There's a sizzling piece by Mark Steyn in the current issue of National Review, which reveals quite how far democracies have gone in restricting free speech.
Citing, among many, the example of a musician on the Isle of Wight who was charged with racism after performing Kung Fu Fighting in the hearing of a Chinese couple, he makes the point that it is no longer possible to infer the legal status of words from the words themselves:
“There were funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown” is legal or illegal according to whosoever happens to hear it. Indeed, in my very favorite example of this kind of thinking, the very same words can be proof of two entirely different hate crimes. Iqbal Sacranie is a Muslim of such exemplary moderation he’s been knighted by the Queen. The head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal was interviewed on the BBC and expressed the view that homosexuality was “immoral,” was “not acceptable,” “spreads disease,” and “damaged the very foundations of society.” A gay group complained and Sir Iqbal was investigated by Scotland Yard’s “community safety unit” for “hate crimes” and “homophobia.”