Oh, well. The bloody government didn’t listen to what I had to say in my last post. Ho hum. They’ve banned a pair of Phelps nutters from coming into the UK.
Fred and his daughter were due to come to the UK to protest at a staging in Basingstoke of the much-acclaimed play The Laramie Project.
But we learn from a late-breaking story in the UK’s Telegraph (online only at the moment, although I suspect it’ll be in the next print edition) that these fruitcakes are likely to be a threat of some sort.
A UK Border Agency spokesman is quoted as saying, “The Home Secretary has excluded both Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from the UK.
“Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities. The government has made it clear it opposes extremism in all its forms.
“We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country. That was the driving force behind the tighter rules on exclusion for unacceptable behaviour that the Home Secretary announced on 28th October last year.
“The exclusions policy is targeted at all those who seek to stir up tension and provoke others to violence regardless of their origins and beliefs.”
And who is going to decide, every time, what will and what will not “stir up tension”? Won’t a proposed visit by Pope Ratzinger stir up tension if he comes to the UK? You can bet your sweet arse it will. It’ll stir up tension in me, that’s for sure.
Will they ban the bastard? Like hell will they!
I don’t like the Phelpses, but free speech for me means free speech for them (I was going to say “within the law”, but it looks as if our laws will now forbid free speech on the flimsiest of grounds). If they’re likely to break laws concerning public order, and therefore be a threat to life and limb and property, then that’s one thing. Standing outside a building with placards? Well that seems pretty harmless to me.
How long will it be before all protests are banned because any of them might stir up tension? That’s what protests are for. Tension makes people think. Is this the thin end of the wedge? Is the UK government nibbling away at our freedoms to protest by starting with foreigners? If so, how long will it be before we’re all banned from holding up a placard?
We’ve already seen the former head of MI5, Dame Stella Rimington, point out that creating fears of terrorism is just an excuse for the government to stamp on our freedoms.
A manufactured fear of some threat to social harmony is doing the same thing.
Whence spring dystopias. Beware!