Saturday, November 18, 2006

Freedom to say that which does not offend is no freedom at all

Gordon Brown demonstrates the correct method for strangling freedom of speech.

After that charming pair from the British National Party were rightly cleared of inciting racial hatred, our prime-minister-in-waiting's remarks about outlawing words that "offend mainstream opinion" were more worrying than anything uttered by the impotent bigots of the BNP. Freedom to say that which does not offend is no freedom at all. Indeed it is only "extreme" views that need protecting, since the mainstream can look after itself. Free speech means what it says - no bans on right wing demagogues, Islamist firebrands or even sexist football managers.

Worse still was the suggestion that the law should be altered to ensure that, next time the State stages a trial of political dissidents, they will be found guilty. Such cynical manipulation of the justice system for political ends is something we might normally associate with the "public safety" committee of some little police state.

Wonko rightly wonders what race hate laws have got to do with the Treasury, and the Tartan Taxman is runaway winner in his poll yet again.

I believe passionately that Brown should NOT be foist upon us. I do not want a democratically illigitimate Stalinist Prime Minister and if truth be told I can't imagine many of Nu Labour do either. But they seem to think he's some sort of benign comedy jock. (We ALL do love a comedy jock).

If they could see him for what he really is, they'd be suitably scared. Grrr. See.

Why can't we have a general election when Blair stands down? Then we can all vote for Nice Dave and hug a hoodie.


Blogger kats said...

I thought that the leader of any political party in this country should be elected. This goverment has slowly eroded the rights of us all.. Now they are doing away with democracy. Next he will be following in Bush's footsteps and doing away with Habeas Corpus and then God (if there is one, which I doubt) us all.

Sat Nov 18, 05:11:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Curmy said...

Couldn't agree with you more Gavin, I bet those poor sods in Basra were pleased when Gordon turned up today.

Sat Nov 18, 06:19:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Sarnia said...

Good post, Gavin. I was appalled that the reaction to the Griffin acquittal was the suggestion that the law should be altered/another one brought in.

The double acquittal of Nick Griffin is a message to the government. That of juries refusing to convict for bad laws.

The sight of a grinning, jubilant Griffin after his second acquital was not a pretty sight, why give the oxygen of publicity to this man and his party by re-trying him after the first acquital.

So, now Gordon wants to alter the law - and if that doesn't work? Will his next suggestion be to outlaw juries?

Sat Nov 18, 06:23:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Sarns, I'm terrified by the prospect of this bloke ruling me.

Stalinist is the only description.

Sat Nov 18, 11:16:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Rupe said...

Quite right Gavin, the very idea that GB is going to be our PM without an election makes me ill.

I despair. He has as much charm as a bloodless crocodile.

He made damned sure he sent his wife Sarah to Scotland to have their children, God forbid they would be born in England.
What a hypocrital bastard.

This whole scenario is so shaming.

This sight of this bumbling figure in his socks shuffling around the corridoors of parliament is something I'll never forget.

God help us.

Sun Nov 19, 01:20:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Well we seem to be unanimous so far, I wonder what our resident socialists have to say on the matter, cue Mags...

Sun Nov 19, 01:48:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Paul said...

As one of the Left-wing Three I don't have a problem with cowering behind the sofa and saying that it's okay for GB to inherit the earth from TB (as long as that's ok with GWB).

Politicians say stupid things, journalists ask stupid questions, earth spins round sun - it's life, the universe and everything.

On the subject of voting for a PM when TB goes - get real guys, you vote for a party not their leader, unless of course you're a Tory and insist on voting for loopy old women, baldy nobodies, hoodie huggers or John Major.

If you don't want Gordy for PM give the Conservatives a kick-up the arse - at the moment you're drifting out to sea on the lilo of political incompetence. Time to start paddling for the shore, after all the Cons haven't won an election for 14 years and counting.

And there's a chance, albeit a small one, that just as Tottenham may one day win the Premiership, so the Conservatives may win a General Election. Although as they say on Merseyside - "Not whilst John Lennon's dead."

Sun Nov 19, 04:01:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Birdman said...

He benificently gives £100 million of OUR money away when in ENGLAND people are dying from cancer because the "Government" says we cannot afford the money for the drugs which would ease their condition. And people with Alzheimers are refused drugs. PR stunt comes to mind. It's a disgrace.

Sun Nov 19, 06:20:00 PM GMT  
Blogger IsobelMagsBuchan said...

Gavin, you confuse me with a labour supporter of which I am not! I do think that because of Blair and the appalling lies he has told that labour get a far worse press on certain matters than they deserve but that doesn't make me a fan.

Certain things have got better since 1997 and others have got far worse but the question here is about leaders. Did the tories go to the country when they decided to oust Thatcher? No, they didn't, so I do think it is a tadge hypocritical to condemn labour for merely following the rather bad example of the tories!

Personally, I don't think that the party will roll over, play dead and elect Gordon without a bit of a bust up. There are so many factors that come into play because of the way labour leader elections are conducted that it will be no annointment of the new king. It will no doubt be a bit of a blood bath but then a little bit blood letting never hurt anyone apart from a hemophiliac.

The problem for anyone who is using a personal dislike for Gordon as fodder for a political attack on labour as a whole is that they are desperate. Cameron is a perfect example of style over substance. This business of not revealing any policies is bonkers and will ultimately, imho, lead to his downfall. He says he doesn't want labour stealing his policies for their manifesto! Blimey, things have changed if that be true! However, the real reason is that they want to keep the lid on anything that might prove slightly controversial because they know a lot of what they need to say in order to get elected, will go right against previous party principles and the grain in general. If they only the let the cat out of the bed just before an election they can shout "unity unity, we have an election to win, we can ditch the manifesto afterwards", a bit like labour in 1997.

Either that or they just don't have any ideas or proposals that will stand up to scrutiny, make them electable or maybe, just any ideas at all!

I don't care who the labour leader is. I left the party and said I would never vote for them again back in 1996, on matters of principle. I don't have anything to say about Brown as a person because I don't care about labour.

Sun Nov 19, 11:00:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Les Paul Junior said...

As a member of the gang of three, I would like to know what constitutes "mainstream opinion". Is there such a thing?

Would Galileo have been prosecuted for non-geocentric views? Einstein would, no doubt, have been ragged, bagged and shagged by such legislation.

Seriously, though, I think this business of "If in doubt, pass some new legislation" is a sign of extremely poor goverment, irrespective (I think) of political persuasion. It also smacks of "if you lose the game, change the rules" which is, IMHO, the sign of an immature, bad loser.


Mags, how come you left the Labour Party as early as 1996, before they were elected?


Excellent post, Gavin, btw.

Mon Nov 20, 11:21:00 AM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

No Mags the Tories didn't go to the country, but Neil Kinnock tried to set that in motion when he made a rather lame bid for a vote of no confidence and Thatcher batted him all over parliament in her resignation speech. But in a way that's immaterial because that was before devolution and the West Lothian question wouldn't apply to the Member for Huntingdon anyway. Brown has no mandate in England and post-devolution no mandate in Scotland either, on matters which are devolved to the Scottish Assembly - like health and education. So he doesn't meet the legal criteria. That aside he is idealogically so far from Nu Labour that I cannot believe that the Blairites will have him, and so patently anti-Enghlish that I can't believe that even the old left from english constituencies will have him. With a bit of luck and a following wind if Brown is 'crowned' Dave will go for the Vote of No Confidence and be supported by a reble alliance of anyone-but-browns. Then we get the General Election.

Mon Nov 20, 12:26:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Sarnia said...

I expect once Brown is crowned he'll enact a new law banning General Elections.

(Err - that was tongue in cheek btw!)

Mon Nov 20, 02:47:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Six Years Late said...

I agree with Mags, I can't see there being any sort of smooth transition of power. It will be bloody and rightly so. I rather liked Boris Johnson's assessment though that he felt the passing of power between blair and brown was marginally less democratic than that between Claudius and Nero.

On the new legislation thing. I am amazed by Brown's reaction. He's not a stupid man by any means and I think he exercised very poor judgement in making the statement he did. It was an unnecessarily controversial stance to adopt. If he really does want that though, I will heckle and throw fruit until the cows come home.

Mon Nov 20, 04:01:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Paul said...

On the matter of the Conservatives winning the General Election I think they've missed the boat by too much infighting over the past decade.

People may well hiss and boo the Labour party but they've stolen the Conservative parties thunder on a lot of issues. The people the Conservatives have to target are those who changed parties in 1997 and those voters in marginals where they might win. It's no good trying to appease Daily Mail readers or the old Colonel types, they'll vote Conservative until Six's cows come home.

Mon Nov 20, 04:23:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pepple who think that Brown isn't as NL as Blair are just ignorant of politics and political history. Brown, if anything is more NL than Blair could ever be. NL isn't really NL it is old, old Labour. The Labour party of the founding Fathers, Upper Middle Class, social liberals. Those that encourage charitable organisations, mutual societies, and co-operatives, not grand Socialist schemes. Brown fits this description down to a tee.

Mon Nov 20, 05:49:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Hello Anon, "NL isn't really NL it is old, old Labour", if you say so.

Old Labour as propounded by Benn, has merit and honesty, thus good. Stalinism as propounded by Brown, bad.

Mon Nov 20, 06:38:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Paul, I don't think so. Brown might just tip the balance because he's not wearing Tory clothes.

Mon Nov 20, 06:39:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

I hope you're right Six, the Labour party (the real one not the Nu one) would disappoint me greatly if they just rolled over and died for Brown, the unelected and unelectable.

Mon Nov 20, 06:41:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Sarns, then we call for revolution!

(Not kidding!)

Mon Nov 20, 06:42:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Shy, you may be a lefty guitarist but you're not as green as you're cabbage looking.

Mon Nov 20, 06:43:00 PM GMT  
Blogger IsobelMagsBuchan said...

Shy, I left because I saw what was coming and couldn't stomach it! It was when they started announcing what would be in the next manifesto and hey ho, along came the proposal to abolish student maintenance grants. There were other things too but that's the one that stuck with me. Others said I was mad because they were only making all these promises to gain the middle ground and that as soon as they were elected they would return to old socialist principles. I knew they wouldn't. They had lost too many elections for that to happen. I lived in W3 at the time, part of Ealing and hell, they were doing a wonderful job of giving us a sneak peek at how new labour would operate. Not pretty.

Much as I hate to ask a rhetorical question, who in your mind makes a better constitueny MP; Steve Pound or the bicycling baronet, Sir George Young? I had a lot of time for GY, despite being diametrically opposed politically. He was a good constituency MP. Pound, new labour through and through and imho, bloody useless.

Mon Nov 20, 10:23:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen Pound has got to be the most annoying MP of any party. After '97 I too swore I would never vote Labour again whilst Blair and Blunkett were in power. I remain to be convinced by Brown.

Tue Nov 21, 01:10:00 AM GMT  
Blogger Les Paul Junior said...


I'm not trying to be clever/funny or anything but I honestly don't understand your comment about me and cabbages.

Tue Nov 21, 01:14:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

LOL Shy!

Tue Nov 21, 01:25:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Span Ows said...

Oh goody! A political bun-fight. I'm glad Mags, Baldy and Shy like the resident lefty tag I left them.

Gavin, sorry, if I'd known youd posted this I wouldn't ahve posted mine...just saw the pics on the beeb and was confused by leader Brown.

P.S...also like the Mona Lisas below. No time to read more and regarding your suggestion I tried but can't get in to owsblog at the moment...i.e. now, I could this afternoon....whatever

P.P.S Brown's a lying cagey toad

Tue Nov 21, 06:59:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Gavin Corder said...

Buns? Is that what they've got under their kilts?

Tue Nov 21, 07:09:00 PM GMT  

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