Although British citizens have never enjoyed the written promise of freedom of speech Americans have in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Britons have long been accustomed to speaking their mind and expressing opinions freely.

In fact, so-called “Speakers’ Corners” in London parks have provided a forum for public debates, remarks and even rants where anyone may speak on any subject.

Those days may, however, soon be a thing of the past as police in Scotland arrested a man for the offense of posting comments on his Facebook page that might be considered offensive to Syrian immigrants.

The town of Dunoon on the little Isle of Bute less than fifty miles west of Glasgow by car and ferry with a population of only 6,498 has been told to expect a 16% jump in population as the government expects to continue to “resettle” at least 1,000 more Syrian refugees there in the next year in addition to the 12 families who have arrived since December, but residents are not going to be allowed to express their opinions on the matter.

Inspector Ewan Wilson from the Dunoon police department confirmed the arrest of a 41-year-old Bute native when he was reported for making an allegedly offensive comment on social media, and will be in court to answer to the charges within the month.

The Inspector told reporters, “I hope that the arrest of this individual sends a clear message that Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of activity which could incite hatred and provoke offensive comments on social media.”

A spokesperson for the department said “any harsh criticism would not be tolerated.”

The hardline is in keeping with the stance adopted by governments in Europe that limit free expression with respect to the mass migration from the Middle East that has seen millions cross onto the Continent.

Social media giants Facebook and Twitter announced they are working with German authorities to delete what they consider “hate speech” within 24-hours of its appearance in a post or tweet.

Mere comments or opinions that raise concerns about the influx of the Muslim migrants have brought visits from officials in the Netherlands eerily reminiscent of the totalitarian governments of the past, as they told one man, “You tweet a lot. We have orders to ask you to watch your tone. Your tweets may seem seditious.” 


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