In his latest guest-essay for Gates of Vienna, the British author Paul Weston addresses the current state of British politics in the face of Geert Wilders’ banishment from the country.
Temporary Peace Trumps Freedom of Speech
by Paul Weston
Shortly after Gordon Brown became the unelected Prime Minister of Great Britain in 2007, he made a speech outlining his views on liberty and freedom, which included the following phrase:
“The character of our country will be defined by how we write the next chapter of British liberty — by whether we do so in a way that respects and builds on our traditions, and progressively adds to and enlarges rather than reduces the sphere of freedom.”
If one can ignore the tortuous and robotic prose for a moment, let us fast forward to February 2009 in the aftermath of Geert Wilders banishment from Britain, to hear Labour MP Keith Vaz, the Minister For Europe, state on national television his own particular viewpoint on the sphere of freedom:
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“We don’t have absolute freedom of speech in the United Kingdom, because I myself have voted on laws preventing people inciting racial hatred and violence.”
Mr Vaz, an immigrant of Yemeni/Portuguese extraction, is clearly proud of the part he has played in restricting the ancient and bloodstained freedoms of Britain. No doubt Vaz is pleased the dark days of 1990 are now behind him, when he wrote to the Guardian to claim “there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech“ as he attempted to ban the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.
Unfortunately for Vaz, freedom of speech actually existed in 1990 and Rushdie’s book was duly published. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the subversion of British law carried out by Vaz and his ilk means it no longer exists in 2009 — witness the Wilders travesty — which rather damns Gordon Brown’s apparently admirable speech as typical socialist spin, if not deliberately disingenuous propaganda.
It is unsurprising that Keith Vaz should raise such words as “racial hatred and violence“ in relation to Geert Wilders, this being the default fallback for Muslims with a grievance (a body of people whose members far outnumber Scotsmen of a sunny disposition) but Wilders was not barred in order to prevent the incitement of racial hatred and violence, he was barred because his words and film would:
“…threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.”
This leads to all sorts of questions. The first surely being the blind assumption of community harmony; the second asking which part of the allegedly harmonious community is threatened by the mere presence of Mr Wilders; the third wondering if “therefore public security” is just a more inclusive way of saying “therefore Muslim violence” whilst the not inconsequential fourth and final question can only be — is it actually legal?
Taking one at a time, let us look first at Britain’s harmonious community.
MI5 believe there are up to four thousand potential terrorists and thirteen thousand Al Qaeda sympathisers living in the UK, many of whom are earmarked for the export market (who says British manufacturing is dead) leading the CIA to devote an astonishing 40% of their anti-terrorist US homeland security operations against suspects not in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Waziristan, but in Britain itself — a country described by one CIA operative as “a swamp of Jihadis.”
It is rumoured that the terrorist attacks in Bombay (or Mumbai if you read the Guardian) involved a number of British Muslims operating under the banner of Lashkar-e-Taiba otherwise known as the Party of the Righteous or LET, who are ranked alongside Al-Qaeda in terms of a potential terrorist threat by Barack Obama’s counter-terrorist advisor Bruce Riedel, who has stated:
“The British Pakistani community is recognised as probably al-Qaeda’s best mechanism for launching an attack against North America.”
British-born Muslims make an estimated four hundred thousand trips a year to Pakistan, where as many as thirty threats against Britain are being monitored at any given time. MI5 is struggling to keep track of them all, quite understandably, as is the newly formed UK Border Agency (motto: we are closed on weekends and bank holidays), so it is obvious that those who wish to destroy us can flit in and out of terrorist training camps in Pakistan to, say, the House of Lords in London, at the drop of a hat.
Despite the oft repeated insistence by British politicians that Islam is a peaceful religion, vast sums of money are thrown at Muslims in the UK in an attempt to stop them blowing the rest of us up.
In 2007 “communities” Minister Hazel Blears earmarked fifty million pounds to invest in “cohesion promotion and tackling community tensions.” Ah, those good old harmonious community tensions. Blears bent over backwards as she sprayed money at Muslim “experts” stating: “Nobody has a duty to assimilate themselves but I do think we need to understand how each other lives” prompting the bearded experts, who recognise fear, defeat and dhimmitude when they smell it, to swiftly trouser the money whilst opining it would do little good as Muslims are instinctively suspicious of any help from the British government, what with them being the infidel and all that.
In its overarching desire to be geographically inclusive, my government does not limit its financial largesse to the British mainland alone. When Gordon Brown visited Pakistan recently, he handed over a cheque for six million quid to promote love and peace, whilst the British Foreign Office — who once sent gunboats to troublesome countries — has bankrolled a series of TV adverts for broadcast in Pakistan in which famous Muslim personalities implore those who wish to colonise and convert us to cease forthwith, and to understand and respect us instead.
We dhimmi Brits can even look forward to a constructive debate “on the compatibility of liberal and Muslim values.” I know, I know, it sounds like something out of the Richard Littlejohn school of “you couldn’t make it up” but I am at a total loss for words here. One can only imagine how constructive the debate would remain if the liberal debatee attempted to date the Muslim debatee’s sister, or even better, attempted to roger the Muslim himself.
So I think we can safely say there is little or no community harmony in Britain.
In terms of who should feel threatened, it is unlikely to be any of Lord Ahmed’s 10,000 band of brothers, or any other member of Britain’s Muslim community, come to that. It is something of a giveaway really, look to the man surrounded by bodyguards with a price on his infidel head, Mr Geert Wilders himself, the lone surviving Dutchman of outspoken anti-Islamic sentiment.
And what of Public Security? A giveaway again. The British government did not really believe that Wilders was going to strip to the waist and engage in fisticuffs with his Allahu Akbar-ing adversaries. They know as well as the rest of us that a day in the House of Lords is more likely to consist of G&T’s with ice and a slice, than GBH with malice aforethought. I don’t really believe that Mr Wilders, a European parliamentarian, was planning on bringing his gang, or posse, to the House of Lords intent on bashing anyone who shows him “disrespect” unlike Lord Ahmed, the implausible new leader of Britain’s Muslim Street.
Was the banning of Geert Wilders legal? The law used was written specifically to counter Islamic terrorism, rather than countering a man warning us of Islamic terrorism. But as with most recent laws, many of which originate in Brussels, they are vague and catch-all in their character, and deliberately so, in order they may be used against anyone the government disapproves of.
It would have been so much more honest of the British government if it had said the following:
“We understand the content of the film Fitna to consist of the written words of Islam alone, the spoken words of Islam alone and the physical actions of Islam alone.
“Sections of these written and spoken words are in direct contravention of British and European laws pursuant to the incitement of racial or religious hatred.
“We appreciate that Mr Wilders is an elected European politician who does not possess a criminal record and is therefore entitled to visit any EU country he so wishes.
“We appreciate that Mr Wilders has never called for violence against the Muslim community and that even if faced with violence would seek lawful protection rather than unlawful retaliation.
“We acknowledge the threats of violence that would impinge upon the public security of Great Britain have come not from Mr Wilders, but from an unelected Muslim peer, Lord Ahmed.
“We tacitly acknowledge that allowing Mr Wilders the opportunity to argue that Islam is an inherently violent and intolerant faith will cause 10,000 violent and intolerant Muslims to take to the streets of London.
“We appreciate that the barring of Mr Wilders from Great Britain would necessitate the manipulation and distortion of laws passed to counter Islamic terrorism in order to silence a man warning us of Islamic terrorism.”
“We appreciate that bending British democracy in the face of Muslim threats will have dangerous and far-reaching consequences.
“However, after careful and considered discussion with a number of politicians who have not seen the film Fitna, notably Minister for Europe Keith Vaz and Foreign Secretary David Milliband, we would like to close with the following statement…
“…The British government is acutely aware of the 2 million plus Muslims within Great Britain, a percentage of whom are fanatical fundamentalists who, quite frankly, frighten the living daylights out of us. Were we to agree that Fitna contains Koranic verses which contravene our laws against inciting racial or religious hatred, then by default we would be forced to arrest 90% of British imams who quote exactly the same verses in mosques all over Britain. This would lead to civil unrest, or even civil war if we proscribed certain passages from the Koran itself. It is far easier therefore to distort and misrepresent existing anti-terrorism laws in order to preserve a temporary peace, even if it means shooting British democracy and freedom through the heart, ourselves in the foot, and missing Geert Wilders by a country mile.”
©2009 Paul Weston