As its contribution to the end-of-the-year lists genre, Spiked has published a piece by Patrick Hayes entitled “The worst 10 assaults on freedom”, which has now been reproduced in its entirety by the EDL-linked British Freedom Party.
The BFP’s support is hardly surprising, given that Number 7 on Hayes’ list of “assaults on freedom” is the use of Crasbos against far-right thugs:
“In March, English Defence League (EDL) member Shane Overton received a Criminal ASBO banning him from attending or helping to organise any demonstration, meeting or gathering held by the EDL, and even from visiting its website for 10 years. Later in 2011, police tried to slap an ASBO on EDL leader Stephen Lennon that would have prevented him from having any involvement with his own organisation.”
It’s worth recalling that Overton, while passing through Doncaster railway station on his way back from an EDL demonstration, racially abused a Muslim family as they were waiting for a train, terrifying their children.
But according to Hayes, while Overton’s verbal assault was unpleasant and should be criticised, it represented a legitimate expression of opinion: “He didn’t throw punches at these individuals; only words. If we hope to live in an open and free society, feeling free to say what we think – even if it causes offence to some – is of primary importance….”
Hayes was particularly outraged that anti-racists should support Overton’s conviction: “Because left-leaning groups disagree with what Overton said, then not a word is spoken in his defence. Working-class ‘thugs’, it seems, don’t deserve a right to free speech.”
We’ve remarked many times on how the tendency once known as the Revolutionary Communist Party has evolved from sectarian ultra-leftism to right-wing individualism. But over the past year things have gone further than that, with the former RCP now emerging as an open apologist for racism and fascism.