Tommy…

Well, it seems as if ‘Tommy Robinson’ is out of prison, albeit on bail – despite how some are interpreting his ‘release’. He did not seem to say much on his way out of confinement, but posted a video of his seeing his children for the first time in a while at home – if anything I might question why he felt it necessary to post that on social media?

Then we have reports of the Judge laughing by a window – frankly I doubt that. If he was laughing – and Judges do laugh – I would be surprised that he would laugh at the release, or anything to do with it – and also be caught on camera.

I must admit that I am bemused and unclear as to what precisely – in simple and uncomplicated terms – Tommy Robinson stands for.

The BBC, of course, continue to label him “extreme right” and refer to his past (now divorced) associations in their own inimitable way. But it seems very difficult to understand, amongst all the/his outputs on social media, what exactly he is getting at. He seems to be saying, for example, that he has no problems with Muslims per se, but is concerned about Islam and especially its seemingly unambiguous connection with child abuse in many towns across the UK, as well as its connection with many ‘social ills’ such as FGM.

He also seems concerned about the lack/merits of Islamic ‘cohesion’ and ‘diversity’ and the inevitable ‘ghettos’ that are growing all the time across the UK. All this on a day when Sharia law seems to have been recognised in UK courts in a divorce case.

Reflecting on the issues mentioned above (and I guess there are many more) I find myself asking ‘so what is the problem’ with having views like this? I also wonder why he doesn’t manage to find some time to clarify really this/his position, so that those that support him from an extremist point of view desert him, those that criticise him for his ‘extreme right wing’ views back off and those that recognise his concerns (perhaps even the majority more generally) become more ‘mainstream’.

 

Antisemitism

Undoubtedly, antisemitism seems to be the issue of the day. Why is that?

It all seems to have come to a head because of the actions (or in this case inaction) of Jeremy Corbyn and the image that was, even to a blind man, antisemitic.

It’s amazing to me that in a country that has a Judeo-Christian heritage going back for many centuries and particularly following the atrocities of World War II (not to mention the treatment of the Jews by many European civilisations), that there are still people who have a problem with the Jews…and Israel.

To start with, Israel is a small democratic country that is entirely surrounded by many other countries with massively larger populations that have sworn to destroy it and, as a consequence, go to some considerable lengths to defend its own values and a (albeit relatively new) space on this planet. There seem to be too many people (and even Jews) spouting their views on Israel on the BBC and elsewhere, who have surprisingly limited knowledge and understanding about Israel.

Now we have the Jews. What have they ever done to offend or impose their way of life or values on anyone in the U.K. or elsewhere? In most cases, we dont even know they are Jews sitting next to us on the bus, or or the train. If only this could all be said of other religions that are ‘alien’ to our historic values and ideals and ‘wear their beliefs on their sleeves’.

I for one, certainly don’t understand and I don’t know anyone who knows anyone… … …who is antisemitic.

The issue that has brought this to a head for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party, may have been blown out of proportion, but he did do and say what he did in 2012 in relation to ‘that image’ and his unwillingness to provide an adequate rebuff to the accusations of antisemitism against him and the Labour Party, that are rife at the moment, probably says more about more about Palestine and his support for that, than any antisemitic stance. I was especially interested to see that the BBC showed ‘that image’ openly on a number of their programmes and wondered what would have happened (and what the reaction would have been in certain quarters) if there had been something similar shown, for example, about Islam or LGBT issues – I will leave you to decide!

It will be interesting to see what happens outside Parliament this evening when the Jewish community, who have patently had enough, gather to meet and stand their ground. I, for one, am with them all 100%…

Europe and free speech…

What an amazing and courageous act by the French police officer in Trèbes this week. The word ‘hero’ is used so widely the days that it often looses its real meanin…however in this case, it seems highly appropriate. In one sense people may feel that the terrorist is dead and ‘got what he deserved’, however the problem with this and other islamic-related terrorism which we all face, is that death for them is a good outcome as they are – in their ‘16th century way of thinking’ – martyrs. I am not sure how ‘western society’ can and will reconcile this, in term of justice and perhaps any retribution or ‘moral revenge’ that is needed by the societies affected.

According to William Randolph Hearst, “Freedom of speech is not only the boon but the basis of democracy – not only the gift but the guarantee of liberty and security – not only the privilege but the protection of a free people”. This is interesting and, of course, is largely true. However the line between what is and what isn’t free speech seems blurred or rather too flexible these days in a time of changing and perhaps declining, values. Recent examples of free speech from its ‘home’ at speakers corner in London, would indicate that what was reasonable and acceptable, no longer seems so and must be controlled, but by whom? In the recent case, clearly by the police acting according to government policy and a rather overblown nanny state? The parameters of the ‘realm’ of what is and what is not ‘acceptable’, are now moving ever closer to (or being driven towards) our own private lives and homes and begin to resemble scenarios predicted in 1984 by George Orwell.

In the light of the events in Trèbes, we need to look carefully at the differences between ‘free action’ and free speech, as the consequences of both are becoming – or being driven – much closer.