Monday, November 13, 2006

Gordon Shows His True Colours

I am no fan of the BNP and find most of what they say repugnant. However, Gordon Brown has shown an extraordinary contempt for free speech in his latest comments (here). Gordon is quoted as saying "Any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country. 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, we will have to do so."

What on earth has the offence of mainstream opinion got to do with anything? The whole point of speech being free is that it should be allowed to offend. We are searching for truth, not the lowest common denomominator of offence. It is this focus on not offending people that leads to a plethora of subjects being beyond debate in the UK. This is particularly true in the current war against terror.

If we have a problem with what the BNP is saying then we should debate them and win through the strength of our arguments rather than through a banning order. Today, we are not taking on their ridiculous remarks with logic. Instead, we are in danger of turning them into martyrs for freedom.

Charles Bradlaugh, the 19th Century political activist, once said "Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race." It is about time we rekindled this spirit.

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