How free is free?
So David Irving has been jailed for denying the holocaust. Unpleasant chap though he is, I think it's wrong that this law exists and has been used against him. I accept, nonetheless, that he broke the law as it stood in Austria; as did he. For this, for good or for ill, he was going to be punished. Surely it's right though that we question the priorities of what is, broadly speaking, "our society" in the light of the three year sentence handed down?
Just to focus the mind, David Irving will be deprived of his liberty for three years for merely questioning, 17 years ago, an established, albeit important, public opinion. That is the same sentence as handed out for this woman, for committing what is, in the eyes of many, one of the most offensive crimes in the world at the moment, this killer, this burglar, for burglary from an Army worker giving him a lift home and repeated criminal damage, this man for committing 47 offences of burglary and theft, and this "trained carer who used her experience to prey on vulnerable elderly people". Is that really parity? Is that really just?
Other parts of the world, however, are less compromising. About which should we be more concerned? Which helps us better "engage" with the Muslim world? Moreover, who dares suggest our focus and energies are misplaced?