Same chromosphere - Nick Griffin and Abu Hamza
Nick Griffin is such a profligate squanderer of space it beggars belief why he is allowed to colonise so much of it. Yesterday the British National Party (BNP) leader was acquitted of inciting race hate, triggering immediate calls for the law to be reviewed so that he doesn’t get away with it next time.
Pause for serious thought about what this means. I think Nick Griffin is a plonker but his capacity for turning dangerous can only be given credence by continuous crude attempts to prosecute him for something that isn’t actually against the law, i.e. being critical of a religion. That puts the right of free speech of all of us under threat. I can hardly wait for the next inquisition. To end up on the same side as Nick Griffin is an abhorrent thought but making changes to laws in order to bag one fringe lunatic is likely to throw us together by default.
It is still legally OK to hate people. This is good news because I hate rather a lot of people at the moment. They are more inclined to be figures of authority, greed and oppression and I hate them for what they do rather than what they look like or believe in. How tolerable would the 80s have been without our universal and collective loathing of Thatcher and regular burning of her likeness? My hatred doesn’t actually spill over into action unless you count snarky emails but it exists in my head and it serves a function. We humans have the capacity for the extremes of love and hate and the tendency to want to protect our rights and beliefs. We sometimes hate our kids, our parents, our next door neighbours and our work chums as well as mysterious strangers and it’s fine to do that as long as our feelings don’t cause us to threaten their wellbeing.
Nick Griffin is an educated man who knows how to put a sentence together which fuels resentment against ethnic and religious minorities but still manages to stay within the law. That may be infuriating for those trying to silence him but his position won’t appeal to the majority of us who have a fully functional brain and a vested interest in getting along. The BNP has only fifty local councillors, mostly concentrated in just a few weak councils. Their political position could be wiped off the map in a single election. Their profile is artificially inflated by media attention, and that’s the way
With the jailing of Abu Hamza earlier this year, the CPS put itself under pressure to pull in a top scalp from the other side, so desperate is everyone for the illusion of ‘balance’. This is their actual downfall. The law doesn’t take the Government’s pathological vanity and hysterical obsession with appearances into account when it reviews serious charges against individuals. The law is only interested in whether the accused has done something legally wrong, as opposed to simply saying ghastly things that the fair minded among us find irksome and uncomfortable but ultimately dismissible.
The media are keen to make something of the fact that the acquitting jury was an all white one. The prosecution participates in jury selection. The obvious presumption here is that they approved the jury because they thought it would give them the best chance of a conviction. The jury is also directed by the judge on points of law. If the Government responds to the verdict by suggesting the law should be changed, that is tantamount to admitting that no presently existing law was broken by
There are huge differences in the Griffin/Collett and Hamza cases. The CPS case against
Hamza, on the other hand, chose to preach in the streets outside the Finsbury Park Mosque and other locations in
‘Weyman Bennett, general secretary of Unite against Fascism and Racism, said: "It's a tragedy that a fascist and racist organisation can hide behind free speech ... But how do you prove intent without getting inside
That is dangerously naïve and, even worse, shows so little faith in ordinary people to negotiate peaceful co-existence. As long as we continue to exert a condescending protectionism over the behaviours of some ethnic and religious minorities, we will never solve the conflicts which threaten the functionality of our communities. I was in
Young girls have been enjoying the pleasure of gathering on
Today, of all days, we should not need a reminder of how easy it is for conflicting beliefs to lead to violence and bloodshed. It is a form of racism in itself to have lower expectations of one group in society to conform to its laws and protocols for keeping the peace. If the police and Government in this country could stop tripping over themselves in their misguided efforts to prevent us from offending each other for five minutes, they might start to see that.
As a free society, we are more than capable of discussing the ideological obstacles to living peacefully together without the loss of our rights to free speech. The laws which are there to keep the peace exist as safeguards for when co operation breaks down and behaviour exceeds the capacity of society to deal with it locally. Then the law needs to step in. As long as this Government does not trust us to take care of business at our end, the Nick Griffins and Abu Hamzas out there will gain a foothold. So, it’s now up to us to tell Nick Griffin to ‘nick off’ as we say in
Photo of Nick Griffin - The Telegraph. Photo of Abu Hamza - The Scotsman