Here’s one version of the story, in which British Midland Airways is supposed to have taken away Mr. Wilders’ flight privileges:
BREAKING: Wilders’ Plane Ticket Cancelled
Bye Bye Flying Circus Of Geert Wilders
It just became known that the ticket with which Geert Wilders wanted to go to Britain has been cancelled.
Bomb threat? Defect on the landing gear? Qassams on the beach of Scheveningen?
No such thing. The reason is that airlines have the right to refuse passengers when the country of destination has already announced that the passenger is not welcome. That is why the airline “British Midlands” decided to strike out the best paid airline ticket of the year. [GeenStijl bought last minute expensive tickets]
The report by Rutger [GeenStijl TV reporter] will have to wait a while. As soon as Wilders got himself a ticket for the ferry to Dover, you will hear from us.
And here is another:
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Wilders: I know nothing…
AMSTERDAM – Wilders is confident he will be traveling in a few hours by plane to England. He responded this way to rumors that he will be refused on the British Midland flight to London. “I know nothing” said the PVV-leader.
The airline insinuated yesterday evening in the program Nova that Wilders, due to strict enforcement of the rules, very likely would be refused boarding. This because airlines reserve the right to refuse passengers who are denied entrance in the country of destination.
Wilders himself doesn’t know anything. “I haven’t been called, so I am confident I will be travelling to Schiphol airport in a few hours to fly.” The PVV-leader added that the British company never contacted him about his planned flight.
Meanwhile, at his desired destination, the Times Online opines:
Let Him In
… For all the obvious hollowness of Mr Wilders’ credentials as a defender of free speech, the cause is a good one. It is a common notion that the right to free speech must be held in balance with the requirement to avoid needless offence. That is a mistake. The right to oppose, mock, deride and even insult people’s beliefs is essential to a society where bad ideas are superseded by better ones. There is no right to have one’s emotional sensibilities protected, for it is no business of government to legislate for people’s feelings. Mr Wilders’ views are obnoxious, and (not but) his freedom to express them must be defended. It is regrettable that Mr Wilders faces not just ostracism but prosecution in the Netherlands because of his comments about Islam.
The Home Office judges that Mr Wilders’ presence in the UK would threaten public order and has banned him from entering the country. Last year Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Muslim cleric with inflammatory views on Jews and homosexuals, was denied a visa to visit the UK. Mr Wilders’ politics are no less inflammatory.
But that is not enough to warrant a ban. Demagogic speech is a test of the liberal political rights on which the culture of a liberal democracy rests. Let Mr Wilders exploit them. His political posturing is so self-evidently preposterous that, if he is permitted to speak freely, he will be arraigned before the best court in the land – the court of public opinion.
Thanks to our Dutch translators for the stories, and the Times for its opinion.