Former Justice Secretary and proud Remainer David Gauke is a lawyer by profession. He, of all people, should know that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. And yet Gauke has supported the Hilary Benn bill to prevent the UK leaving the failing EU under WTO rules on October 31 and wishes to delay Brexit (‘The law is clear that he has to seek an extension’, Watford Observer, September 20). The establishment, in collusion with Brussels, has been trying to delay justice, maximise doubt, discourage the UK’s business community and trash the economy as a lesson to voters never to defy Parliament’s Remainers and their Brussels masters again.

On the subject of free-speech, David Gauke, who it should be remembered is a lawyer, had his colleague patiently explain to me the subtle difference between free-speech and ‘free speech - as long as it doesn’t cause offence’! My reply (21 March 2019):

“Dear David,

“I wrote to you and to Richard Harrington, my local MP, with whom I have had meetings, on the subject of free speech. I left you both with a specific question concerning the subjective and arbitrarily applied Hate Speech Law that we currently have in the UK. You have declined to answer.

“The last time speech was politicised, purged and policed was during Germany’s Weimar Republic. Then, as now, certain types of politicised speech were encouraged, certain types banned - largely arbitrarily. Citizens became easily indoctrinated and encouraged to perform cruel and violent acts against their fellow man. Then, as now, human language was believed to be innate, an instinct, that carried the ‘spirit of a race’. But human language is not an instinct; it is our tool of thought. Language is volitional. It facilitates free will.

“Many students of history and serious commentators believe that policing in the UK is becoming dangerously partial and subjective - and that the law both permits and actively encourages this. Indeed, the world is watching the serious deterioration in freedom of speech in the UK. This country gave freedom of speech and the impartial rule of law to the world. Freedom of speech and thought ensures that societies do not become violent, hence the First Amendment of the American Constitution. Would-be ‘utopians’ wishing to influence, predict and control societies always produce dystopias, as you probably know.”

Both Gauke and Harrington declined to reply.

As Enlightenment philosopher John Locke argued in his Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), “Coercion in matters of conscience can undercut the moral legitimacy of the oppressor’s cause. One must be free to decide; otherwise the decision is not ethical at all but simply a matter of submission as a way to avoid punishment.”

It seems to me that our elected representatives have ditched persuasion and are increasingly relying on coercion to get their own way.

Prof. Christine Wheeler McNulty