Dennis makes a good point about the Geert Wilders ban. As soon as “hate” becomes illegal, as it is in Britain, liberty doesn’t stand much of a chance.
But Wilders is a vulgar and nasty hate-merchant. I object to him being refused entry to the UK about as much as I oppose a bar refusing entry to a loud and rude drunk. (My opinion is not worth much, but this is what blogging is all about, right?)
What about free speech? Forget it. Britain has, since even before its inception, been a master of silencing dissent while posing as a bastion of freedom. In New Labour UK, police have been locking up and kicking out Muslims — often British citizens, unlike Wilders – who preach “hate” for some time now, and not all of them have been directly inciting violence.
The most convincing argument against the Wilders ban, surprisingly, is the one made by George Osborne, who said: “My personal view is by banning him [Wilders] in such a public way, he has been given far more publicity than would have been the case. I am not sure how thought-through this really was.”
Osborne has been attacked on the Right for not going far enough, but his tone is moderate and his language fair, which is more than can be said for the red-faced blustering of the Daily Telegraph. It is true that “Fitna”, Wilders’ petty-minded hate film, which can be watched on line, has been viewed far more in the last two days than if the Dutchman had been allowed to show his terror-porn in the House of Lords.
So when Wilders’ says that it’s a “sad day” for British democracy what he really means is that it’s a great day for Gert Wilders. And nobody wants that.