Friday, September 21, 2007

What's good for the goose

Free speech is a bit of an issue right now. I've been glad to support a left wing blogger and a conspiracy theorist whose blogs have been forced offline by an Uzbeck billionaire, although I disagree with a lot of the things they have written in the past. They have an absolute right to free speech. Agreement isn't the point.

Or is it? There's a campaign to stop David Irving speaking to the BNP in Coventry this evening. These people have as much right to free speech as Tim Ireland and Craig Murray.

Bloggers who have supported this attempt at offline censorship should be ashamed of themselves.

UPDATE: Banning speech (and burning books, for that matter) is generally the province of the unholy trinity of national socialism, international socialism and clerical fascism. It's strange to see it being advocated by the right. Here's what it normally looks like.

UPDATE: Dizzy is arguing that he supported the anti-BNP protest to register disapproval of the BNP without supporting the aims of its organisers, which were to prevent the BNP/Irving meeting. That seems a bit tortuous to me, but I'm pulling it onto the front page here so it is plain he disavows the banning of speech. Read the comments of this post and the one on his blog if you're interested in the occasionally profane detail.

14 comments:

dizzy said...

What complete fucking bullshit. I am NOT supporting offline censorship of the BNP. Utter fucking crap.

Peter Risdon said...

I showed in the comments of Dizzy's blog that the protest he supported was organised by a group called Stop the BNP, who boast of having caused appearances to be cancelled and who encouraged people to challenge the venue for allowing the BNP to hire it. They do seek to deny speech to the BNP and Irving, and in this case in Coventry they seem to have succeeded. Read the details in full in the comments here.

dizzy said...

You have linked to me starting that I am part of a campaign to stop David Irving speaking in Coventry. That is simply not true. I said I supported a protest outside the event. If some of those protester which to go further than that is their bag, and they would be wrong to do so. However, what would be also wrong would to make the implication, as you have, that I am guilty by association even if I only support a protest.

You have asked why is wore on your blog over at mine? Well it;s pretty simple, you've just accused me of something I have not done. You have read what I;ve said and assumed that I was calling for things that I did not call for and would not call for. And then you've made guilt by association links between my support for a protest, and other support to restrict the event occuring at all.

There is no contradiction between free speech and protesting against the BNP, or Respect, or Trots, or whoever. The very expression of protest is a free speech matter instead, and the only way to win the argument with those people is to take them on, not close them down.

But to say I should be ashmed of myself for it is, as I said, bollocks.

dizzy said...

I showed in the comments of Dizzy's blog that the protest he supported was organised by a group called Stop the BNP, who boast of having caused appearances to be cancelled and who encouraged people to challenge the venue for allowing the BNP to hire it.

Therefore, according to you, if I support a protest they organise, I must therefore be supporting everything they do. I cannot support the protest for my own reason... oh no> The ad hominen circumstantial is far easier.

Peter Risdon said...

You support a protest, but not the aims of its organisers?

For God's sake. I've got better things to do.

dizzy said...

Hahah love the update. Now I am "Banning speech". What utter nonsense.

dizzy said...

I support UKIP's protests and calls for a refrendum on the EU Constitution, but I do not support UKIP. Not that difficult.

Peter Risdon said...

The analogy would then be that you support Searchlight's wish to stop the BNP meeting (a limited subset of their aims) but do not support Searchlight. That's not what you mean. It's a mistake to be patronising under these circumstances.

The stated aim of this protest was to prevent the meeting taking place, because that's what Searchlight want with every BNP event. They're fighting trench warfare and have no interest in principles of free expression.

Know what I think? That you didn't check, didn't see who was organising the protest, didn't look up their aims and so didn't realise they were book burners when you first posted, and that the rest of this has been a fog machine.

Matt Wardman said...

I think you are calling this one wrong Peter.

The BNP are free to book halls.

The owners of halls are free to cancel meetings when they have been lied to.

As I see it - end of argument.

Peter Risdon said...

That's disingenuous, Matt. The BNP are not free to book halls - protests make the hall owners opt for a quiet life. That's why they tried to use a false name.

Bloody hell. I never thought I'd be defending the BNP. Time for a shower.

David B. Wildgoose said...

The BNP are the democratic safety valve in action. There is a lot of anger and frustration out there, and the BNP provide a democratic outlet for something that could otherwise turn nastier.

"Anti-fascist" fascists like Searchlight are just trying to make things worse and to force violent confrontation. They can't take the BNP on in open debate, and so they're trying to close them down. At least, that's what it looks like to me. Because surely if they could answer their arguments they'd be willing to debate openly with them?

And like you Peter, I object to being forced to defend the BNP.

Matt Wardman said...

>That's disingenuous, Matt.

Disagree.

>The BNP are not free to book halls -

Yes they are.

>protests make the hall owners opt for a quiet life.

Why is a blogger called "Free Born John" attempting to tell people what they can and can't do with their halls?

>That's why they tried to use a false name.

That may be so - but there is a balance here. I think we are just differing over where that lies.

Matt

Bloody hell. I never thought I'd be defending the BNP. Time for a shower.

Peter Risdon said...

Why is a blogger called "Free Born John" attempting to tell people what they can and can't do with their halls?

Eh?

That's an observation, not an instruction (and my name is visible at the foot of each post).

That may be so

Quite.

Matt Wardman said...

>Why is a blogger called "Free Born John" attempting to tell people what they can and can't do with their halls?

>Eh?

>That's an observation, not an instruction

It is a plank in your argument that cuts across the principle that you have chosen to emphasise in your brand.

It seems quite clear that if they can't even book a hall, then they have some way to go before their argument becomes credible.

As per your argument on (I think) Dizzy's blog, there are plenty of ways for the BNP to express their view without this particular meeting - such as their (various) website, including the ones that pretend not to be produced by the BNP.

>(and my name is v
visible at the foot of each post).

Consider the "-ger" deleted.

OK - I'm done on this thread.