Who else ought to join Paul Chambers in the dock?


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The Independent Online

Paul Chambers is appealing against his conviction for sending a "message of menacing character" two years after he responded to the closure of a Liverpool airport because of snow with the tweet: "Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"

Before judgment was reserved this week, Chambers' lawyers argued that, by such legal standards for humour, "John Betjeman should have been concerned when he said 'Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!', or Shakespeare when he wrote 'Let's kill all the lawyers'." They could have gone further. Senator John McCain could have been extradited to Tehran after he sang "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" at a 2007 campaign meeting.

In 2004, The Guardian apologised after its then television columnist, Charlie Brooker, effectively, if jokingly, called for the assassination of President George W Bush.

Similarly, Groucho Marx said in 1971: "I think the only hope this country has is Nixon's assassination." Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand sang in "This Fire" in 2004: "This fire is outta control, I'm gonna burn this city, burn this city." The late US comedian George Carlin once said: You can't fight city hall, but you can goddamn sure blow it up."

We could go on. Let's bang them all up! (That's a joke).