Does Anybody Out There Still Believe in Liberty? 43

There is no doubt that New Labour gives not a fig for individual liberty, so the banning by the money-grabbing Jacqui Smith of Geert Wilders is run-of-the-mill – but it is still both wrong and dangerous, and has whipped up precisely the kind of frenzy about his Melanie Phillips like gibberings which Smith claimed to be trying to avoid.

It was equally wrong to ban Yusuf al-Qaradawi. I just heard the BBC World Service conduct some unusually good interviews with political figures, where those who opposed the banning of Wilders (eg Baroness Cox) supported the banning of al-Qaradwi, while those who opposed the banning of al-Qaradwi (eg Ken Livingstone) supported the banning of Wilders. Both sides argue, equally unconvincingly, that the man they dislike may incite to violence.

The BBC appeared unable to find any supporter of the principle of freedon of expression.

There was no reason to suppose that either Wilders or al-Qaradwi planned any unlawful activity in the UK, and had they done so they might properly have been arrested. But the gut instincts of New Labour are viciously authoritarian. Those of all views who value liberty should unite to resist them. The problem is, the number of people who really do believe in liberty for those with whom they disagree, appears to have grown exceedingly small.

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43 thoughts on “Does Anybody Out There Still Believe in Liberty?

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  • anticant

    Why should it offend you that Wilders doesn’t like foreigners in his country? Surely that’s his right, if he believes the foreigners in question are unfriendly to the type of society the indigenous population have evolved over centuries, as is the case with Muslims in Holland and in the UK too.

    There is no problem in accepting foreigners who wish to become a contributing and creative part of our society, as our history abundantly illustrates: I am the grandson of an Arab, and as English as the next person. Unfortunately, the followers of Islam are more concerned to impose their values and customs upon us than to accept ours. Wilders has as much right to dislike this as I have to be increasingly alarmed by it.

  • dean_saor

    Neil Hoskins wrote (as well as saying that he had a link to Fitna on his site):

    “Freedom of religion has to include freedom to criticise religion in general or any one religion in particular. But when adherents to a particular religion believe they should kill you if you criticise them or their deity, things are going to get ugly.

    Nu Labour has repeatedly demonstrated its determination to grant certain privileges to those who believe in God. In the case of Wilders, this privilege took the form of ensuring Muslims’ feelings weren’t hurt. The fact that they freely admitted that the action was taken because Muslims might start burning stuff and blowing things up is a dangerous precedent…”

    I’m unaware that Neo Labour has been particularly helpful to ‘religion’ as such other than by gestures to garner votes in Pakistani and Bengali heavy constituencies. It is these same people who abuse ‘religion’ as an excuse for what is little better than a culturally conditioned reaction.

    Islam has never been averse to engaging in informed discussion and accepting criticism as equals – the emphasis is on ‘informed’ and on treating each other as ‘equals’.

    Geert Wilders’s film and his outbursts are neither informed nor treat the other fellow as an equal – he is a typical bigoted rabble rouser. Even so, if someone from the Muslim communities were given equal access to Wilders to the media of mass communication it would be obvious to all just what sort of creature Wilders is.

    Much of the criticism from the Muslims is because they are denied this equal access. When he was alive (he died in 2006) the late Dr Zaki Badawi KBE was allowed to appear in print in UK broadsheets 4 times since 2001, whereas there was a procession of demagogues from Alan Dershowitz, through Bernard Lewis, to Patrick Sookhdeo and Micahel Nazir-Ally none of whom could be described as objective.

  • anticant

    If you are unaware that ‘Neo Labour’ [as you call it] has been particularly helpful to religion, you evidently haven’t been paying much attention to the onging debate concerning the appropriateness of public funding for faith schools, or to the recent laws inhibiting free speech on the dubious pretext of inciting religious hatred – which oddly enough, never seem to be applied to the Muslim preachers of hate against “infidels”, Jews, homosexuals, etc. etc.

    It’s nice to know that “Islam” [please define!] has never been averse to engaging in informed discussion and accepting criticism as equals. It’s a shame, then, that all its most vocal spokesmen persist in giving the impression that if you are not a Muslim you are not their equal.

    Tolerance is a two-way street. It has to be mutual to be meaningful. If Muslims wish to be respected and accepted in liberal Western societies they will have to understand that and act upon it.

  • lwtc247

    Wprost, publishes a ‘cartoon’ carrying the title “Stepmother of Europe” had Poland’s leaders sucking the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bare breasts was banned and a Spanish royal sex cartoon was banned, London mayor Blow Jo, and Chris Hic-chenz almost had a hernia about “interfering with UK domestic politics” when Iran criticised the Knighting of Rushdie, yet I have a funny feeling I know their stance over the Mohamad teddy-bear thing, when for some strange reason, it became a news head issue of the greatest national importance. So what you described Craig as being rather inconsistent on al-Qaradwi and Wilders isn’t surprising.

    Like all liars and rancid Islamophobes, (yes Mel, I’m not forgetting you, don’t worry) the toxic sludge he himself oozes damages his cause more than banning him.

    Banning only serves to strengthen the fascism we have today in the UK.

  • George Dutton

    “We cannot have the police making decisions about what constitutes legitimate politics in this country.”

    Private ACPO running secret police unit.

    No democratic oversight. Not even for the appearence.

    Freemasons tentatively mentioned. In effect running UK police, serving hidden masters.”

    More on this?…

    “ACPO recognised by Parliament”

  • Anas Taunton

    Immigration is one way in which colonial countries have tried to atone for their murderous, thieving, colonial pasts. Supporting faith schools is just another sneaky way for Racist Nu Labour to interfere with the teaching syllabus of Islamic schools.

    The asylum process mitigates the violence of the past, and the purpose of this in the eyes of Tony Blair was to allow us to continue the process of violent destruction in Iraq with a fig leaf of respectability.

    Having invited the foreigners into your country, it is not nice then to abuse their religion even though it is infinitely superior to yours. Mr Wilders has the same right as Tony Blair to instigate the killing of one million Iraqis and the exile of six million. Which is, who’s going to stop me from doing what we have always done before? Sir Ian McKellan once drew to public attention this extract from Shakespeare in Sir Thomas More:

    Supposing such as Wilders had attacked the foreigners living at that time in England:

    “Say now the king,

    As he is clement if th’offender mourn’

    Should so much come too short of your great trespass

    As but to banish you, whither would you go?

    What country, by the nature of your error,

    Should give you harbour? Go you to France or Flanders,

    To any German province, Spain or Portugal,

    Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England,

    Why, you must be strangers, Would you be pleased

    To find a nation of such barbarous temper

    That breaking out in hideous violence

    Would not afford you an abode on earth,

    Whet their detested knives against your throats,

    Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God

    Owed not nor made not you, nor that the elements

    Were not all appropriate to your comforts,


    The foreigners come with their own religion, so respect it and respect them.

  • Anas Taunton

    I personally listened to Sheikh Qaradawi in Regent’s Park Mosque in London. He spent a very long time urging the Muslims to abide by the letter of British Law, be good citizens and thereby demonstrate the good character of Muslims and the rightness of Islam.

    His reported extremism appeared to me a great deal more moderate than much of the rubbish coming out of the UK and US leaderships about Islam.

  • George Dutton

    Feb 15 2009

    “Body in charge of UK policing policy is now an £18m-a-year brand charging the public £70 for a 60p criminal records check”

    “Britain’s most powerful police body is being run as a private business with an annual income of around £18million.”

    “The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)”…

  • john

    It was a neat linguistic trick of the Thatcher years to change the “citizen” to the “customer” when dealing with governement bodies.

    A citizen has rights, the appellation cutomer implies (falsely) that you can take your business elsewhere while negating the relationship of voter to state.

  • Unimpressed

    Neil Hoskins comments are marred by error and deception. “Fitna” is a cut and paste job, and does NOT present Quranic verses in their entirety. Its an amateurish bit of propaganda in MEMRI style. Hoskins then makes us laugh claiming that followers of the Old Testament don’t fly planes into buildings. Really? They just live 5000 years in the past and fire missiles at Palestinian civilians, in addition to invading countries based on lies and killing innocent people hoping to steal their oil. As far as I’m concerned only an idiot would expect “moderation” from people who are being invaded, occupied and murdered.

    Wilders himself is a racist and has made no secret of his hatred, not to mention the fact that he claims to be a Mossad agent. His aim to “ban” Islam in his native Netherlands negates his hollow claim of being a champion of “freedom.”

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