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David Cameron must resign from the egg-throwers now

June 9th, 2009 Posted in UK Politics by

griffinToday, a democratically elected politician – albeit one with utterly obnoxious views – was denied his freedom of speech by a flash mob of Unite Against Fascism activists.

BNP leader Nick Griffin had called a press conference and within two minutes it was disrupted. Griffin and his supporters were pelted by eggs.

UAF has an extensive list of Parliamentary supporters. The Tory leader appears on that list. He must demand his name is removed forthwith. An explanation on how on Earth it got there in the first place would be appreciated too.

And the LibDems should ensure that the handful of Liberal MPs listed quit the UAF immediately. They should face  expulsion from the party if they refuse.  God only knows why a Cabinet minister – Peter Hain –  is listed. Perhaps New Labour is now officially comfortable with mob violence over-riding the rule of law. The new minister for Europe, Glenys Kinnock, is also down as a UAF supporter.

The so-called anti-fascists are idiots. They have made Griffin into a free speech martyr. They have certainly given the BNP millions of pounds worth of publicity that they couldn’t have dreamed of otherwise.

But their actions are not just tactically catastrophic, they are morally unacceptable in a free society. They are also criminal.

This is not – by the way – an isolated incident from some out-of-control cell of UAF. Their actions earlier today were enthusiastically endorsed by UAF high command.

Note: The UAF list may well be badly out-of-date. Paul Tyler, for example, is listed as an MP. Many of the MPs and MEPs listed may not even know their names are on this list. They may not even have consented to it. But they have to remove their names. And fast.

UPDATE: I have emailed the two LibDem MPs and one LibDem MEP asking them to remove their support from UAF.

12 Responses to “David Cameron must resign from the egg-throwers now”

  1. burkesworks Says:

    UAF is today nothing more than an SWP front, as so many groups are, thanks to the entryism of Weyman Bennett and others. AFAIK it wasn’t originally, and I’m sure that’s where the signatures of Paul Tyler and others would have come from, but it didn’t take long for the Tiny Trots to overwhelm the organisation much as they did with the Stop the War Coalition and other outfits. I wish that MPs of any stripe would bear that in mind before putting their names to such campaigns, regardless of how contemptible fascism undoubtedly is.

    Did you see Martin Smith on Newsnight by the way? Shouty, inarticulate, and looked like he’d ridden the short bus to the BBC. It’s fair to say Griffin won’t be quaking in his jackboots. Simon Hughes appeared reasonable and statesmanlike in comparison, and believe me the words “Simon Hughes” and “statesmanlike” aren’t often found in the same sentence.

  2. Lee Griffin Says:

    I dislike UAF as much as the next person, but they’re within their rights as far as I’m concerned. Eggs don’t really count as anything offensive to me either, regardless of who they’re thrown at.

  3. Niklas Smith Says:

    @Lee Griffin: well, legally it’s common assault. And would you really like to have to wash egg yolk out of your clothes?

    Who are the Lib Dems on the list? The only names I recognised were Alistair Carmichael MP and Chris Davies MEP. I will also e-mail them.

  4. Niklas Smith Says:

    I have e-mailed Alistair Carmichael and Chris Davies. Who is the other Lib Dem on the UAF list?

  5. Mark Littlewood Says:

    Mike Hancock MP.

  6. Frank H Little Says:

    God only knows why a Cabinet minister – Peter Hain – is listed.

    I would have to check with his office, but I guess a short UAF email appeared among the many addressed to him. His staff thought: “what right-thinking person is not against fascism?” and, in ignorance, signed him up.

  7. Niklas Smith Says:

    @Frank H Little: apparently Peter Hain was a founder of the Anti-Nazi League, so I suspect he is (or was) a more active supporter than that.

  8. Niklas Smith Says:

    Good news: I’ve already had a reply from Chris Davies’ office saying: “I spoke to Chris this morning and he agrees that what took place yesterday is both counter productive and inappropriate, and he would disassociate himself from the actions taken.”

  9. Ed Joyce Says:

    I believe that we need a more concerted action against MP’s and MEP’s who put their name to this group ie a group not an individual response. The real problem with supporting this group is that it is the root of people thinking that ‘the Liberal Democrats do not stand for anything’.

    We stand for freedom of speech and for the rights of elected representatives to hold a press conference outside parliament no matter how much we disagree with their views.

    Mill points out the advantages of Open Debate in exposing the weakness in arguments of opponents of freedom.

    Those MP’s supporting this group are misguided – I believe they would respond to logical argument and that threats aginst them are unnecessary.

  10. Niklas Smith Says:

    No one is suggesting making threats! Here is my e-mail to Chris Davies MEP; as you can see I am making a logical argument.

    Dear Mr Davies,

    You have no doubt seen the undignified scenes outside Parliament when a flash mob of Unite Against Fascism demonstrators attacked Nick Griffin with eggs and placards. According to the BBC, a tourist caught up in the melee was injured and had to be treated by paramedics:

    I was shocked to watch the footage of this incident, not least because I found myself feeling a modicum of sympathy (however briefly) for Nick Griffin, of all people. The BNP could not buy better publicity; had this not happened I would not have known that Messrs Griffin and Brons had held a news conference at all. Instead Nick Griffin toured the TV studios as – absurdly enough – the injured party.

    As Liberal Democrats, I think we can both agree that political violence is always unacceptable. I think we can also agree on the importance of free speech – which is why Lib Dem MPs have been fighting to let people demonstrate outside Parliament. But to the official representatives of Unite Against Fascism (Donna Guthrie: and Martin Smith: ) argue that free speech is a right only for some people. Ms Guthrie announced on the BBC “We don’t believe in free speech for fascists.”

    Clearly there are limits to lawful speech. The difference is that liberals such as you and I see the limit as being defined by the content of the speech – for example, incitement to murder. UAF seem to see the limit as being defined by who is speaking, not what they are saying. Nick Griffin preening himself over how many votes he got cannot plausibly be defined as incitement.

    If I was an MEP I would be pretty unhappy to share my constituency with Nick Griffin, so I can understand why you are a listed supporter of Unite Against Fascism. I also understand that such organisations may list people as supporters without their permission, but the fact is your name is listed on their website as a supporter:

    But I would like to ask you to publicly distance yourself from UAF and their actions and to demand that your name be removed from their list. It is not just that their actions are criminal (assault, aggravated by its political motivation), but also that they are so completely counter-productive. I look forward to your reply.

    Yours sincerely,
    Niklas Smith

    Junior Treasurer,
    Cambridge Student Liberal Democrats

  11. Costello Says:

    The fact that this left Nick Griffin spouting off about it being “a sad day for democracy” and actually coming across as the genuine victim/sympathetic party says it all. An anti-fascist fascist is a still a fascist.

  12. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Chris Davies severes conenctions with UAF, Hancock and Carmichael yet to respond Says:

    […] far, I haven’t had a reply from Alistair Carmichael or Mike Hancock, the two LibDem MPs claimed as supporters by Unite Against Fascism. You can email Alistair at […]