R Kelly must die
Therapeutic value aside, the reason I'm going on about this little bit of apparent irrelevance is that every so often we wonder about the legality of it all - how easy would it be for us to fall foul of the Terrorism Act? Obviously, for practical purposes, it's pretty unlikely - any idiot should be able to tell that these are basically the angry rantings of a bunch of perpetual children who pose about absolutely no threat to the security of Great Britain. I very much doubt the Crown Prosecution Service would want to bet otherwise.
So what the fuck is going on with Samina Malik, who as far as I can tell, has been convicted for doing pretty much exactly the same thing? This is the girl who wrote all the (bad) poems about beheading and downloaded a couple of Anarchist's Cookbook style pdf.s. The only difference between her case and ours is that we're old and supposedly educated enough to know better. Oh, and she's a bit Islamic.
So it's a pretty vicious incursion on freedom of expression, and a racist one at that. Even if there was any plausible reason for the prosecution, this would be worrying. But the really scary thing is what it shows us about how the Terrorism Act is being used. Her supposed offence is "collecting information, without reasonable excuse, of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" (not the poems). Now I've always thought that this was a pretty stupid law, but I do seem to remember that the justification for it when it was passed was that it was a good way to nip a potential atrocity in the bud - if you found people who were actually making serious plans to blow shit up (or whatever), then you could prosecute on the basis of that evidence far more easily. Put another way, it was billed as a way of lowering the bar for convictions of those conspiring to commit or to assist in acts of mass murder.
This whole Malik case seems to me to show that we're some way beyond that now: I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who finds all the supposedly shocking details of her dalliance with terrorist chic to be striking evidence that the only person she could possibly have posed a threat to was herself: anyone who announces their passion for watching beheading videos on a social networking site is not a criminal mastermind, folks.