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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Crossing the line

I cannot help but feel that Tory plans to ban extremists from broadcasting their views and engaging in protests go too far. There is a fine line between protecting the public from illegal activities and freedom of speech and normally those who cross that line can be prosecuted under a number of other laws anyway.

It is difficult to know anyway how exactly a Tory Government will catch and prosecute Islamic extremists who use videos or satellite links to show sermons by banned preachers from the safety of other countries. It is also hard to see how they will stop these broadcasts when they are relayed across the internet or via foreign satellites.

As for banning extremist public protests, such as demonstrations against returning troops, well how far down the road to a police state do we want to go? I have absolutely no time for such protestors and I am as disgusted as the next person that anybody would want to denigrate armed forces personnel who are not responsible for the policies that are being protested against.

But the point is that these men and women are putting their lives on the line to protect our freedoms, including the right for others to put across views that the vast majority of the population would disagree with. Banning such protests just plays into the hands of the extremists and makes them think that they are winning. They are not and we should not let them believe otherwise by over-reacting in this way.
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