06 May 2009

UK names and shames the people to hate ......... Isn't it breaching of its own "hate crime" laws?

The UK Home Office yesterday released a press release :

"Home Office name hate promoters excluded from the UK

5 May 2009

Individuals banned from the UK for stirring-up hatred have been named and shamed for the first time, the Home Secretary announced today.

The list covers people excluded from the United Kingdom for fostering extremism or hatred between October 2008 and March 2009.

It follows the Home Secretary’s introduction of new measures against such individuals last year, including creating a presumption in favour of exclusion in respect of all those who have engaged in spreading hate. ...

...In the period from 28 October 2008 to 31 March 2009 the Home Secretary excluded a total of 22 individuals from coming to the United Kingdom. ...16 individuals are: ...

... Michael Savage
Controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.

The tougher exclusions policy follows the Prime Minister’s commitment in the National Security Strategy to take 'stronger action against those we suspect of stirring up tensions' and the Home Secretary’s decision to introduce a presumption in favour of exclusion for extremists promoting hatred or violence. Under the new policy we are preventing more promoters of hate from coming to the UK than ever before, with more than five being excluded a month as opposed to two a month under the previous policy.

Just how an American radio host who broadcasts only in the USA can be suspected "of stirring up tensions" in the UK is not disclosed. This is even more perplexing now that Mr Savage has indicated that he hasn't been to the UK for 25 years and has no current intention to visit. Who is it in Britain that "considers" Michael Savage is "engaging in unacceptable behaviour"? What serious criminal acts is he alleged to be provoking ? Which communities in the UK might be led to violence by this alleged behaviour in the USA ?

It seems that this new British government policy is that anyone anywhere in the world who comes to the Home Office's attention and who it believes are "engaging in unacceptable behavavior" will be banned from entering the UK, whether they want to go the UK or not.

Heh! Home Office! There is an old grey haired codger who wears Khaki shorts and a shearer's singlet in the pub at Woolgoolga who loudly proclaims to all and sundry nearly every day, that all Scientologists should be shot on sight once they identify themselves as Scientologists. That sounds like the kind of stuff you're trying to name and shame in your press release. Such pronoucements could afterall provoke violence in the Scientology community in the UK if they knew about it and he entered your country. If you want to add his name to your list, you could send one of your public servants on much coverted taxpayer funded trip to New South Wales. The pub in questions is about a 45 minute drive north of Coffs Harbour on the North Coast. The guy you're looking for sits on a bar stool in the left hand corner of the main bar after midday every day except Sunday. You could be doing your country a service banning him from going there, although Idon't believe he's planning a trip there any time soon. But I guess you can't be too careful.

I don't know Micheal Savage and have never listened to his radio programme, and I am most unlikely ever to do so. I live in New South Wales, not the USA, and in any event it seems highly unlikely that he would play the kind of classical music I listen to on radio. Furthermore if he is the typical "shock jock" of stereotypical fame who loudly expresses robust and prejudical opinions about his fellow human beings, then I can do without him, like I do with the ones of that ilk from round here. But banning him from entering the UK?

What could he possibly have said on his radio prgramme that warrants this kind of totalitarian treatment? Did he call Nelson Mandela an ignorant and immoral house boy? Did be say autistic children needed nothing more than a good clip behind the ears? Did he tell people that voting for Obama was tantamount to electing Joe Stalin? Did he express hatered and contempt for some people who espouse a rigorous and provocative form of religious fundamentalism? And even if he has said something even worse than this on a radio programme in America, why would the UK authorities care about him entering the UK. No-one knows him. No-one has heard of him and no-one listens to him in the UK. Why does a government need to do this.

[ I know. I know. It's really just a politcally clever magician's mis-direction feint, so that people will not be able to say that all the people on the list are arabs or non-whites. But does such political convenience really justify a totalitarian assault on free speech? If you and your party think so, fine, but you can hardly justifiably complain when people call you unprincipled or dishonest.]

most oft-cited Voltaire quotation is apocryphal. He is incorrectly credited with writing, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” These were not his words, but rather those of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, written under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre in her 1906 biographical book The Friends of Voltaire. Hall intended to summarize in her own words Voltaire's attitude towards Claude Adrien HelvĂ©tius and his controversial book De l'esprit, but her first-person expression was mistaken for an actual quotation from Voltaire. Her interpretation does capture the spirit of Voltaire’s attitude towards Helvetius; it had been said Hall's summary was inspired by a quotation found in a 1770 Voltaire letter to an Abbot le Roche, in which he was reported to have said, “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”[10]

The UK Government has lost its moral compass. I have accordingly sent the following completely futile email to the UK Home Office in protest:

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith MP,
Palace of Westminster,
London W1
United Kingdom

Dear Secretary,

The West fought and won two world wars and a cold war last century at an incalculable cost in human suffering, defending the idea of freedom of speech. By your totalitarian actions in banning foreigners who you disagree with from entering the UK, you desecrate the memory of the millions of all nations who lost their lives in that long fight against totalitarianism.
Britain once led the world in understanding the civilisational value of human freedom. No longer. Under the Brown Labour Government the UK has become the first developed world democracy in peacetime to ban from its shores people who it disagrees with because their mere opinions are deemed a threat.

By your multiple dictats this year, first allowing an Opposition MP to be arrested by police inside Westminster, then banning a Dutch filmmaker and now a US radio host from coming to the UK, you have demonstrated for the world to see the profound failings of the Westminster parliamentary system. When those with a majority in the House of Commons use that power to ban from entering the UK those who have said or published expressions of opinion that they disagree with, on the grounds that those people might provoke violence, the UK government demonstrates it no longer defends or values freedom of speech.

If there was in fact a risk that words or images that these individuals have published elsewhere in the past, might provoke people in the UK to commit acts of violence when these individuals enter the UK, then a Government that valued freedom of speech would defend those individuals and their right to express their views before and after, not defend those inside the UK who would react violently to the mere presence of these individuals in the UK.

Your decision to ban Mr Michael Savage from entering the UK because of non-violent political views he has expressed on radio in the USA, is shameful and wrong. By making this misguided decision repressing free speech in the UK you have dishonoured the reputation and credibility of the Government of the UK and its people in the eyes of the world.

Yours sincerely

Bob Goldie
Sydney, Australia "

The email address I sent it to is as follows: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Is it only me that is completely bewildered that all the promoters of anti-hate speech laws don't seem to have enough perception or interest in this issue to see that such laws themselves promote hate?

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