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Q: What unites Christian, secularist and gay campaigners? A: Free speech

A new campaign to urge reform of Section 5 of the Public Order Act has forged an alliance of former opponents ...

No offence, but there are some unlikely bedfellows here

Fascinating news of the week so far sees an unexpected alliance in the battle for free speech bringing together The Christian Institute, The National Secular Society and The Peter Tatchell Foundation.

The campaigners, more often seen shouting their corner in opposition, have launched a drive to urge the Government to reform Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which basically allows the police and the courts to decide if someone might feel "insulted".

Each organisation argues that free speech should mean the law protects us against unjust discrimination, incitement and violence – but not against being offended or having our feelings hurt.

And some of the daft cases which have wasted public money and the courts' time are listed on their website at www.reformsection5.org.uk along with prominent supporters and suggestions on how people can get involved.

As a firm believer in the value of satire, I think this has huge merit. And the fact that such organisations are prepared to work together suggests that behind the sloganeering, there is at least a chance of a civil discourse.

Even if now and again we have to be offensive.

What do you think?

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