Saturday, November 11, 2006

Government considers tougher race hate laws

Following BNP pair Nick Griffin and Mark Collet being cleared of incitement to racial hatred, the BBC reports that the cabinet is considering revising the laws.

This is bad news. Griffin has already boasted that the trial and retrial has given his party more publicity than it could have wished for. If the government then goes on to revise law in order to huckle a few nutters in the future, I'd suggest that gives Griffin and his odious ilk even more exposure. They will claim they are being targeted, they will claim they are being persecuted, in fact, they will claim anything at all just for the airtime.

Ok, most people will disagree with Nick Griffin's comments. But if he really does believe that Islam is a "wicked, vicious faith", why should he be prevented from saying so? Battles against the far-right won't be won by gagging its leaders. If we are to show these morons up for what they are we must rubbish their arguments, expose their fraudulent statistics and unmask their real face.

Any government measures to toughen laws with which to catch these people will simply make them cause celebres. Moreover it will represent further erosions of free speech. If I want to proclaim on my blog that I hate all religions then I should be free to do. Just as people want to be free to attack Tony Blair, sneer at George W Bush, and ridicule Boris Johnson.

We already have laws which make it illegal to incite violence. Why do we need to be anymore specific about it? Especially as in seeking greater specificity, ministers and the press mistakenly elide the distinct catergories of race and religion.

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