There’s freedom of speech and then there is stupidity…

November 27, 2007


This is David Irving, a historian that deny’s the holocaust occured. Obviusly he’s on another planet. And then there is Nick Griffin; well we know who he is.

The students Union at Oxford, and these are our elite students, had the absurd foresight to ask this pair to come and debate? Debate what exactly? We all know the views of these individuals.

So, if you think society has got this anti racist lark right, think again. This is as bad as the teddy bear scenario in Sudan reported on in the Twining Chronicles below.

We may not need to worry about the likes of Irving or Griffin because they can get away with it and they are academic. The problem is the seed they generate in others who then get into mainstream employment. Unbelievable. By the way this debacle took place yesterday, November 26th 2007.



  1. Twining,

    Firstly, well done – good blog.

    Secondly, I can’t agree with you here. I have first hand experience of the Union. Who it the arbiter of who can and cannot speak in such places? You? Me? I know I couldn’t be. What gives me the right to overarch the wishes of my peers? Who decides who the “bad men” are? Democracy? Well here the body concerned had a full vote and the vast majority favoured the debate. So back to square one. What right do we have to inflict our wishes on the majority?

    Lets pretend I am a Christian. That I don’t like Judaism. Maybe I am the minority but if Judaism’s teachings offend me, by your argument, don’t I have ever right to silence Jews? Again, who decides that one type of offence is worse than another? Surely offence is entirely subjective and pragmatic – unique to the mind of the offended party?

    Secondly, I think it is vital we hear such characters more than anyone. The Union, more than anywhere, is not about nicety, about debating ‘nice’, ‘easy’ issues. Afraid we have to decide the tough issues too. It is more vital than ever that we debate such issues and who better than the sharp minds at Oxford to do this? There will be the next generation of government among the seats of that debating chamber. To have a fair debate you must hear all sides, not just the nice ones, or the ones you agree with. Intelligence does not take such powerful views second-hand, through the blur of the media. I for one do not take everything I read in even the finest of newspapers, as the whole truth. We’ve all witnesses many examples. The first thing I was taught in my degree was never to take things second hand, but to always make my own assessments.

    Don’t get me wrong – there must be some limits on majoritarianism, on democracy. But for the sake of just offence? The more readily we impose limitations on free speech the closer me get to totalitarism, to intolerance, to embodying the very value we purport to criticise. For some the preaching of Islam or Judaism are just as offensive as Irving’s views. Should we silence these religions too? Much better to draw the line at violence and incitement to violence – real harm, not just imaginary offence. Irving, for one, has never call for violence or harm to Jews as far as I’m aware.

    Frankly, it was the people outside the Union last week who behaved as oppressors, by trying to stifle debate and free will and even physically attacking people. I was left wandering whether the fascists where outside the walls as well as inside the chamber.

    Maybe this won’t convince you, but these are my views.


    PS – Though this shouldn’t be relevant at all I myself am from a Jewish immigrant family (though I am second generation) and lost two great grandparents in the holocaust. I detest both Irving and Griffin. I reject everything they say and despite this, I will fight for their right to speak. This way we can all make up our own minds and enjoy the freedom I believe that my great grandparents and so many others died for.

  2. David, thanks for coming over. I hope people take the time to read what you say. Another faith should never be offensive to someone that does not follow that faith, but you are right people view things in these ways. What they then fail to understand is their prejudices.

    Even I am lost with this. We may disagree, I do believe in freedom of speech, but fostering hatred based on false beliefs is not right and we are a police service. That’s the bottom line. Do we then take part in something that is racist or stop it? We have to remember that Irving and Griffin may not get their hands dirty, just like some Islamic radicals will not, but they will cause others to do their dirty work.

    The other reality is when we work outside the recognised norm we will never be viewed as able and this relates to your comments about a good blog. The other so called normal blogs will always be better in the eyes of the majority.

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