Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Jacqui Smith...kind of like Stalin
Guardian - The Home Office 'banned' list has no place in UK law
Dyab Abou Jahjah, a founder of the Arab European League, came to London from Belgium at the end of March to address a Stop The War Coalition meeting, alongside, among others, Hezbollah MP Hussein El-Hajj Hassan.
He left the UK after the meeting, with the intention of returning on Friday. Except, when Friday came, he found he was barred from entering Britain, and was sent back to Antwerp.
Abou Jahjah can be an incendiary figure – it was his organisation that published a series of antisemitic and Holocaust revisionist cartoons in response to the Danish Muhammad cartoons controversy. But that was several years ago.
Shortly before Jahjah's incident, Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist church was barred, after announcing he would come to the UK to picket a play that, to use the Thatcherish phrase, "promoted homosexuality".
I try not to play down the unpleasant nature of people who get caught up in free expression controversies, or their views, as it is not much of an argument to defend free speech by positing that what people say isn't actually important – but really, Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church are a joke (if you don't believe me, watch this), and not people the Home Office should be getting too worried about.
The Home Office has a stock line on these barrings – today, Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, made public the names of 16 people banned since October – which normally runs something like this: "This individual has been barred from entering the UK as we believe he is not conducive to the public good … The government supports freedom of expression, but believes it needs to be exercised responsibly. We will continue to oppose extremism in all its forms.
"That is why we are determined to stop those who try to spread hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country and that was the driving force behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour that the home secretary announced in October last year."
This is massively problematic: we are in to the realm of defending liberalism (my note: this is the European definition of Liberalism, which is that a state should be permissive and open, not necessarily left-wing or socialist as it is known across the Atlantic...and yes, the suggestion that you can defend freedom by banning people is stupidly Orwellian) by illiberal means. A line of reasoning that the home secretary might not admit to, but one happily espoused by the likes of Geert Wilders, or the assassinated Pim Fortuyn, both of whom would say that the Netherlands' liberalism should be defended by stopping all the nasty, possibly illiberal foreigners from coming in.
While the home secretary's argument is not based on any form of xenophobia, as that of Wilders almost certainly is, the logic is similar: we must stop people entering the country because of what they might believe or say while here. It is pre-emptive sanction, a concept that should not have a place in UK legislation.
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- ▼ May 2009 (66)
And You Tell Me There's No Suppressed Technology?
It's another of those 'conspiracy theories' that good citizens don't notice. Imagine the standard of living if all the secret technology was released to the public...we'd be "free and independent" as JFK said! No more poverty anywhere! Can you imagine being sick enough to withhold such technology from society just to maintain your position of control? (Bearing in mind that we don't know just how much technological capability is being withheld, because, duh, it's secret.) What did Nikola Tesla really develop?
Individual Liberty? But that's "selfish"!
No, we need to look after each other voluntarily without having a government do all that at gunpoint. Sounds absurd at first but soon you realise that the reason it sounds so is because of the very unfree nature of our current existence. Envision greater possibilities! Ok, some kind of massive wake-up would be needed before this kind of free, responsible, uncontrollable society could emerge. And that's what we are seeing day by day in the world - a massive waking up of the previously enslaved masses (including myself I must add!)