02 November 2016

Politicians shouldn't appease blinkered bullies who want to snuff out free speech

You never forget the first time you’re let down by a political hero. Okay, so Roy Hattersley wasn’t exactly my hero, as such, but he was the deputy leader of my party and, more importantly, the man I hoped and expected to be our country’s next Labour Home Secretary when I was a young man.

So his cowardice and dissembling over “The Satanic Verses” controversy was even more inexcusable. The “controversy” was, of course, nothing to do with Salman Rushdie’s novel itself, but rather the extreme reaction to it by the maniacal Ayatollah Khomeini, architect of the Iranian Islamic Republic. In 1989, Khomeini issued a fatwa on Rushdie, demanding his death as a punishment for the blasphemy against Mohammed his book apparently contained.

.... British Gymnastics has behaved deplorably, and our political leaders should say so. And Muslim leaders in the UK should say so too. They should celebrate the fact that we live in a country and society where we can offend each other without the threat of violence or official sanction. [The Telegraph] Read more