I love brushing off anachronisms and making them suitable to modern sensibilities.
Telegraph – Home front. By Philip Johnston<br/> Remember, remember, and credit society with moving on
They would be better off sticking with Article 3 of the 1848 Treason Act, under which it is an offence to “express, utter, or declare, by publishing any printing or writing… or by any overt act or deed” anything that supported anybody wishing “to levy war against her Majesty… within any part of the United Kingdom”.
That seems a catch-all measure, already on the statute book, that covers what the Government wants to achieve with its new Terrorism Bill. In fact, over the summer, it was suggested that Ministers were thinking of using the treason law against terrorist apologists, but they shied away from doing so, presumably on the grounds that it sounds old-fashioned.
But unlike the new measure of ”glorification”, which could criminalise someone who praised the actions of the ANC in fighting apartheid in South Africa because the definition of terrorism is drawn so widely, the Treason Act is quite specific in dealing with incitement against the interests of the UK. If it is considered anachronistic, it can be adapated to suit modern sensibilities. It would have the added advantage of targeting just that handful of fanatics who pose a threat without ensnaring the innocent or introducing a thought-crime.
One more thing:
Although most November 5 bonfires burn Guy Fawkes in effigy, for centuries it was more likely to be the Pope, as it still is in some parts of the country. Yet the vast majority of Catholics under James I were loyal to their king and country and paid an unjustifiably heavy price for the actions of the plotters. As we remember once more the Fifth of November, let us also not forget what a frightened and intolerant society we once were and how far we have come in the intervening 400 years.
Well, let’s wait and see if Parliament building stays intact this time around, eh?