Five years on from the murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris, a new trial has begun for those accused of helping the terrorists.

To honour the occasion, the satirical magazine has reprinted the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, giving two fingers to those who killed their colleagues because they were offended.

In response, French President Emmanuel Macron has come out and defended the “right to laugh”, citing Voltaire, the enlightenment advocate for free speech, and noting that the freedom to speak one’s mind is the “source of all other rights”.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, thousands have protested in what are described as “anti-France” demonstrations following condemnation of the magazine by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Read more: Stuart Waiton: Unconscious bias training threatens freedom of thought

It would appear that we have a clash of values here between those who defend tolerance and freedom, and the religious East, or at least part of the intolerant Muslim world who threaten these freedoms.

That, however, would be to ignore the fact that it is the Western elites who are leading the way in the destruction of freedom of speech and indeed our ability to laugh.

It would be interesting to know what the Scottish Government thinks of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, after all, it is they who are promoting a Hate Crime Bill that would target actors and comedians for being offensive. This comes after the now repealed Offensive Behaviour Act in Football that did what it said on the tin and criminalised offensive words, songs and chants.

Likewise, it would be interesting to find out what Sheriff Derek O’Carroll thinks of these cartoons. After all, it was he who found Mark Meechan guilty of a hate crime for making a comedy video of a Nazi saluting pug dog.

Does Nicola Sturgeon stand by Macron and believe freedom of speech is the source of all other rights? Does Humza Yousaf agree with Voltaire that satire, comedy and the freedom to laugh is vital for a civilised society? Or do they stand with Pakistan’s foreign minister to condemn those who dare to offend?

Violence comes in many forms; In Scotland we increasingly face the “violence” of an intolerant state. We are told that this form of intolerance is in fact tolerance, told that this move backwards to a pre-enlightened approach to speech is progress. Well, to use another quote from Voltaire, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.