Friday, February 13, 2009

Freedom of Speech

Geert Wilders holds extremly unpleasant views with which I disagree fundamentally and which many people will find very offensive.

He has produced a film which links various verses of the Qur'an with various terrorist outrages in an attempt to unfairly tarnish the Muslim faith as a whole with a belief in terrorism.

Unfortunately the Government appears to believe that because they find his views unacceptable and/or offensive, or they fear that some people may find it so, they have stopped him from entering the UK.

Strangely though they have not banned the film itself.

In my view freedom of speech is only worth having if one supports it for people one most strongly disagrees with.

The line we should draw, in my view, is when it comes to actual incitement to violence. If a film actually incites violence, or someone speaking at the showing of a film actually incites violence, then they should feel the full weight of the law.

However, offensive as it is, the film does not incite violence at all.

You can see it here and judge for yourself.

Please do let me know, if after watching the film, you have been incited to violence.

There was a very good debate on newsnight about this last night which you can see here. Maajid Nawas of the moderate Muslim Quillam Foundation argues the liberal case very effectively alongside Christian writer Rev Jay Smith.

As Maajid argues, I want to be able to hear arguments I disagree with, have the opportunity to argue against them, and have enough confidence in my arguments that they will prevail.

I do not want or need Government Ministers to decide what arguments I am capable of judging sensibly. I can decide that for myself, thanks very much.

(Oh - and Keith Vaz is an idiot.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What planet are they on?

According to this mornings papers, Ministers are 'trying to negotiate' a cap on RBS bonuses of £25,000.

This is 'a bid to silence the public outcry over the City's culture of huge rewards and dangerous risk-taking'.

What planet are the Government on?

We OWN 68% of RBS. Ministers shouldn't be negotiating, they should be telling RBS to take a running jump, preferably from a very high floor.

The fact that RBS are even suggesting bonuses in the current situation shows that they still have not got the first clue about their culpability for the financial crisis nor any idea of how they are seen by the rest of the population who have had to bail them out.

The fact that a Labour Government thinks a cap on bonuses, set at a level higher than most people earn in a year, is in any way acceptable, shows how comepletely out of touch they are with reality too.

And is it really too much to ask that there might be at least a hint that the Government's motives might have something to do with what is right, rather than what is expedient?

Bankers should not be getting any bonuses at all, for several years if ever again.

Senior Executives, whose massive salaries were justified on the basis that high salaries were needed to attract 'the best people' have blown that theory right out of the water. They trousered millions in the good times, and they should be taking salary cuts now.

And we, or at least anyone who is still feeding the profits of these numpties, because we share the blame for letting them get away with it, should move our accounts to the nearest mutual building society.