Like a slushy to the sacrum
Apparently the Guardian newspaper actually took the Treason Felony Act to the law lords in 2001:
Lord Steyn explained: "The part of section 3 of the 1848 Act which appears to criminalise the advocacy of republicanism is a relic of a bygone age, and does not fit into the fabric of our modern legal system. The idea that s3 could survive scrutiny under the Human Rights Act is unreal."
Which is great until you realise that earlier this year the Conservative Party was preparing to replace the HRA with a new law which would have made it “more difficult for human rights to be enforced in UK law both by marginalising the domestic influence of the ECtHR and by limiting the capacity of domestic courts to uphold Convention rights.”
And that their tendency to this point has been to reduce scrutiny of government and diminish the right to protest in various forms.
So now if you hold up a blank placard on which you might in future write an anti-Monarchy slogan, a police officer will apparently approach you and warn you that if you do he’ll have to arrest you in case it offends somebody. Not so much the return of lèse majesté as the creation of lèse personne - by a party which trumpets its allegiance to free speech.
Incidentally: Voltaire never said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That was a pithy summary of his attitude framed by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
“Far away from me friends and relations, betrayed by the Black Velvet Band.” But hopefully not.