Justifying the banning of the EDL is a bit of a tricky manoeuvre for far leftists like Nick Lowles. After all, Trots are all for freedom of speech, aren’t they? Are they hell! They never have been and they aren’t today. But that freedom-loving image is important. It appeals to naive students. Lowles even has the decency to admit, to his leftist readers, that
‘there will be understandable fears about other ways such laws might be used to silence dissent and freedom of speech.’
Oh! So he does care about dissent and the freedom of speech? Not quite. He believes in the right examples of dissent. He believes in the correct examples of freedom of speech. That is, dissent and free speech which he and his fellow leftists agree with. If they are bad examples of free speech or dissent, that is, not Muslim, or far leftist, etc., then he is absolutely against them. Basically he wants to ban them (though he hasn’t the honesty to use the word ‘ban’). Just as the far left has always wanted to ban things and has done so in the countries where it gained power.
Of course, what’s the use of being pro-dissent and pro-freedom of speech if you are highly selective about which examples of dissent and free speech you are in favour of. Basically, if you are selective in Lowles’ manner, you are, in fact, not in favour of free speech and dissent at all. As Voltaire famously said (to paraphrase):
‘I may not like what you have to say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.’
Clearly Lowles does not agree with Voltaire. Then again, Lowles is by far the greater thinker of the two.
Lowles actually cites one good example of free speech and dissent. He thinks it was a bad thing stopping striking miners ‘travelling around the country (as happened in 1984)’. However, it was a good thing to stop ‘football hooligans’ doing the same. More relevantly, Lowles thinks it would be a good thing to do this to the EDL – stop them travelling around the UK.
So it is clear that Lowles is extremely selective about who has the right to dissent and free speech. The EDL? No! Striking miners, Muslims, Unite Against Fascism, anti-fascists, unionists, etc? Yes! What a travesty of support for freedom and dissent. Who would buy Lowles' distorted vision of what these things? Far leftists like Lowles, that’s who!
*) From the Hope Not Hate website: