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I read this today. Check it out: this guy was talking to three policemen in Edinburgh. He told them to fuck off.

Now, based on a quick analysis from what I know of policemen (and a personality analysis of the only policeman I know well), I would think that in most countries, this person would have had the living crap beaten out of him, then charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. Well, in the lovely highland country of Scotland, he was indeed charged with something on the lines of obstruction of justice. In most countries, including Scotland, you are not allowed to insult policemen.

Well, the courts decided that "fuck off" has become a part of normal conversation, and that it isn't an insult. It didn't happen during a chase or attempted arrest or anything of the sort. No siree (or should that be: "och, lad"), it happened during polite conversation. And the man contended that hey, everyone says fuck off, it's not an insult. And the court agreed.

So next time you're in Scotland, feel free to go up to a policeman, and tell him to do whatever you want with whichever farm animal you wish. As long as it's during polite conversation, that's okay by Scottish law.

The scottish court could not find the man guilty of anything, as he merely told the Policemen to "Fuck Off" whch the court, quite rightly decreed was in "the language of his time" Had the gentleman shouted the insult he would have effectively breached the peace and would have been had up for that. If you have ever been to Scotland, you will have little choice but to agree with the court. Without disrespect to the Scots, the general language on the street is very coarse, and this no doubt stems from their heroic and bloody past, more recently the bleakness of the industries that have made scotland what it is today.

The Law in Scotland differs a great deal to those we are accustomed to. Take this example, that I heared on the radio on my way to work. In a recent trial a man was found innocent of raping a woman, even though the evidence of her objection to sex was overwhelming, and sustained by the court. Rather harshly the judge said that by no means should it be considered that by merely not consenting to sex should it be considered rape. It seems that a physical struggle to deter the violation is what would constitute rape. When you consider that in America maybe (I am not 100% certain), and definitely England, to say no to sex is enough to make it rape.

"In most countries, this person would have had the living crap beaten out of him, then charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest."

I couldn't agree more. What has the world come to when a police officer can't abuse unarmed civilians?

In the Real World©, policemen don't have a *RIGHT* to beat civilians up if they don't like their attitude. This would apply to most non-totalitarian countries.

Plus, I'd say, too, that in Scotland, "fuck off" is not an insult.

I stayed with a friend in Scotland a few months ago. The first morning of my visit, his alarm clock went off pretty early. I got up and started eating breakfast. After 20 minutes I got back to his room and told him to get up too. He mumbled something I didn't catch, and then he calmly said "fuck off". I didn't take offense back then, because I know him. He'd curse at least once every ten seconds my whole visit. God, I miss him. =) People like him seem to be common there, at least in the part of Scotland where I was staying.

Coarse language is an important part of their culture, just like policemen assaulting people they don't like is an important part of yours.

In fact, "Fuck off" is not an insult anywhere. It's an obscenity, but it doesn't fulfil the criteria for an insult, in that it does not denigrate the person of the hearer in any way.

"Wanker" is an insult. "Bastard" is an insult. "Your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries" is an insult.

"Fuck off" is an instruction.

So let me get this straight:

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!

In fact the term fuck off can mean lots of different things depending on context and intonation:

  • No (probably the commonest use where I live)
  • You're having me on
  • Please leave

Of course there is a big difference between being told to "fuck off", and just being told "fuck off".

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