Combative, provocative and engaging live debate examining the moral issues behind one of the week's…
Listen now 45 mins
Don't take offence, but this week the Moral Maze is talking about the f-word. A 20 year old man has had his conviction for repeatedly swearing at police officers quashed. A High Court judge decided that use of the f- word is now so commonplace that, in the rather quaint legal definition, it could not cause "harassment, alarm or distress" to those who heard it. Is he right? Should we all be a bit more thick skinned about this? How many of us still reach for the smelling salts when we overhear bad language on the street or in the media? The sight of an 89 year old Baroness caught, on the floor of the House of Lords, flashing a V-sign at a fellow peer of the realm, may have raised eyebrows but there's a serious issue here. Are we allowing a coarsening of society and a debasing of the standards that underpin a civil society? Have we become too tolerant of this kind of thing, or just more censorious? How should we define what language or behaviour is offensive and should it always be in the eye of the beholder? FIFA president Sepp Blatter may have been naïve about the problem of racism in football, but how many of us, in the heat of the moment, haven't said something we regret and which would be best dealt with immediately with a face to face apology rather than in the court? Much of what passed for humour in the 1970's would now probably be regarded as "hate speech" and end up with a criminal charge of racism. Has this made us a more tolerant society or a society that is less willing to tolerate?
Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk with Claire Fox, Melanie Phillips, Michael Portillo and Matthew Taylor.
Dr Stuart Waiton - Lecturer in Criminology at Abertay University in Dundee, and co-founder of the group Take a Liberty (Scotland)
Jack Gardener - Founder Room 7 cards
Vivien Patterson - Mediawatch-uk
Mary Ann Sieghart - Journalist and patron of the National Campaign for Courtesy.
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