Friday, November 10, 2006

Change the Law

In response to the acquittal of the BNP leader Nick Griffin, Gordon Brown, Prime Minister in waiting, said:

I think any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country.

And I think we have got to do whatever we can to root it out from whatever quarter it comes.

And if that means we have got to look at the laws again I think we will have to do so.
So far as I can make out, Griffin and his co-accused argued they were not guilty of inciting racial hatred because they were speaking specifically about Muslims, not Hindus, and so there was no racial component in their words. Brown implies this means we need to extend the protection afforded to races to religions.

In fact, we need to remove it from races. This is very simple indeed. The only valid restrictions in this area concern treason and incitement to violence and in either case, words are not the issue. National security and violence, respectively, are.

The United States of America enjoys a constitutional protection for free speech, and has also enjoyed a renaissance in racial relations over the past half century. Imperfect though this still is, it was not the consequence of laws that could potentially be abused by maniacs like Yvonne Ridley who, after the bill to introduce a law against incitement to religious hatred fell tried to use the race laws to protect her vile political opinions, saying "my religion is my race, and insulting my religion is racism". In fact, her religion is an intrinsic part of her political platform and if we can't criticise that, even in ways she feels are insulting, then we have lost democracy.

White Aryan Resistance seem the losers and cretins they are, while Martin Luther King stands as an example of dignified humanity for us all, of every colour. That is how arguments are won, that is the proper battleground of ideas. If anyone believes that when a court finds someone not guilty, even if it finds the accused repellent, because they find the evidence does not justify a conviction, this is anything other than a vindication of our legal system, they do not deserve to be in public life.

The BNP people were brought to trial, as my earlier post suggests, for political reasons. When politicians can convict people they find convenient to scapegoat, we will be in a Kafkaesque situation. To suggest that the law should be changed to facilitate this is a disgrace.

And our kleptocratic, rancid, failing Chancellor is a disgrace.


CarnackiUK said...

Sounds like the 2nd Annual March for Free Expression will be sorely needed come 2007. Perhaps on the anniversary of the 1st?

Anonymous said...

America has a history of slavery, lynchings, racial killings and violence up to this day, so it's ridiculous to try and even draw some sort of comparison to say that they don't have problems. The only thing that can be said of the US is that (a) white people are recent immigrants as well as the ethnics so you'll hear less of the 'if you don't like our customs, fuck off back to Saudi Arabia' like you do here and (b) people are more religious in the US, so they are more sensitive to Muslim religious and cultural customs, unlike in Europe.

And you'd like to see protection under race, removed right? Then you'd like to see the situation where the definition of race is removed from Jews, who are protected as a race under the law. Then perhaps the very same people who keep on crying 'free speech' when they slag off Muslims will be prepared to defend the same right to 'free speech' when some Muslims go on about blood-sucking, penny-piching, devious and whingeing Jews. Free speech, right? We've seen where that sort of talk leads to, and it's not a battleground of ideas.

The BNP were brought to trial for political reasons, the same way that many Muslims are today. In the BNP's case, they got off because an all-white jury in Leeds has the same anti-islamic prejudices as the rest of the population. The same sort of jury convicted a Muslim protestor of inciting racial hatred even though he only made a reference of British troops, who are not a race or a religion.

People who go on about liberty are looking for a licence.

Peter Risdon said...

GayJihadi... what a strange comment.

I didn't suggest America has no problems, I said they have "enjoyed a renaissance in racial relations... Imperfect though this still is". Do you dispute that?

You DO hear "if you don't like our customs, fuck off..." in the USA (and in Australia, for that matter - another country where whites are also recent immigrants). In the USA there have also been calls for the introduction of internment for radical Muslims, but not here.

The MAIN criticism you hear of Europe from the USA is that we are "Dhimmis". A repeating headline at littlegreenfootballs is "Britain has a problem". They speak of Eurabia. They criticise us for being TOO tolerant and accomodating of Muslim religious and cultural customs.

Yes, of course I would also remove the protection currently enjoyed by Jews. Yes, of course I include the right of Muslims to spout hate-filled gibberish under the banner of free speech.

Active fascist movements, such as Nazism and radical Islamism, lead to persecution of people, not free speech. Both these movements specifically attack free speech, as does Communism - the greatest single source of violent death the world has ever seen, by a very long way.

Muslims in Britain today enjoy special treatment and privileges, not persecution. Arrests are suspended over Ramadam (never over Christmas for Christians), police officers searching premises remove shoes, treat Korans specially; there are prior consultations with "community leaders". NO equivalent procedures operate for ANY other group of people.

The BNP prosecution was politically motivated, as I showed in an earlier post. You cannot see past your racial and religious prejudices to notice that the acquittals were because the accused were NOT guilty of the accusations, under the law (which is why the politicians who are hounding them for POLITICAL reasons now want to change the law).

I agree that the verdict in the case of the Islamofascist was perverse. He wasn't inciting racial hatred - the hatred he incited was much broader than that, but this should not be an offence anyway. He was, however, inciting violence - and there's been no suggestion that the BNP people were doing that. The Islamofascist should have been convicted for incitement of violence and should now be in jail.

You are incorrect about libertarians. They seek liberty, period. That DOES include your freedom to, for example, make racist comments on this or any other blog (as you did a week or two ago).

Your comment is just an example of the kind of self-pitying paranoia one finds so often amongst radical Muslims. This is a shame. You're obviously someone with whom a dialogue could develop, but until you start addressing what is actually said, rather than what your reflexive stereotying tells you was meant, this can't make much progress.

Anonymous said...

It's complete nonsense to say that the BNP got off because they were not guilty under the law. It is not as simple as that, which is why you have a jury. As it turned out, it was obvious that the prejudices of white people now do manifest themselves when people like Nick Griffin (whose colleagues openly boasted of wanting to machine gun Muslims coming out of their mosques, and whose members have been found harbouring chemical explosives) get off scott free. I don't think that this would have happened a few years back. White extremist ideology is becoming the norm.

And you say that you're for free speech but then say that people should be convicted for inciting hatred, which means that you want to limit free speech. The laws that limit unadulterated free speech - like the defamation laws and laws against hatred - are there for a reason, not because someone doesn't want you to have the luxury of having a 'debate' at the expense of other people, which in itself can lead to hatred.

Peter Risdon said...

Juries can go against the law, it's true. This can be a good thing, as in the Ponting affair, and one sad case in which the jury refused to convict a man whose son was killed by a driver, who laughed as he watched the child get dragged under his wheels, then when the father went after the driver with a shotgun and was unable to bring himself to shoot, the driver dragged his girlfriend in front of the gun. But in the case of the BNP - who I emphasise, in case you were unaware of this, I completely despise - I think it was because they were not guilty as charged.

We have juries so the police and judges don't just get together over a case and wrap it up to their mutual convenience. In fact, it's more interesting than that... Juries developed in the twelfth century as a way of helping a King's justice on tour understand how things were handled locally. Then appeals to the King's Bench brought about, gradually, the law of tort - literally "wrong" - where a central court adjudicated on principles of justice.

Yes, members of the BNP were filmed saying they wanted to machine gun people coming out of a mosque. I've no idea why they weren't jailed for this, but perhaps because there was no possibility at all of them doing it. The laws of conspiracy and incitement have this kind of test: there has to be genuine conspiracy, not hot-headed and empty threats.

Let's be in no doubt here: jihadists have genuinely conspired to commit violence. So have some members of the far right. Where that's the case, they should be prosecuted and convicted.

Where did I say I think people should be convicted for inciting hatred? I actually said "Yes, of course I would also remove the protection currently enjoyed by Jews. Yes, of course I include the right of Muslims to spout hate-filled gibberish under the banner of free speech." If I need to be more clear about this I will be: I do NOT think people should be convicted for inciting hatred. I DO think they should be convicted for inciting violence - but only because of the violence.

Defamation laws are not about freedopm of speech, they are about, well, defamation. They give redress to people who have been slandered. Having said that, I disapprove of them as they presently operate in this country. They have been used by scoundrels like Robert Maxwell to supress valid criticism and they are closed to people of limited means. No legal aid is available for libel prosecutions.

Hatred exists, Jihadi. It exists whatever the law says. If people can't talk about "Pakis" they'll talk about "our coloured brethren". The code words mutate and stay a step ahead of the law.

The only thing that breaks down prejudice is time, and it does. Anglo Saxon Eastenders, the children and grandchildren of Jew-haters, sit with Jewish Eastenders on the balconies of their council flats and complain to each other about the Somalis. In a generation, the Somalis will have joined them, and they'll all be complaining about whoever it is then.

In all this, we need to distinguish between hate-filled fascists, and ordinary people who are slow to adapt and dislike change.

Laws that limit free speech are there for other reasons. They are often, at first sight, good reasons. But they have malevolent effects and must be opposed.