The news that the Lord Chief Justice has referred Trigger to the Office of Judicial Complaints (OJC) as to:
the propriety of the judge's statements and assertions, and whether they went beyond the facts of the case and extended overtly into the political arena.
It seems fairly obvious they were improper and were political. As mentioned here before, they had little to do with the case at hand, as none of the reports suggested the drug dealer whose case Trigger was ruling on had received benefits, and had arrived in the UK on a visitor visa. Over and above that, his comments were wrong and seemed designed to stoke up anti-immigrant sentiment.
Needless to say, the messageboards are full of comments of the type 'you can't say what you think any more', 'political correctness gone mad' and so on. And on.
Which begs the question - why is Trigger allowed free speech, yet the so-called immigrants who want to protest against the Iraq War are not? Because just yesterday, there was little criticism of the new citizenship proposals which said just that. Eventhough most (if not all) of the Luton protesters were born in Britain.
The Mail reports:
Robert Whelan, of the Civitas think-tank, said: 'This reinforces the view that there are certain things that may not be expressed in this country any more. There are great fears for freedom of speech.'
Quite so. Freedom of speech, but only if your skin is the right colour, apparently.
And anyway, Trigger's remarks are not really about freedom of speech. They are about what a judge should and shouldn't be saying, and far more importantly, whether he should be using his position to make claims which are both inflammatory and inaccurate.
Back to the immigrants and benefits story however, and here is one of the picture captions from the Mail website story:
Illegal immigrants can't claim benefits. If they could, they wouldn't be 'illegal'. It is highly unlikely for the drug dealer in the Trigger to have been 'on the run' and claiming benefits.
Do they genuinely not understand this, in which case how are the immigration judges and home affairs reporters? Or do they just not want to?