Opinion - The worrying decline of free speech in Great Britain

International Business Times UK - 17 January 2011 - From William Dove

A disturbing new trend is slowly arising in Great Britain which if unchecked could spell the end of the relatively free society we live in and risks taking us back to a less tolerant age. Today it emerged that an artist in Folkestone, Kent, had a visit from the police after complaints that one of his works, displayed in the front window of his gallery, was offensive.

The work in question certainly appears to be aimed at provoking if not offending its viewers. It shows David Beckham being crucified in place of Jesus, while wearing an England shirt, a crown of thorns and a loincloth. The Holy Grail also makes an appearance in the form of the Jules Rimet cup.

The artist, Johnny Cotter, claims that the work is not anti-Christian, but is meant to ask what people in the 21st century worship. This did not stop a group of Christians staging a minor protest outside his gallery, nor did it stop an unknown person or persons complaining to the police.

The police duly paid Mr Cotter a visit, telling him the work had generated complaints that it caused "offence". In the end however the police took no action after it became clear that the work would be taken off display by the end of this week. (...)