British political party leader faces jail over whites-only policy
And you thought that jailing your opposition was just for Nazis and Communists! You can’t choose your friends and associates freely in Britain
The British National party is facing a crisis in the run-up to the general election after it emerged that Nick Griffin, its leader, could be jailed over its illegal “whites only” membership policy. Whitehall officials believe Griffin will be unable to comply in time with a court order forcing him to change the BNP’s constitution to admit Asians, blacks and members of other ethnic minorities.
They say the BNP’s membership is not due to vote on the constitutional change until after the court deadline expires towards the end of this month. Trevor Phillips, head of the government’s equalities watchdog, which won the legal ruling three months ago, has instructed his lawyers to be ready to ask the court to impose crippling sanctions, including a heavy fine or possible jail term against Griffin and Simon Darby, the BNP’s deputy leader.
If successful, the move could paralyse the right-wing party at a time when many at Westminster believe it is on the verge of winning its first seat in parliament with the support of disillusioned former Labour and Tory voters.
Officials question whether the head of a political party who has been imprisoned, fined or has had his assets sequestrated could continue to be its leader. “The BNP is very much Nick Griffin’s party,” said one official. “Were he forced to stand down three months before an election, then what are the prospects for the party? He could be replaced by someone who was much more hardcore. They would potentially be in disarray.”
The legal action began last year when the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued county court proceedings against Griffin, Darby and Tanya Lumby, another senior BNP official. The watchdog argued that the BNP’s constitution was unlawful because it restricted membership to particular ethnic groups and those whose skin colour is white.
Last October Judge Paul Collins agreed and awarded costs against the party. Griffin was forced to order a freeze on membership applications. The court gave him until January 28 to persuade the party to change its constitution and allow non-whites to join. However, Griffin is unlikely to be able to deliver the change in time.
Scottish parents told they must escort teenagers to restroom
Most parents believe the days of supervising their children on the loo are long gone by the time they are teenagers. If so, they may want to avoid eating out in Glasgow. The city council has ordered that children under the age of 16 must be in sight of their parents anywhere on licensed premises — even if that means being accompanied to the lavatory. The regulations have the potential for family embarrassment when, for example, a 15-year-old boy eating at a cafe with his mother has to use the ladies’ loos.
The council says the rule is required by the 2005 licensing act. It acknowledges there is a “huge difference between a toddler and a teenager”, but says there are no legal provisions for making a distinction between ages.
Restaurateurs say it is absurd to extend to lavatories the requirement for children to be in sight of an adult at all times, but believe they have no alternative if they are to avoid the risk of punishment. Francesco Longo, manager of Barbarossa, an Italian restaurant in the south side of Glasgow, said: “We can’t risk not to [comply], even if a youngster is 15, for fear of putting our licence at risk.”
The regulations, brought in late last year, state: “While children are in any part of licensed premises and in particular the toilet areas, they must at all times be within sight of an accompanying adult.” This could mean a girl dining with her father or a boy with his mother would have to use the opposite sex’s lavatories. The dangers the council fears children may be exposed to have not been specified. They could range from abusers to risks such as electrocution.
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the rules were “absolutely ridiculous”. He added: “Obviously, children should be supervised, but the new licensing laws were not brought in to make sure parents keep their eyes on them every single second.”
Glasgow council said: “This rule fits with the principle of protecting children from harm. Clearly it would be unacceptable for children to be unsupervised on licensed premises, but equally we expect licensees to apply this rule with a degree of common sense. “We have to class children as everyone who is under 16, even though there is a huge difference between a toddler and a teenager.”
Due process of law doesn’t happen in Britain where the government is the accuser
In his recently released book Banned in Britain, Michael Savage, an American conservative talk show host, reveals the sordid details that caused the British Labor Party government to ban him from the UK. In context, the ban constitutes part of a larger effort to restrict free speech in the West.
One morning in May 2009, Michael Savage awoke and googled the news. There in bold headlines he read that he was forbidden to enter the UK, due to his “extremist views.” At first he thought it was a joke. But upon linking to the British Home Office website, he discovered its truth. A “name and shame” list had been posted of those prohibited from entering the country. The list included terrorists, murderers and Michael Savage.
The talk show host never committed a crime. He never applied to enter the UK, nor was his show broadcast there. The British government never warned him that he was engaging in problematic behavior, nor did it notify him after placing him on the list. He was not afforded due process or any process. Rather, the decision to ban Michael Savage was made by government authorities with no oversight, behind closed doors. They side-stepped laws and trampled on his civil liberties.
Banned in Britain explains how, through the Freedom of Information Act, Savage uncovered e-mails by British authorities who made the decision. The e-mails demonstrated that because most of the people on the list were Muslim, the government feared that radicals would falsely allege that the “unacceptable behavior” policy was specifically targeted at the Muslim community. Therefore, authorities sought a non-Muslim to place on the list in order to achieve “balance in exclusion cases”, or diversity in banning.
The Home Office’s prime researcher found no evidence that Michael Savage advocated violence, or that violence was ever committed as the result of his words. Nevertheless, then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith used a collection of Savage’s sound-bites out-of-context to serve as the basis for his ban. She insisted that the talk show host sought to “provoke others to serious criminal acts and foster hatred which might lead to intercommunity violence.”
Savage wrote to the US State Department, the UK Home Office, and the British Prime Minister in an attempt to get his name removed from the “name and shame” list. Failing to get results, he subsequently filed a defamation law suit against the British Home Office and Jacqui Smith in her personal capacity. (Smith had resigned amidst allegations of corruption and financial impropriety unrelated to the Savage case).
Though most Brits had not heard of Michael Savage prior to his ban, his name is now likely a household word. The Secretary’s slurs made the American talk show host a target for Islamists. Therefore, after hiring body guards, Savage made numerous media appearances in Britain in order to plead his case.
America’s first amendment was not written to protect polite speech or politically correct speech. It was written, in part, to protect controversial, offensive, and cantankerous political speech. The speech in which Michael Savage engaged was legal in America. And though the UK has no first amendment, it purports to maintain freedom of speech and is signatory to treaties that promote it.
Free speech is not limited to the right to express one’s viewpoints. It includes the right not to be punished for expressing ideas contrary to those of the government. That means the right not to be libeled or slandered, not to have the government knowingly make false statements about you, or falsely attribute statements to you. It also means the right not to have the government ban you from the country as an alternative means of censorship.
Legal restrictions of free speech do not occur overnight. The process is gradual. First, self-censorship is encouraged, then “guidelines” are issued. Eventually, legal complaints lead to civil penalties, and finally criminal prosecution. Penalizing one man for asserting his free speech rights also has the effect of chilling the speech of others, who take heed of the consequences.
Across Europe, the progression is evident. Islamic blasphemy laws are being construed more broadly in countries that have non-Muslim majorities. In Canada, Human Rights Commissions regularly issue civil fines for “Islamophobic” speech or speech “likely” to cause hatred, even if no hatred results. To defend themselves, respondents must endure a punitive bureaucratic process, costing them inordinate amounts of time and money. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, Member of Parliament, will be placed on criminal trial January 20, 2010 for producing a short documentary on Islamic extremism, which allegedly constitutes “hate speech”. If convicted, he faces the possibility of jail. Ironically, Wilders, founder of the Party for Freedom, has been pushing for an international equivalent of America’s first amendment.
In the US, the signs are more subtle. Though America doesn’t exert police power to stifle speech, she may pass legislation, issue executive orders, or create a politically correct climate of intimidation. For example, the State Department, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Department of Homeland Security issued memos to their employees discouraging the use of words ranging from Islamic terrorism to jihad. Politically correct double standards are applied to college campus speakers. Ahmadinejad is ok, but David Horowitz and Nonie Darwish are hate-mongers undeserving of a platform. The Fairness Doctrine looms large, threatening to shut down conservative talk radio since liberal talk radio cannot survive in the market place. Also, for the first time in history, the FCC has a diversity czar. He mandates private broadcasters to pay license fees that support PBS, doing indirectly what he cannot do directly.
Just this past year, DHS, the Missouri Information Analysis Center, the Maryland National Guard and Nancy Pelosi have all equated “right-wing extremists”, military vets, tea-partiers, and libertarian political groups, to threats normally associated with terrorists. Expressing fear of violence from those who espouse none, creates paranoia in law enforcement, who may respond with unfounded intimidation tactics. And in the UN, the United States in conjunction with Egypt, recently introduced a resolution that aspires to restrict criticism of Islam around the globe.
Under the facade of “sensitive speech” or “responsible speech” radical Muslims and the leftists who join them, seek the authority to limit the words and ideas of those with whom they disagree. Instead of winning the war of ideas in a fair fight, those in power seek to shut down the debate. After all, those who have weak arguments or false arguments must be unsettled by those who might win on the merits.
Those who benefit from restrictions on speech are those in power. Currently, that is the political left. Critical thinking serves as its enemy. Dissent is suddenly unpatriotic. Questions are discouraged. People assume they hold the right not to be offended. Expression of alternative viewpoints is precluded.
Academic institutions, once America’s shining example of intellectual diversity, now serve as leftist indoctrination centers. Worse, some national security threats can no longer be openly discussed by intelligence professionals. DHS whitewashes the problems. The media fails to report them.
Free speech serves as the foundation of free and democratic societies. Without free speech there can be no political opposition. Those who oppose government or mainstream views are oppressed, penalized, imprisoned, or even executed. All socialist, communist, fascist, and tyrannical regimes know that the first step in stemming political opposition to their power is to stifle free speech. The Nazis burned books, Stalin outlawed non-state controlled newspapers, and Iran is currently jailing those who peacefully protest June’s election outcome. In some American journalistic circles, terrorism seems less subject to criticism than objectively reporting its roots.
In western countries, free speech ought not be considered a privilege but a fundamental right. Its restriction doesn’t merely violate human rights, but additionally constitutes a national security risk. In order to secure America’s freedom, the public must be informed of freedom’s ideological threats. Intelligence must be permitted to discuss ideological motivations for terrorism. The media has a duty, not to be “sensitive” but to report accurately. Academia has an obligation to foster independent thought.
Banned in Britain is an easy, interesting, and enlightening read. Savage portrays his story in context of the increasing social, political and legal encroachments on western freedom of speech. Those who speak out with differing, conservative, or controversial viewpoints are incrementally being silenced. Now an American talk show host can be banned from the country that gave us the Magna Carta. Will the thousands of listeners who share his views be next?
Rock-solid British bias: Climategate investigated by the ‘National Domestic Extremism’ team
Likening climate whistleblowing to Muslim terrorism. The Leftist British government is very protective of Muslim extremists so can we climate skeptics expect similar indulgence? Perhaps not. The fact that GREENIE WATCH is blocked on official British computer services is surely a straw in the wind
Finally the Norfolk rozzers are on the case of Climategate. Are they investigating fraudulent misuse of grant funds? Misleading manipulation of data by a taxpayer-funded research institute? Conspiracy to encourage the squandering of trillions of dollars on a non-existent problem?
Not according to the researches of the estimable blogger Bishop Hill. This morning he contacted the Norfolk Constabulary to ask them how the case was going: had they yet ascertained whether it was a leak or a hack. His response has just arrived:
Norfolk Constabulary continues its investigations into criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia. During the enquiry officers have been working in liaison with the Office of the Information Commissioner and with officers from the National Domestic Extremism Team. The UEA continues to co-operate with the enquiry however major investigations of this nature are of necessity very detailed and as a consequence can take time to reach a conclusion. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.
The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) is a British police organization funded by, and reporting to, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) that coordinates police action against groups in the United Kingdom it describes as extremist. As of April 2007, it was headed by Superintendent Steve Pearl. Because the ACPO is not a public body but rather a private limited company, NETCU is exempt from freedom of information laws and other kinds of public accountability, even though they are funded by the Home Office and deploy police officers from regional forces.
AND GUESS WHAT? Because it is a ‘Private’ Company it is free form FOI REQUESTS!
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.