The news today is that Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP party, and crony were aquited of inciting ratial hatred. Now on the face of it, this is a bad thing. The guy is obviously a bit of a scum bag and if you heard the speech in question, which was recorded undercover by the BBC shooting an investigative documentary and then subsequently handed to the police, you'd be pretty offended. However if there's one thing I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with in Britain is the that red-top dominated policy of stepping out to ban something you don't like.
This is dangerous and if you go down that road, you end up having a deeply unhealthy regulated society. What I'm talking about here is the fact that this guy is a bit of a loon and I think you'd have to trawl the trailer parks of Bradford to find anyone who agrees with this prick, but what he did was actually criticise Islam. What he did not say was "death to the pakkis" or anything else which would have been clearly actionable under the intent of inciting religious hatred or other crimes. What he did actually say from my recollection of the programme, distastful as it was, ought not to be illegal.
This multicultural, bipartisan, politically correct, liberal softy bullshit approach is wholly incorrect and it disgusts me that the BBC subsequently shoving a camera in front of Gordon Brown today filmed his response to the aquittal as saying that he thought they needed to be looking at changing the law. Words (momentarily) fail me. If they change the law to a situation where these men would have been convicted then it would then become illegal to criticise a religion. That, I submit, is a step back towards the dark ages.
It ought to be our goddamn right to be able to criticise Islam, which is what Griffin was doing, or indeed any other religion, body, whatever. Are we so insecure that we need to ban these views? This is absurd. This is the kind of loony tunes stuff that Islamic radicals demand when they don't like something.
However, outside of the Islamic community and their well demonstrated refusal to deal with their own fire-brand extremists, we have a laudible track record of confronting extreme views. This is where the BBC comes in. These exposed the unsanitised back-room views of these men, outted them before millions and we were all stunned and I'm sure at least some of the BNP's moderate(ish) supporter of the BNP might have been shellshocked into reevaluating their position.
I'd just like you to consider the above paragraph for a moment. Consider that if we can take Gordon Brown's comments at face value, if we can expect laws to be introduced to convict Nick Griffin of what was said then I could very well be prosecuted for saying the above because I singled out a religion for criticism.
I fully except that the dear concept of free speech is no justification for preaching of hatred and incitement to violence against individuals and groups of people whoever they are. What I submit is that we're losing sight of the value of proper free speech. Finding intellectual ideas distasteful is not a reason to make them illegal. Unfortunately in the new age of the red-top nanny state, it may be all about to change.
There's a world of difference from some fire brand loon standing on the sidewalk preaching racial hatred and someone criticising Islam. The difference is blatantly clear to me but unsurprisingly not clear to the famously lefty liberal BBC, nor to the crown prosecution service it would seem.
This guy is a fringe nutjob which, if anything, has provided a valid target for anti-racist activists. This court case has done nothing but drum up awareness of the BNP and inevitably, in court, common sense prevailed on the state of the laws today and he and his impressionable oik clinger-on was aquitted. Wasting tax payers money in the process and providing new political capital to the BNP allowing them to punch in an altogether difference class than the shady little building-site demountable where the original grainy vid was doubtless shot.