CLIVE SMITH: This country used to be a bastion of free speech

Mark Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as 'gas the Jews'and 'Sieg Heil' by raising its paw. He said he made the video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly.
Mark Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as 'gas the Jews'and 'Sieg Heil' by raising its paw. He said he made the video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly.
Zella is a Love island addict

ZELLA COMPTON: Oh yes, they are the great pretenders

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Comedian Mark Meechan posted a video on You Tube that showed his girlfriend’s dog giving a Nazi salute every time he said ‘gas the Jews’.

Of course you can argue it was in bad taste and not funny, but criminal?

Yet last week he was found guilty in a Scottish court of committing a hate crime and is now facing a stint behind bars. Ludicrous!

Last time I checked, pugs don’t have the capability to carry out mass genocide. If you decode the Bible and read through ancient texts it doesnt’ say... ‘and a pug shall lead them’.

What’s ‘grossly offensive’ to one person, won’t be for another so where do people stand now with what they can and can’t say?

This case sets a dangerous precedent if you ask me.

Comedians will soon vanish, too scared to joke about something without fear that some weirdo with nothing better to do will take offence.

You don’t need to like or even agree with what Mark Meechan, 30, did.

Personally, I didn’t find it funny, but to criminalise an offensive joke strikes right at the heart of free speech, and the UK used to be a bastion of free speech.

In 1941, Nazi Germany sought to arrest a man who taught his dog to ‘sieg heil’ because it insulted Adolf Hitler.

But in the end they did not charge him. So, even the Nazis decided against prosecuting.

But 2018, here in the UK, a man is facing up to a year in prison for the same thing. That says a lot about the current state of play in this country.

Comedian Ricky Gervais summed it up well.

He Tweeted: ‘If you don’t believe in a person’s right to say things that you might find ‘‘grossly offensive’’, then you don’t believe in Freedom of Speech.’

HAVE LOO SEAT, WILL TRAVEL

Everyone was getting excited when it was revealed what Prince Charles takes with him when he goes away.

Apparently, he packs his own bed, toilet seat, luxury toilet paper, whisky and two landscape paintings.

He’s got the money and the entourage to do it so what’s the problem? It’s not as if he has to climb on a plane with a toilet seat hanging round his neck and a mattress slung over his shoulder.

He travels a lot differently to me. I throw in a pair of jeans, pants if I remember, a couple of T-shirts and a toothbrush!

However, I have to say I did get some funny looks when I rocked up at the Travelodge with a couple of Monets under my arms!

EACH TO THEIR OWN – JUST DON’T GO ON AND ON ABOUT IT

I saw a post online the other day that was cheering the fact that the only two surviving members of The Beatles are vegans.

I’m sure there are plenty of benefits to being vegan compared to other diets and it’s probably better for you, but I don’t want to keep hearing about it.

Eat meat or don’t; scavenge food from behind the local Co-Oop, or just drink Redbull.

Whatever you do it doesn’t make you superior than everyone else.

Never mind the first rule of Fight Club. The first rule of Vegan Club is to tell everyone about Vegan Club.