The Free Speech Problem

Free speech continues to be under attack in the UK. And recently it was ramped up by no small amount.

On Friday 9th March 2018 The leader of the Austrian Identarian movement, Martin Sellner and his American partner, author, ‘youtuber’ and conservative activist Brittany Pettibone were arrested and detained by UK security services. Martin had been planning to speak to a gathering at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park and Brittany had scheduled an interview with journalist and activist Tommy Robinson. He founded the English Defence League but left when he had concerns over far right extremism and is now an Anti Islamification activist after a stint reporting for Rebel Media.

At first the two thought that Martin and his Identarian movement was the primary reason, but when the pair got speaking to the authorities, it was the fact that Brittany was going to do an interview with Tommy Robinson!

A journalist arrested and deported for planning to do an interview, think about that for a moment.

Speakers Corner has a long 300-year old history, since 1872, of allowing anyone to say pretty much anything with impunity. You just turn up, stand on your ‘soap box’ and it is seen as a place to express views however dissenting. Previous speakers have included Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin  and George Orwell. Is Martin a greater threat to peace than Lenin and Marx? More recently it has become a place where Islamists have congregated to air their views to their followers.

Both Brittany and Martin have been held separately. Brittany was held at Colnwood detention centre, which is where failed asylum seekers are held before deportation. Both their phones were taken and they were not allowed to contact anyone.

Just after that happened Tommy Robinson was attacked in Haringey by masked Antifa protestors. He said he was on his way to cover a left-wing protest nearby. There is a video of it here

This came hard on the heels of an incident involving ‘youtuber’ Carl Daniels, who goes by the name of Sargon of Akkad,  and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ayn Rand Institute, Dr. Yaron Brook, who  had a talk on philosophy disrupted by masked Antifa.

Ironically the event was being hosted by the KCL Libertarian Society, who advocate civil liberty. Not a particularly hard right topic. It  was captured in  footage which shows a group of masked men storm the lecture theatre waving an Antifa flag. here

The attempt to stifle free speech soon turned violent as video footage shows one of the protestors was punched in the face seemingly by an audience member before being dragged to the ground.

King’s Libertarian Society, issued a statement calling the evening “an act of violence, clearly intended to silence Yaron and Sargon’s planned debate, via a series of totalitarian tactics that unfortunately proved successful.”

It’s not just conservatives and anti islamification activists and journalists that are being targeted though. The event was for a discussion about Dr. Rand’s “philosophy, Objectivism”.

On  Monday 12th March, Canadian journalist and Youtuber Lauren Southern was held under schedule 7 of the terrorism act for alleged racist activity. I think it was handing out leaflets in Luton. The definition of terrorism is: the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. For leafleting!

She has since been handed a lifelong ban from ever entering the UK.

Both Brittany and Martin said, after their release, that the staff, officers and others directly involved in their stay treated them with respect and courtesy. Some even agreed with what they were doing, but couldn’t say so. At least not publicly. They all have families to feed, mortgages to pay. But by silently objecting the problem is only going to grow and grow. This is coming from Government. A real dark swamp.

The British Justice system, once the envy of the world, is fast falling into disrepute. The government have scored a massive own goal here. Martin was going to speak to a group of supporters and Brittany was going to do an interview.

Now the whole  world knows about it. I cannot believe the UK government can be so sort sighted. They are having a Streisand moment- it gets its name from the time Barbara Streisand insisted the press respect her privacy and not publish pictures of her house. Which is exactly what they did. Repeatedly.

The talk is now of free speech suppression and what the likes of Winston Churchill would have said. I recall a quote attributed to him during World War II, ‘If you are getting flak, it means you are over the target.’

The flak is coming thick and fast now, and there will be more in the weeks and months ahead. The Deep State and their corporate cohorts feel  under threat, and I don’t think they can do anything about it. It’s time to drop some bombs, figuratively speaking, of course.

 

Photo by Jason Rosewell

My author page is right here, I would love to see you there too

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