt emblem. OH MY GOD BETTER CALL IN THE UN!

          "And yes, I do care what a 19 year old scroat thinks ... they are the next generation and if they show such disrespect for something such as this, then it is us who have failed them. This is the civilisation that we have already created."

          Guess what, you don't get to decide what the next generation think is important, and you certainly don't get to put people away for thought crime. Maybe (and I hope this is true) they value freedom of speech and freedom in general more highly than you do.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

            "Those who laid down their lives ... can't."

            So what? I mean really, so fucking what?

            That's what remembrence is all about. When we forget, or couldn't care less, then what does that say about us?

            Don't bother answering that. We aren't going to agree on this.

            1. David Hicks
              Flame

              Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

              Remembrance is about remembering how horrific war is, that we don't enter it lightly, about making sure we look after our soldiers past and present, and about honouring their memories and being thankful what they did for us.

              It's not about turning past soldiers into gods, inviolate to any criticism. Hell, go and read some WWI war poetry if you think the whole thing was an honourable but necessary sacrifice. That's not what the poor bastards stuck in the middle of it thought at the time.

              And it's certainly not about arresting people who disagree with you or forcing into line those that choose to be stupid on the internet. The appropriate response here would have been for his mates to tell him to stop being a nob.

              I find it hugely offensive that you think failing to observe a cultural tradition should be met with legal sanctions.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                Who said anything about turning past soldiers in to gods?

                Who said anything about making them beyond the point of criticism?

                What I said was, the time of remembrance is not the time to let the world know that you hold the opposite view of those who remember, in a manner which is designed to inflict serious emotional anguish.

                This is not a case of the scroat facing sanctions for having a point of view; this is the scroat not having respect for the fact that there is a time and a place for things.

                If you can't see that, they I wish you all the joy that the anger of your misplaced offence will deliver you.

                1. David Hicks
                  FAIL

                  Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                  "Who said anything about making them beyond the point of criticism?"

                  You did when you supported arresting someone for posting a picture and a swearword to facebook. Doesn't matter when it's said, you don't get to decide these things. If you did then you and people like you would quickly suppress all political dissent. See the writings of George Orwell and multiple historical examples all around the world if you need any reference material on that claim.

                  "This is not a case of the scroat facing sanctions for having a point of view; this is the scroat not having respect for the fact that there is a time and a place for things."

                  Lack of respect is not sufficient grounds for legal sanction. Nobody was hurt here, there was no victim (no, feeling offended doesn't make you a victim), so there was no crime.

                  "If you can't see that, they I wish you all the joy that the anger of your misplaced offence will deliver you."

                  All I see is someone scared of people expressing themselves. it's very sad.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    FAIL

                    Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                    There is a difference between my saying,

                    "I don't believe in god, I think Christians are on a hiding to nothing and their views are a plague on our society and freedom of living"

                    ... and my burning a bible.

                    1. David Hicks
                      WTF?

                      Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                      Really? I don't see it.

                      I would support your right to do both, and see them as roughly equivalent. You certainly shouldn't face legal sanctions for either activity.

                    2. David Hicks

                      Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                      I mean seriously, bun what you like, I'm still not seeing a victim.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                        That is where we will differ.

                        If I read this correctly, then you wouldn't see a victim unless someone was physically hurt; damage to property done.

                        But what about damage to feelings; acts that are designed to enrage? We all have the right to be offended, certainly; but to have someone taunt something which is so close to our hearts that it can cause serious distress?

                        I believe that we all have things which mean a lot to us, and once someone pushes those buttons, then damn the rules, we'll want to see them pay for the disrecpect they have shown. That is part of what it is to be human. Poppies, bibles, of those you don't care. But there will be some line; and all our lines are different.

                        1. David Hicks

                          Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                          The line is where there is a victim of criminal harassment, physical violence, property damage etc.

                          Not just what someone chooses to get upset about. Just because you hold something sacred doesn't mean you should be able to stop me from expressing how contemptible I think it is, and you are for holding that belief.

                          Getting offended about something someone says and seeking vengeance (physical or legal) is barely above the animal in my estimation, not human at all. Are we to arrest people for making insensitive jokes about 'your mum' ?

                          What a lovely polite society we would then inhabit. Perhaps anyone not observing social conventions could be shipped off to the colonies.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                            Then explain to me this. Why is it criminal to taunt someone based on an aspect of their personality? Colour, race, etc., etc.?

                            That is an offence which will merit the long arm of the law.

                            Who do you deem as being the base animal then? The person at which end of the calling?

                            1. David Hicks

                              Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                              Hmm, that would be criminal harassment, the key being that someone is specifically being taunted. I don't see that here.

                              Note that I don't really agree with hate-crime legislation either. I don't see what difference it makes if someone was murdered for their skin colour, for their clothing or for no reason at all - it's still murder.

                              "Who do you deem as being the base animal then? The person at which end of the calling?"

                              Why do I have to pick only one?

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                                "Why do I have to pick only one?" - good answer.

                                The way I see it, the scroat is taunting a heck of a lot of people; multiple nations in fact.

                                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                                2. Anonymous Coward
                                  Anonymous Coward

                                  Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                                  "The way I see it, the scroat is taunting a heck of a lot of people"

                                  Scrote, not scroat. Think what it's shortened from, and then how you have to add a vowel on the end to avoid it being "scrot".

                                  Scroat sounds like a small furry animal, a sort of Scottish version of a ferret.

                                3. David Hicks
                                  Thumb Down

                                  Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                                  Again, so what?

                                  It's not like he's hunting down people on the street and harassing them. It's just a picture on facebook.

                                  It's markedly different from racist comment - this is not targeting people for the colour of their skin. I'm amused (reading a couple of posts back up) that you think these are equivalent, calling skin colour an aspect of someone's personality. It's not, it's a physical fact.

                                  The USA must horrify you. A land where racists are free to express their contemptible ideas and everyone else is free to see them as the scum that they are. I'd far rather live under those laws than under these, where a vague idea of offensiveness is enough to get someone arrested and put in prison. I'd far rather Nick Griffin was legally allowed to say what he really thinks and be even more despised because of it.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                                    "Scrote, not scroat"

                                    I'm dyslexic. So sew me.

                                    "The USA must horrify you"

                                    Not really. I have no urgent desire to step on American soil, but I wouldn't say that I'm horrified; and I can take care of myself.

                                    1. David Hicks

                                      Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                                      You can take care of yourself? Then why on earth do you need the police to arrest someone for burning a poppy?

                          2. Anonymous Coward
                            Pint

                            Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                            Penal colony here. We welcome with open arms all non-conformist bastards. Here, have a beer.

                            1. David Hicks
                              Thumb Up

                              Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                              @ mutatedwombat

                              Just moved back to the ol' uk from there a couple of months ago. Loved the place but couldn't quite settle. At this rate I'll be running back again soon!

                        2. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this

                          Well not a day goes past when I am not enraged and offended - by idiots, other drivers, thieving politicians, tax dodging multinationals, vacuous celebrities, the price of a pint/gallon or whatever. But fortunately I live in a civilized country, and the only damage I do is to my own blood pressure, and my friends patience. Heaven help you all if I got to decide 'the line' and gained the power to lock up those who crossed it.

  31. Avatar of They
    Thumb Down

    Some people are just dicks.

    Just release his name and picture, let the country know who the idiot is.

    OR

    Just leave him alone in a barracks of squaddies and let him see if anyone cares to 'remember' him after that,

    1. David Hicks
      Thumb Down

      Re: Some people are just dicks.

      Or we could just ignore it, because what some idiot in a bedroom in Kent posts to his facebook page isn't exactly of national security importance, you know?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Starmer said free speech must be preserved..."

    I wonder how far down his todo list that is. Some way after "clearing out the cupboard under the stairs" I'd guess.

  33. Pete the not so great
    Unhappy

    Shirley our granddads fought in theses wars

    just so that someone has the freedom to do this sort of thing?

  34. Velv Silver badge
    FAIL

    Proportionate Response

    In the good old days the cops would have given him a good stern talking to and a cuff around the ear (no matter how old he was).

    Sadly our society is now so obsessed with the freedoms and rights of the guilty that the Police can no longer work with the spirit of the law and must follow it to the letter - get a complaint, arrest, paperwork, report to CPS or PF.

    I don't want to condone Police as Judge, Jury and Executioner, but we need to appreciate our liberal society has brought the overreaction problem highlighted here on ourselves.

    1. Alex King
      Facepalm

      Re: Proportionate Response

      Only a special kind of intelligence would blame needless, thought-crime arrests on a lax and liberal society.

  35. Alex King
    FAIL

    Bah.

    Usually I don't like to quote others, but I think Mr Fry was onto something when he said:

    'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?'

    Nobody has the right to be protected from offence. We make progress against things that most people find unacceptable by opening them up to the oxygen of publicity, not via supression and enforcement.

    Of course, the reason that Kent Police have done this is that someone has taken offence, reported a crime, so they have to clear it up for the sake of their stats. What a massive clusterfuck of idiocy.

  36. Efros

    Evelyn Beatrice Hall

    In summarizing Voltaire's views came up with

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    Seems times have changed.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free Speech?

    There is no right to free speech in any country. Free speech is the balancing point at which an oppressive government tolerates the expressions of those who are willing to fight for their voice and at what cost those who want free speech are determined to pay for it. How many of us are willing to shut up at the injustices on our jobs alone for fear of losing it and are only willing to speak what we feel we are free to speak on public media because of a false sense of 'free speech' granted to us by our constitution, (which was signed by a small group of men but not voted on by the country as a whole). These few men themselves were the established government then. They had determined the avenues of the war that then existed and men followed them, but the idea of 'free speech,' though a lofty goal even now has been diminished by courts, the law, and government on international, national and local levels, and how many of us got to actually vote for those laws. Free speech was lost with eminent domain because if the government can take away a man's property then he can take away any other freedoms he has because it then believes all that a man has belongs to them and that all property ultimately belongs to the government. It just means if we want any freedoms then it is the people and their continued veracity and defense that will offer any hope of freedom of speech. The worse part is the legal system has become an arm of government to torment those who believe in freedom only to tie them up in battles that will in the end most likely work for the cause of government, not the people. No wonder Shakesphere cinically said, 'shoot all the lawyers.' Government has become the biggest business of all businesses, making money off it's serfdom and that doesn't permit speech which doesn't further it's cause, in this case, the propagation of heroism in dying for the causes of the state. Yes. I posted anonymously because I am a coward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free Speech?

      "Free speech was lost with eminent domain because if the government can take away a man's property then he can take away any other freedoms he has because it then believes all that a man has belongs to them and that all property ultimately belongs to the government."

      You're insane.

  38. The Axe

    Not a Muslim

    The reason the guy was arrested was because he was not a Muslim. Only Muslim's are allowed to shout during remembrance services, to burn poppies, and to demonstrate during marches.

  39. cortland

    The best defence is a good offence

    All right then. How many consider the *Kent Police page* offencive?

    1. Vic

      Re: The best defence is a good offence

      > How many consider the *Kent Police page* offencive?

      I consider them offensive. Words derived from the "civ" root seem somehow inappropriate...

      Vic.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They fought for freedom."

    On the local 'Memorial Highway', the government installed a big sign emblazoned with the phrase "They fought for freedom." Half the people didn't notice, and the other half were asking "WTF?". Eventually they had to take it down as it was an obvious bald-faced lie.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Remind me,

    Who won the war?

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: Remind me,

      i think Eton won...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will someone please arrest this man too!

    http://anupadin.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/lift-the-ban/

  43. David 45

    Waste of police resources

    Tasteless I don't doubt but hardly warranting heavy-handed police action. Not what they're there for. They seem to always be taking the easy way out these days. I speak from experience.

  44. Antoine Dubuc
    FAIL

    Free Speech is only allowed when its nice.

    What a great society we have become. We have 'free speech'. And we don't like what you're saying, we'll put you in the slammer. So stay free, and well behaved.

    Cue the marching timpany of Huxley and Orwell.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in 2012 when the economy was really bad, they started arresting people over jokes and silly images.

    I'm sure a real vet would have just said a few choice words, these police today should basically be crawling through the sewers to catch all the gang activity.. Instead we have nerd cops who were bullied at school holding the stick now.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think that burning a poppy is a valid political protest - I can't see what the crime is. If he's brought the poppy, it's his property to do what he wishes with. Who exactly has been harmed? How can an idea or concept be 'offended' or harmed by such an act. In the same vein it also should be a valid exercise of free speech to burn a bible, koran, torah, copy of Dianetics etc - as long as it's your property :-) If we can do all of the above without fear of state repercussions then we can truely claim to have free speech. Sure, you will quite probably look like a moron, but that's how it goes.

    On the other hand I do have issue with people causing personal offence that is directed to an individual (and not an idea or institution), such as trolling memorial pages on Facebook as an example. This is most definately harrassment and I don't think that there is any valid reason to do such a thing.

    However, I have no idea how this can tie in with having free speech, how it should be enforced or the extent of punishment (if any).

  47. EddieD

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cartoon/2012/nov/13/remembrance-day-burning-poppy-cartoon?CMP=twt_gu

  48. Trustme

    Poppycock

    "We must protect free speech" - as long as it agrees with everything we say and is government approved speech. Attacking someone personally on a page or directly to them is abuse and should quite rightly be punished. Posting whatever you want on your own page regardles of how offensive it might be to some people is nobody's business whatsoever. If someone friends you or otherwise makes a conscious decision to read your posts on Facebook then they should have no recourse for complaint about whatever is posted because they have subscribed to view it and can simply unsubscribe if they don't like the content, and what is considered offensive is purely a personal thing. If you find a picture of a burning poppy offensive then don't look at it and don't be friends with people who are likely to post it. The idea that you could be arrested for posting it is utterly disgraceful and makes a total mockery of the idea of free speech.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for those who are outraged about the outrage...

    just assume the symbol was for your own sacred cow. then let the screaming commence.

    create what might tangentally be considered an insult to some self defined "minority" and it's a lot less civil than an arrest.

    Just consider veterans a minority-there's lot less of them than certain ethnic and gender-preference individuals these days.

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