Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jacqui Smith shoots us all in the foot again... over freedom of speech

Last month I tried to answer a question posed on a google search query (which strangely arrived on my blog), asking Why don't Gibraltarians want to be Spanish?.

In my rather long winded answer (nothing new there and it was an interesting question), I explained that amongst the reasons why I valued my British nationality and heritage was freedom of speech.

"I strongly value the long established British values of freedom, democracy, justice, freedom of speech, human rights and the embracing of mixed cultures, creeds and religions within our society."
All well and good and I hope you'll agree with me, quite as things should be. Except until today, when I was surprised to find out that our Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has decided, in her wisdom... to do away with the great tradition of tolerance and freedom of speech in Great Britain!

Yesterday, Jacqui Smith decided to publish a list of 16 people banned since October to "show the type of behavior Britain will not tolerate"!

This list, which includes people barred from entering the UK for fostering extremism or hatred, has been published for the first time ever in this country. Islamic extremists, white supremacists and a US radio host are among the 16 of 22 excluded in the five months to March to have been named by the Home Office.

According to the BBC, the UK has been able to ban people who promote hatred, terrorist violence or serious criminal activity since 2005.

Explaining her reasons for publishing this list, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said "coming to the UK should be a privilege" and I wouldn't disagree. But banning people, who have not committed any crime, purely because they hold views that most of us, I'm sure, disagree with?? That doesn't sound right to me!

Ms Smith said "the public interest was against naming" the remaining six, for example on the grounds it could reveal the type of information being held about them. So... that's 'innocent until proven guilty' out of the window too!

The Muslim Council of Britain says the government should not act against people, "whatever their views, unless they have broken the law". They've got a point... and I for one have always thought that is how our laws work!

'Against our values'

However, Ms Smith said granting free speech did not provide a licence to preach hatred and that those banned had "clearly overstepped the mark" with the attitudes they had expressed.

Maybe so... but again, that is no reason to break with our much valued tradition of tolerance in this country... or of course, the right to freedom of speech and ban people, who have not committed any crime... as yet. That's just plain wrong and totally contrary to our British values!

In any case, as in the US radio host, Michael Savage's case today, his real name is Michael Alan Weiner by the way... (I say nothing rolleyes) ... this idiot's views, who delights in taunting gays, environmentalists, Roman Catholics and Muslims, are now receiving widespread publicity across our media. Ms Smith's barring order, has given this pathetic racist a megaphone and allowed him a platform which he would never have had, had he been dealt with differently.

To his credit, Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, told BBC Radio 5 Live that people should be free to enter the country, regardless of their views.
"If they step over the line and break the law, it's at that moment the law should be enacted, not beforehand.

If people are keeping their odious views to themselves, that's their business. We should not be in the business of policing people's minds.
Quite so Mr Bunglawala... that's exactly what I think too!

I believe the people of the United Kingdom are wise enough to be able to make up our own minds about this sort of claptrap from people like Savage. We would have maybe raised an eyebrow or two, when reading reports of his views, put him down immediately as another racist radical idiot... and promptly ignored him (maybe enjoyed a rant or two on our blogs too). Instead, thanks to the unwise Ms Smith... his views are reaching far and wide... and possibly into corners of this country, where unfortunately, they may be more welcome and fostered! So... well done Ms Smith!

By the way, you might be pleased to hear that Savage has said that the last time he was in Britain was about 20 years ago, and he has "no immediate plans to return"... so good bloody riddance I say!

But... this is yet another example of how this Minister and this Government, continue to erode our country's great traditions... and continues to shoot themselves in the foot with crass decisions and policies... one after another.

In today's Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) Gordon Brown was actually accused by LibDem's leader Nick Clegg as "stupid", and added that the PM's recent speeches were "vacuous"!

The BBC's political correspondent Ben Wright said:
"Deference to the prime minister has never been a feature of the weekly Commons grilling but today's session was striking for the confidence with which the PM's political opponents were prepared to mock Gordon Brown."
It is clear to me, that Gordon Brown has lost any authority he ever had... aided and abetted by his Ministers... not least Jacqui Smith with her constant trip ups... and the 'mocking' blast by Hazel Blears at the weekend... about the "YouTube if you want to" editorial in the press.

Downing Street Petition

If you too are fed up with all this nonsense, you might like to give your support to this Downing Street petition asking Brown to resign. Here's your chance to ask him (and hopefully this useless Government) to go... NOW!

Oh and you'll be in good company... as over 52,000 people have already signed!

Jacqui Smith at the GrumpyOldTwat

Not that I condone much of what our eccentric and extremely irreverent blogging colleague often has to say (I do find him quite amusing at times though), but in Jacqui Smith's case... I do think the GrumpyOldTwat has got her number! I have to warn you though... this link is not for those of a sensitive disposition!! rolleyes

Jacqui Smith to be sued

As a footnote... not only is Ms Smith corroding our rights to freedom of speech... and handing Michael Savage a PR coup which he is relishing, as the Guardian said but it's also looking like it's going to cost her dearly!

Savage is now threatening to sue Smith ‑ who he repeatedly taunts as a witch and a lunatic in this radio clip – and says he wants top first amendment attorneys to represent him "in a major international case". He claims to have seven lawyers working on the case.

Again, quoting the Guardian, at the very least, Savage is milking his run-in with Smith for all it's worth. This is publicity that Savage, who was fired by MSNBC for telling a prank caller to "get Aids and die", can only dream of.

As I say, it looks like Smith has scored an own goal, the latest in a series of Labour self-inflicted wounds in recent weeks. Apart from threatening legal action, Savage is also urging his 10 million listeners to boycott the UK and to stop buying British goods.

Thanks a bunch Ms Smith!! D'uh!! twisted I hope Savage takes her to the cleaners... the dumb broad deserves it... oh and this time, unlike with her husband's porn account... she should pick up this damn bill... for legal costs and damages which are sure to come... personally!!