It was reported this week that a council erected 'graffiti wall' had been defaced by an angry resident who, before the official unveiling, sneaked in and wrote on the wall, "I paid my taxes and all i got was this lousy wall".
The wall is said to have cost £3000, and although much of the money was provided by local businesses, I think there is more at stake here than the expenditure of public money alone. The policeman in charge said, "The ironic thing is that it has been built thanks to the generosity of local people giving time and resources for free. But it is now going to cost the taxpayer, as we will have to investigate it and paint over it."
No, Sgt Moorcroft, the ironic thing is that you built a wall for people to express themselves freely on and then have decided that they can only express themselves when they're saying nice things about your pet project.
This, in my opinion, is the worst kind of hypocrisy. Why on earth are the police busy tying themselves up in red tape over a 'crime' that never was? Are the fair vistas of Wadebridge, Cornwall, so idyllic that there is no real crime for the police to investigate?
Freedom of speech means we let people say what they wish, especially when it might be difficult to hear. Even if most of the money for this wall came from private donations, the point is that SOME money came from taxpayers, SOMEONE whose salary is paid by the taxpayer spent time working on it, and it was put in a public park. So my disgruntled friend has every right to say what he thinks. Just because he is more likely to be wearing a cardigan than a hoody, it doesn't mean his opinions are any less valid.