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Thursday, 23 March 2006


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Couldn't agree with you more. However I won't be making the trip. I've been sorely let down by this.

Thanks, 'Jew90', I took the liberty of responding over at your place.

Other readers might care to take a look at 'Jew90's' site which, at a quick glance, seems to be worth reading and following:

Peter Ridson simply wants to prevent the rally being turned into an anti-Muslim hate-fest. What's wrong with that?

Of course the far-right should be allowed to express their vile lies. But it doesn't follow that a rally which is supposedly about something much broader is the right place for them to do that.

Larry, Larry, Larry ... I despair of you sometimes! I don't quite know why (given some of your writings) but I'm pretty sure you're a very bright young man - and I'm not patronising you, I'm actually rather envious of both your youth and your expertise - but sometimes you're as thick as six short Ghurkhas! The demo is supposed to be in support of *free expression* within the law. If you start picking and choosing exactly which expressions you will allow, it is no longer in support of *free* expression. Isn't that what you mathematical logicians call a 'reductio ad absurdum' and what the likes of me call 'a load of bollocks'?

Allow me to sit back and laugh at this one.

Two things.

I suppose I largely believe that in a state of nature, we're free. Lack of freedom comes from specific laws. It's perfectly sensible to protest these. (Some examples, you may regard laws prohibiting driving your car above certain speeds a silly restriction on your freedom; or laws forbidding you to smoke where you choose.) But I think it's silly to protest in favour of more freedom. All you can ask is that restrictions be lifted, and you have to be clear which. It's worth making it clear to the government that there is anti-censorship pressure as well as pro-censorship pressure, but the defenders of the status quo are less vocal because it is, after all, the status quo. If the government tabled a bill which would make publication of the cartoons a crime, I'd march. Until then, I don't care.

I also think it's plain daft to march against situations in other countries. Boycotts may have some effect, but demonstrations are merely ego-stroking. I think the governments in Belarus and Zimbabwe are absolutely appalling, but I know they don't care how many people march against them thousands of miles away. Why should they? I'm not bothered when people in the Middle East march against the US and Britain. The march tomorrow is an exercise in vanity, but for one thing: some bright spark has invited both the BNP and the MCB. Well, if it makes the news, it'll be for all the wrong reasons.

Well David, first, the cartoons are not being banned. All that is happening is that the people organising the march are encouraging folks not to bring them.

If you were organising some sort of gathering, and you got wind of the fact that thousands of people were planning to show up with placards reading "nig-nogs should get back on the banana boat", you'd probably ask them not to too.

However wear a t-shirt depicting the cartoons if you wish - you won't be sent to prison.

The thing is there is a balance to be struck, (and I'm genuinely uncertain where to draw the line): the right to free speech, yes; but there is no right to a platform.

Well at least this has helped me make my mind up about what I’m going to wear tomorrow: -

Son of Duff

P. S. Pater, has your theatre society got one in the stores? The local joke shop is out of stock.

The thing that really puzzles me is the oft-repeated statement that things/cartoons/books/sayings/nativity settings should be banned because they might offend someone.

Has this "someone" ever stood forward and actually claimed to be offended, excepting the credulous morons claiming their islamic religion had been smeared by a collection of drawings?

Hi David. Hope you have fun at the BNP shindig this afternoon. Say hi to the racists for me, will you?


Thank you, Kenneth, if I had seen any racists I would certainly have passed on your greetings. I'm sorry the trouble with your eye-sight and hearing has still not cleared up - bloody NHS and all that - so that you were unable to either see or hear that the BNP had nothing to do with organising the event. Not, I suppose, that it would have made much difference because your pitiable brain damage is obviously irreversible. Who did you get to type your comment?

I see it was a big success. Thank you for saving our freedom of speech, David.

Can you see yourself here?

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