Last month the local Cumbrian paper, the News and Star, carried an horrific story about 73-year-old burger van owner Jim Gardiner, prosecuted for a "racially aggravated public order offence", apparently after telling a customer a few of his robust opinions about Muslims.
According to the complainant - one Piers Palmer a landscape architect of Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria - Mr Gardiner had said the police should be prosecuting Muslims, not speeding drivers, and "it was the Muslims and Pakistanis in Manchester and London who were the problem, and not people like us."
The press report said his comments were interspersed with "swear words" but without giving a measure of their gravity, and the complainant described how the pensioner had then lifted some sauce bottles on his counter, pulled out some laminated sheets of paper, and handed them to him, saying: "Read this if you want to educate yourself."
Mr Gardiner also spoke about Muslim "no-go" zones in Manchester and how he believed that Muslims were taking over and that they hate Christians. He also said he believed not enough was being done to "quell" them.
Asked what he would do if a Muslim came to his burgher van, he replied: "I'd give them a bacon butty and laugh."
That all sounds quite innocuous, although he ultimately refused to serve the customer, but there were no threats of violence towards him, and whilst the Public Order Act criminalises comments which are "Threatening and Abusive" - the "Insulting" part has been removed.
In total it cost him £620 in fines and court costs!
A clue in this puzzling matter: after the case, Piers Palmer described what Jim Gardiner said that day as "hate speech" saying, "If he was willing to say that to me, a man in his mid 40s, you have to wonder about the effect on somebody more vulnerable. There should be zero tolerance of any sort of hate speech. It just breeds division - and it's absolutely counter-productive."
And that's the problem, "a man in his mid 40s" is very likely now - unlike men in previous generations - to have been softened up by the constant media brainwashing about "diversity" and the enrichment thereof, and how "racism, sexism and homophobia" are so wicked and evil.
Talk of "hate speech" - a vague and imprecise term with little or no meaning - is another clue.
General comments about groups as opposed to comments directed towards individuals can hardly be "hate", particularly when no threats of violence are made.
However this softening campaign, operating since the likes of most "men in their mid 40s" have been growing up has been successful in turning them into snowflakey 5th columnists, only too eager to run to the police when feeling "offended".
But it is not all bad news - a Christian street preacher, Andrew Frost was cleared of all charges after being falsely accused of making abusive comments towards a homosexual couple in Nottingham.
Andrew was charged under that Public Order Act "with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm and distress" (the poor dears).
Back in March, while he was preaching on the consequences of sin and quoting Luke 13:1-5 and Matthew 15:19, two men holding hands and in a homosexual relationship walked by.
The homosexuals shouted abusive comments and left, but one returned and called the police, accusing the preacher of verbal abuse and lewd comments.
A judge at Nottingham Magistrates' Court cleared Mr Frost of all wrongdoing and awarded him his legal fees.
All is not lost.
This article was first published at the Civil Liberty website.