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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The oxygen of publicity

The far right thrives on publicity, and of all those who flirt with the far right agenda, Nigel Farage is the biggest publicity junkie of all. So, who in their right mind would give them what they want by shutting down an obscure conference which had until them slipped under the radar?

The Mirror reports that the culprit was Emir Kir, the mayor of Brussels district Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. They say that police attempted to shut down the right-wing political conference in Brussels attended by ex-Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Nigel Farage, with officers entered the venue to serve a court order demanding the National Conservatism (NatCon) event cease on public safety grounds as Farage was making a speech:

The former Ukip leader reportedly told the audience: “I understand the police are very keen to shut this down. Well, in that case they can do it while I’m still on stage.”

Organisers were told to wrap up the conference following an intervention from the local mayor. Emir Kir, mayor of Brussels district Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, said: "In Etterbeek, in Brussels City and in Saint-Josse, the far-right is not welcome." But NatCon said it was "legally challenging" the order as it said there were "no grounds to shut down a gathering of politicians, intellectuals, journalists, students, civic leaders, and concerned citizens".

In a video on social media, Mr Farage said the Brussels authorities were behaving "like the old Soviet Union". Following her speech, Ms Braverman hit out at the "Brussels thought police" and claimed it was proof right-wingers are "winning the arguments".

Ms Braverman used her speech to stick the boot into Rishi Sunak for being too weak to take Britain out of the European Court of Human Rights. She said: “The current UK Government doesn’t have the political will to take on the ECHR and hasn’t laid the groundwork for doing so. And so it’s no surprise that recent noises in this direction are easily dismissed as inauthentic."

The conference had already been forced into several venue changes after a string of hosts cancelled due to pressure from local politicians. This lead organisers to accuse the Brussels mayor Philippe Close of seeking to "cancel" the event. Concerns were also raised over security issues due to protests, with the conference shuttering the main entrance of the venue so people couldn't get in.

In a democracy we tolerate the expression of all views no matter how obnoxious, providing they are legal. Trying to suppress these people just plays into their hands, gives them an element of legitimacy and arguably mirrors the sort of crackdown they may impose on their opponents if they ever got into power.
Yes It should not have been closed down cos it has now given them some publicity. However Braverman etc is an MP. Should she not have been in Parliament dealing with issues that,at the moment, are important to THIS country not political ideology. Also she should have been in the UK REPRESENTING her constituents.
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