In this piece over at LC, Dave Osler, makes a comparison between the murders of two soldiers and a police officer in Northern Ireland and the protest by – what we may or may not agree, radical Muslims.
In it, Dave opens with:
Al Muhajiroun’s Luton demonstration and the Real IRA/Continuity IRA killings of the last week – although vastly differentiated in terms of degree -are based on broadly similar tactical considerations.
It is a law of politics that actions such as these are designed to provoke equal and opposite reactions.
The reaction needed from the murders of the soldiers and a police officer is that the British army be brought back onto the streets of Northern Ireland once again which will then mean a new set of troubles in that province – which, thank God, hasn’t happened. What the response has been is that the vast majority in NI have come out and condemned the murders and have, in unity, marched on the streets saying that they want no part of these murders or any more of any armed conflict.
The protesters in Luton, brandishing placards that the returning British soldiers are ‘Baby Killers’ while there were on parade and people were welcoming them back from fighting.
Now, I may add at this point I do not agree at all, nor ever have agreed, with the illegal war in Iraq!
So it does confuse me a bit when Dave makes the connection – I just can’t.
I do believe in the freedom to protest and I do believe in the freedom of speech and expression – that, to me, is a part of a liberal society.
Al Muhajiroun’s motivations, then, are all too transparent, and presumably they will be cock-a-hoop with the front page publicity they have secured in Britain’s mass circulation press this morning.
I am sure that they are – but what I see is that this can, very quickly, get out of hand. If a protest can hit the headlines as it has – and the derisiveness of the backlash in the news – just imagine if one of these protesters desides to take it one stage further and do another 7/7?
We are on a cusp of what we see as freedom of protest and speech – and we certainly cannot start to say that because someone of one faith/colour/gender has more rights to those than another – but we must look at the real ramifications of certain actions. I do feel that these guys who wanted to protest should be allowed to – but it is the manner of the protest that has begun to bother me.
The backlash may come in quite the opposite of what they wanted to say. Britain is very politically charged at the moment – for many reasons including the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the down turn in the economy and a pushing forward of political groups such as the British National Party. If these protests keep going – and again, God forbid, something more violent comes because of them, the real backlash will mean that a far-right party will get votes out of it.
Public sympathy will turn – and that will not aid the right to protest – but it will aid a voice in the UK that we really should fear.
Elementary considerations of freedom of speech mean that even al Muhajiroun must be allowed to make their point, as forcefully as they may choose. They have the right to be provocative.
I disagree – because that wording means and intones force, and what do you take from that – to some the use of force is the use of violence – and that is what I disagree with.
Provocation was meant by both actions – that I can agree with, yet we do have to look at what the outcome has been. Positive in the case of NI – and a negative in the case of Luton.
In Britain the ballot box is used, irrespective if you agree with the type of voting system or not, once you feel that violence and force is the way to make a political point – you will have lost the support of the vast majority of the British public. And that includes liberal-lefties like me.