Sunday, 25 April 2010

Harry Taylor, Harry Taylor, Taylor Taylor, Harry Harry

A while back I posted on Harry Taylor, a joker who taped religious cartoons from Private Eye on the walls of the ‘prayer room’ at John Lennon Airport.
Harry so upset the hyper-sensitive zombie worshipper who minds this slur on Lennon’s name that he ended up in court, on three charges of ‘causing religiously aggravated harassment.’ I think that might be ‘talking sense to spookchasers’ to the rest of us.
After just 15 minutes ‘deliberation’, a loaded jury (all swore on the Bible, so hardly tried by his peers as the law demands) found him guilty. And yesterday sentence was passed - or at least, some prat in a silly wig got malevolent.
Harry got a suspended six month prison sentence for two years, a five year ASBO, an order to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and £250 costs.
You can read a local report at to find out more.
Terry Sanderson, from the National Secular Society, was quick to explain why this misjudgement sends us back to the Stone Age and sets yet another dangerous precedent when he commented:
"The six month sentence may have been suspended, but it is still totally out of proportion for what Mr Taylor did. The professional 'offence takers' in religious communities will now feel that they have a strong weapon to use against anyone who is critical or disapproving of them. It is, in effect, a blasphemy law that covers all religions and is much more powerful than the one which was abolished two years ago."
But I’m also intrigued in the report that the judge:
“… imposed the Asbo, which bans Taylor from carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.”
Now, for one thing, if he’s saying Harry shouldn’t walk about with a Koran or a Bible that might be a relief. In fact, can we demand that Asbos are passed immediately on all the wild-eyed lunatics who, for example, tried to drown each other on Peel Beach at Easter?
For another, how does material from a magazine on open sale at one place in the airport miraculously become ‘offensive’ when it is read in a hang-out for the superstitious elsewhere in the building. That sounds barmier than transubstantiation.
And is this really a victory for the Deluded Herd, and their continued demands for the ‘right’ to a privileged existence which no-one else may mock or question? Do all religions have the right to express themselves in a public place anyway?
Tell you what, let’s test that fantasy.
Imagine a bunch of saffron robed, tambourine-bashing folk with funny haircuts turn up at John Lennon Airport and start dancing around singing the following catchy ditty:

Harry Taylor, Harry Taylor,
Taylor Taylor,
Harry, Harry.

Nope? Thought not!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I attended the sentencing hearing at Liverpool Crown Court. See my opinion pieces on my own blog before and after.

Mr Taylor seemed like a perfectly rational individual who wanted to make a point. I seriously doubt whether he would have been punished so severely if he had left caricatures of Gordon Brown at Labour Party offices across the country.