Well, things have reached a pretty pass when you can’t burn a bit of rubbish in your back garden for fear that a left-leaning Sunday newspaper will grass on you in its zeal for political correctness.
It happened to British National Party candidate Sion Owens – who is standing in the Welsh Assembly elections next month – when the Observer shopped him, apparently, after receiving a leaked video of him burning a copy of the Koran.
Not many people – this blogger included – have much positive to say about the BNP, but it comes down to freedom of expression.
And, yes, no one can forget what happened in Afghanistan after Pastor Terry Jones of Florida presided over the burning of a copy of the Koran last month. However, the killings were not Jones’s fault, any more than similar atrocities – if they happen – will be the fault of this BNP thug.
Owens had the case against him dropped. The BNP says on its website that the police have realised that you can’t make a racial-hatred case – as it says they were doing to do – if Islam isn’t a race. True.
And what Owens did was provocative, and no doubt he’s chuffed to bits that his party is getting publicity out of his act. He’s probably chuffed to bits, too, that he’ll have achieved his fifteen minutes of notoriety.
And, no, I will not say he shouldn’t have done it, any more than I’d say Pastor Terry Jones shouldn’t have presided over a Koran-burning incident in March. All I’d say is: is there a real need to?
If you didn’t feel the need to do it in the first place, you couldn’t be accused of self-censorship by then not doing it, any more than I am guilty of self-censorship by not burning a copy of the Koran or a bible.
I just don’t see the need, think it would be futile and can’t be arsed to do it.