Live and let live and remember this line: Your business is your business and my business is mine - Cole Porter
Leighton Andrews, a member of the Welsh Assembly (an ‘AM’) has recently congratulated a colleague, Alan Pugh – also an AM – for
calling for a review of the law relating to the public display of swastikas. Sending a letter to the Home Office and letting the Press know you’ve done it doesn’t seem the most remarkable thing in the world but if Mr Andrews thinks it deserves commendation and wishes to puff up a fellow Labour Party AM, that’s his business.
Mr Pugh is asking the Home Office to consider banning the public display of swastikas. He thinks:
the only “legitimate place” for displaying Nazi memorabilia and symbols was in museums and history textbooks
There’s talk of an EU-wide ban along the lines of the law in Germany. Mr Andrews reckons it would be a fine idea (
Well done, Alun Pugh AM). I don’t.
When Mr Pugh – a former Business lecturer and a graduate of Wales’s finest academic institution, Ponty Poly – leaps on a current news story (Prince Harry and the fancy-dress party), publicises his action and then tells the voters what is or isn’t legitimate expression I get a bit worried. We don’t have a consitutional right to freedom of expression in the UK and the current ruling Labour Party seems less than interested in pretending it thinks the issue important.
In the past few months in the UK we’ve seen the following.
The government wishes to introduce Identity Cards for all UK ‘citizens’ (we’re all subjects of the Queen, actually, not citizens). One of the reasons offered is enhanced security but how exactly identity cards would help isnt’t clear. It’s worth remembering that all the 9/11 terrorists were in the US legally.
Incitement to Religious Hatred made illegal
And who would want to incite any sort of hatred and what’s wrong with stamping on that? Well, yes, except that people should have a right to offend and if violent idiots decide to force a play off the stage (see below) then there’s a likelihood that future productions of the play could be described as being likely to incite religious hatred and fall foul of the new law.
Violence and intimidation forcing a play to close
The play, Bezhti, was closed because of violent intimidation and death threats. The response from Fiona MacTaggart, the UK Minister for race equality was this piece of pusillanimous complacency:
A Home Office minister suggested yesterday that the violent protests that forced the cancellation of a play about Sikhs would ultimately benefit the author and the show
There seems a general drift towards illiberality and a misunderstanding of the nature of the social contract by Alan Pugh, Leighton Andrews, Fiona MacTaggart et al. The Stalinist tendancy in the Labour Party has bubbled through again and it isn’t pretty. Given the Labour Party’s current and likely forthcoming majority on the national scene it’s downright worrying.
Talking of Stalinist, I trust Leighton Andrews and Alan Pugh will be campaigning to make icons and images of the old Soviet Union illegal, too. Items like the CCCP t-shirt sported in my local last Friday. It was being worn by a Belorussian, so it was probably ironic.