Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Can no-one see the irony here?

There has been a large amount of news coverage of the recent elections (local and European). One angle is the mess the current government is in but they may have been relieved that the other story seems to have diverted some attention away from them; the election of two BNP Euro MPs.

Things took a decidedly more violent turn when Nick Griffin tried to make a speech outside parliament and got pelted with eggs. I don't know what it is with eggs as the assault weapon of choice but analysis of that will have to wait for another post.

What I found interesting is that I guess most people saw this as a justified attack and felt that he deserved it. Other suggestions about the election of the BNP being undemocratic and that they got through on a fluke (because the voter turn-out was so low) have also been discussed at length.

The truth is though that, to the best of my knowledge he, and his party, did nothing illegal or underhand to get elected. They presented their policies and opinions and this was sufficient to get them, according to the BBC article linked above, 943,598 voters. You could argue that they may have lied, misled, or hidden facts about their party and what they really stood for from these people, but frankly all the parties do that so it's hardly a charge you could level at them with impunity!

So the response for someone who was fairly elected but who clearly has views that the vast majority finds offensive, is to assault him? How is that just? Should we treat anyone with equally unsavoury views in the same way? Who gets to decide what views are right and wrong? Mob rule?

This is meant to be a democracy and we should have the freedom to hold whatever views and opinions we like. Even if these are not what the majority would agree with. Everyone should have the right to present those views, and equally everyone else can respond or ignore them. That is the price of a free and open society, you really have to support everyone's rights, not just the people to agree with.

If you are going to start assaulting people because of their views or trying to censor them then who says that same won't be done to you when your opinion is in the minority?

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