Griffin, Griffin, gone.
At the risk of sounding like an apologist for the vile and horrendous BNP, I am slightly concerned by the arrest of Nick Griffin. If he has broken the law then he, of course, deserves to be locked up. I will be much happier with him off the streets and with him not spouting his vile rubbish. That's not the point though, for I'd quite like to see Tony Blair and Tony Benn in the slammer too - but I don't think they should be and I don't think I have the right to decide on it.
From this article, it appears that his crime is branding Islam a "vicious, wicked faith" (I had to check I got the quotation marks in there, to avoid fear of an unwelcome welcome party at Heathrow!). This brings up all sorts of issues linked to the proposed laws on incitement to religious hatred. Now, I have no truck at all with racism or the people who brand and decide about others on the ground of race, and largely the same is true with religion. I detest Griffin and the unique brand of frothing bigotry and mindless loathing which he espouses. I do strongly believe, however, that if we want to be truly free we must be free to say whatever we like so long as we do not infringe upon others - that sort of infringement is not just saying something others don't like, but actually threatening them.
In fact the law is verging towards attacking thought crimes. The Government does not approve of racism, or people disliking certain groups on certain grounds. Most of the time I strongly disapprove too. I do not feel the urge to coercively force them not to think what they think though. I like to show them how they are wrong and persuade them to think differently. In fact, exactly what the Government thinks we should do with all 'conventional crimes'. Tony Blair and his chums do think very differently though.
This latest incident just lends more credence to his suggestion that he his being targeted by the establishment because they are scared of him; when in fact it's because he is so mindlessly wrong and offensive. The way to beat him and his ilk is to show them up for the mindless thugs they are. By all means arrest them when they use, threaten or incite violence, but not when they incite thought crimes or mere views of which the Government and ruling elite do not approve. I am becoming increasingly wary of Government intervention in the field of ideas.
And on a side not, can you actually incite someone to 'hate'? Someone elsewhere has rightly questioned whether you can incite someone to 'like'? Can you? Or are they just tools for Government manipulation?