Saturday, 4 October 2008

In praise of Chris Huhne

. I have to confess I was waiting for somebody to take issue with Chris Huhne's stance on the extradition of the Holocaust denier, Dr Gerald Toben. Alasdair W has duly obliged on A Radical View; he rightly characterises Toben's views as being sickening which I am sure will be the view of everybody reading this blog. It is however wrong that Holocaust denial should ever be a criminal offence purely for the reason that it is criminalising an opinion, a thought.

It does not even bare comparison with 'Islamic extremism' purely because denial of the Holocaust does not imply support for or even incite people to directly commit criminal acts. In and of itself it does not argue for suicide bombings or openly incite violence in the way extremism can be said too; therefore comparing the two things is like comparing chalk and cheese.

I remain unconvinced that the raft of measures that are on the statute book against 'extremism' serve any useful or functional purpose. In fact, I suspect as is normally the case with these things they are counterproductive. So, I am not even convinced of the argument against Huhne's stance on that score. Legally speaking Huhne is completely correct that Holocaust denial is not a crime in this country so the grounds for extradition are questionable to say the least. I find Toben's views abhorrent and wrong but that is barely the point; democracy, liberty and freedom are not there for the people that we agree with but even more so those we disagree with; that is one good reason why Chris Huhne's stance makes me proud to be a Lib Dem.

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