Friday, May 04, 2007

feeling safe at work?

I am extremely disappointed that my employer has decided to allow the BNP leader to speak on campus. I do not think it is a freedom of speech issue, but a freedom from harassment issue. There are a large number of people from diverse backgrounds at this university (including LGBT people, black and Asian people, and people from various religious backgrounds) who will feel less safe here because of this event going ahead.

As a bisexual Pagan and a Liberal Democrat and a union branch secretary, I don't feel particularly safe.

More information about why the BNP should be stopped:


Joe said...

I hate these faux-Nazi sods, not just for their odious views but because they put decent folks into a quandry over despising them but also being committed to freedom of speech. Let them speak and everyone is upset, don't let them speak and you are being hypocritical to your faith of freedom of speech and these manipulative swine exploit both options happily, feeding off negativity. They buggers even put up enough candidates up here that they were legally entitled to have a TV paty political broadcast the other week, which was sickening.

Yvonne said...

Yes, the freedom of speech issue is difficult, but the BNP would deny freedom of speech and a number of other key freedoms if they ever got into power. There is also an increase in homophobic and racist violence in places where they get council seats. And one person's right to freedom of speech stops where someone else's right to freedom from harassment begins.

Vicky said...

The BNP are the best thing to have happened in this country in the last 50 years. What do you, a student of how many years, know of Fascism? Oh yes you may have read about it, been told by someone else but what do you know first hand? If you feel uncomfortable about them ask yourself how much more uncomfortable you'd feel under Sharia law. And as for Joe's comments, yes they are indeed sickening. All parties have the right to air their views on the media. You try complaining about a Muslim group and see how far you get. Support and Vote for BNP I say. Faux Nazis???? Pathetic!! Vicky.

Yvonne said...

Vicky. I am a member of staff at the University of Bath. I am old enough to know what I am talking about.

I would protest if a member of an extremist Islamist group wanted to speak on campus as well.

So check your facts before you post.

The BNP are a bunch of evil extremists who would not give me or others like me any freedom whatsoever. They are evil. if you think otherwise, you are clearly deluded.

Yvonne said...

Just noticed that you are the same Vicky who posted comments on my "coming out" post, saying you are also bisexual. Assuming you have not either gone mad or someone has hijacked your account, the BNP are homophobic as well. This means they hate lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. It means they hate YOU. So why do you like them?

Chas S. Clifton said...

So your idea of "free speech" means "Protect me from speech that I find distasteful," right?

Yvonne said...

Hi Chas

I spent a whole week arguing this issue, so am now exhausted by it, but basically my argument is that freedom of speech exists in relation to, or in the context of, other freedoms, such as the right to freedom from harassment. Also speech is not just idle words, but an act, which can involve incitement to commit physical acts. Some of the people involved in the BNP have gone on to commit acts of extreme racist and homophobic violence, such as the Soho nail-bombing. Also whenever the BNP is allowed a platform, racist violence increases.

Yes, I think free speech is important, but there are limits (slander and libel spring to mind as obvious instances where it is limited). The BNP slander and libel Jews, gays, and Black people every time they say anything in public.

Chas S. Clifton said...


Why are you blogging then? Get over to the university library and start burning books.

I am sure that among their covers you will find ideas that are libelous, slanderous, and harassment, even if the authors lived centuries before you.

Quick, the matches!

Yvonne said...

Oh that's not what I meant. I meant that slander and libel are an example where free speech is limited; you can be sued for them. In the case of the BNP, they do more than just slander and libel, they also incite people to hate crimes (like the aforementioned nail-bombing).

There's offensive ideas - like the idea that, say Americans are imperialists taking over the world - that's merely offensive; and then there's downright dangerous ideas, like the idea that it was a good idea to kill 3000 people on 9/11, or that invading Iraq would avenge them - those ideas are lethal.

I honestly don't know how one reconciles freedom of speech with the need to protect minorities from dangerous fascist loonies. I do know, however, that you can't have a rational debate with the BNP beceause their ideas aren't rational. Here's a summary if you're interested.

Furthermore, the planned event was a speech by the leader of the BNP on a university campus, where students live; they understandably objected to him being invited into their space.

Oh yeah, and burning books is what fascists do.

Yvonne said...

Oh yeah, and Chas, so why are you blocking comments on that blog post if you believe in absolute free speech then? ;)