Saturday, 19 August 2017

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Defend It? – Words Of Wisdom – George Brandis

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – Tyranny Of The Minority (Part 3)

FREEDOM LOVERS will be familiar with Mick Hume, one of Britain’s most well-know free speech advocates. He is the author of three books – There is No Such Thing as a Free Press … And We Need One More Than Ever (2012), Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech? (2015) and Revolting! How the Establishment are Undermining Democracy and What They’re Afraid of (2017).


This article – Tyranny Of The Minority – is based on his new book Revolting! Part one of this article looked at how – in the light of Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump – some members of the elite are wondering if ordinary voters are fit to make decisions on major issues. Part two continued with this theme as does part three. Interestingly, Hume appears to suggest that the arrogance displayed by the elite goes against them.

As we’ve previously noted, this article originally appeared in the Daily Mail in late February. However, we’ve taken the decision to reproduce it in four sections – as we feel that this is the best way to stimulate debate. Thus, if you have any comments please leave them on the Free Speech Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/ once you see this article appear.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Mick Hume, the Daily Mail and Free Speech.

You can read Part 1 of Tyranny Of The Minority here:

Tyranny Of The Minority (Part 3)

Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel (left) has compared the bitter EU Remain lobby to Saudi Arabia’s ‘army of erasers.’ Mick Hume (right) is a well-know freedom lover and author of three books dealing with free speech.

Thankfully, not all clever people took this anti-democratic line.

Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel observed how: ‘As soon as the result was in, millions signed a petition to rub it out and do it again. The bien-pensants suggested the result was not binding, but advisory — an opinion they would hardly have offered had the vote gone the other way.’

Mantel compared the bitter Remain lobby to the ‘army of erasers’ she had encountered in Saudi Arabia, who dealt with things they didn’t like — pork, Israel, women’s equality — by simply removing mention of them from public life.

Interestingly, Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, observed that the disdain the Establishment showed for those worried about the EU had probably encouraged many to vote Leave — and attacked those who claimed ‘if you even contemplate voting for Brexit, you must be either ignorant, uneducated, stupid or racist.’

The emphasis of many critics of the referendum was on the ‘lies’ of the Leave campaign and how they had led gullible voters astray.

Yet research by the Electoral Reform Society leads to the opposite conclusion — that the majority declined to be swayed or bullied into submission.

They kept their eyes on the bigger issues and voted Leave because they wanted more control over their own lives, UK politics and the country’s borders.

Millions made the entirely rational calculation that these reasons were important enough to support Leave, even if the immediate economic impact was uncertain and might prove adverse. A fall in the pound could be a price worth paying for an increase in democracy and sovereignty.

Yet still their motives are impugned. One of the nastiest tricks of those who lost the referendum was to claim that those who voted for Brexit (and Trump) were racists and xenophobes. In which case their votes should be seen as morally illegitimate.

But the small-minded prejudices actually on display here were those of leading Remainers towards working-class voters.

The sad truth is that to the elite, such people are far more alien than suave Brussels bureaucrats.

Significantly, almost immediately after the referendum result, a new scare started over a reported spree of ‘hate crimes’ against immigrants in the UK. The political elite seized upon these allegations as proof that the Brexit vote had been a demonstration of British racism.

But does anybody seriously believe that 17.4 million UK voters backed Leave for racist motives?

The truth is that Britain today is a more tolerant and anti-racist society than ever before.

• For an excellent review of Trigger Warning click here: https://countercultureuk.com/2015/07/26/trigger-warning/

• To check out a review of Free Speech click here: http://nationalliberal.org/review-of-issue-1-of-free-speech

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – The Historical Importance Of Magna Carta Day
THURSDAY 15th June marked the 802nd Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. As National Liberals will know, its signing – by King John and his Barons – represented the first time a Monarch accepted that he/she had responsibilities and their ‘subjects’ had rights.

We feel that the signing of the Magna Carta was the first step in establishing the right to free of speech and assembly. These rights were further strengthened during the reign of King William III (who, along with his wife Mary, were crowned joint monarchs of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1689) which ensured ‘Civil and Religious Liberties for all.’

To mark Magna Carta Day our friends at Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/ – produced an e-poster and article, which we reproduce below. They asked their supporters to viral it out via social media to remind everyone of the historic importance of the day and to wish everyone a Happy Magna Carta Day.


The following article – supplied by Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – examines why the issue of freedom should remain central to any political agenda.

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The Historical Importance Of Magna Carta Day

FREEDOM LOVERS recently took time out to celebrate Magna Carta Day. However, immediately afterwards we resolved to re-double our efforts to defend free speech, especially – but not exclusively – from establishment attacks.

Why? Because we feel that the establishment will use the rise of Islamist terrorism in Britain as an excuse to clamp down both on freedom of speech and assembly. During the recent election campaign Theresa May made plenty of noise about the need to curb ‘extremism’ as well as combating terrorism. Free Speech realises that much of this noise, to some degree or other, would have been sound bites, designed to appeal to reactionary Tory ‘right’ supporters – basically, the ‘flog ‘em and hang ‘em brigade.’

However, freedom lovers should be wary of Theresa May’s approach for several reasons.

Firstly, at the moment Theresa May is down – but she’s not out. And that makes her a very dangerous woman indeed. Election promises aside, she does have a reasonably long-term record of wanting to clamp down of Human Rights legislation. And when it comes to freedom of speech and assembly she is more ‘hawkish’ than many of her fellow Tories.

Secondly, her ‘government of certainty’ with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) may wish to lay down a marker when it comes to Islamist terrorism. It’s probably fair to describe the DUP as a socially conservative political party that is totally opposed to any terrorist group which threatens the United Kingdom. This is hardly surprising given Ulster’s recent past. With this in mind, we’re concerned that it wouldn’t be difficult to persuade the DUP to clamp down on ‘extremism’ in the name of fighting Islamist terrorism.

Free Speech feels that it would be sheer hypocrisy and political opportunism for the establishment to use the terrible events of Manchester and London to justify clamping down on freedom of speech. Our position is simple: either we all have rights or none of us have rights.

(As an aside, are we alone in wondering if the Manchester suicide bomber and London Bridge terrorists are, to some degree or another, mere pawns in a wider geopolitical ‘war of position’?)

Thirdly, May – and others on the reactionary right – talk a lot about ‘extremism’ but never seem to provide a legally binding definition of ‘extremism.’ What exactly is ‘extremism’ – indeed, how would you define it? We’re worried that its definition could be left so vague that it could potentially include those opposed to capitalism right through to those who would go out and kill people in the name of Allah.

With all of this in mind, we feel that it’s essential that we stand up for the right of free speech and assembly – as well as the concept of Civil and Religious liberties for all. Free Speech appreciates that, on a personal level, it may become very uncomfortable to make a principled stand on this issue. No doubt, some elements of the establishment mainstream media will twist our position and produce fake news stories claiming that we support terrorism!

However, if freedom lovers don’t make a principled stand, who will? We should not abandon our ancient rights (effectively granted by the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215) and merely surrender to political expediency, media pressure, the need to be ‘popular’ or simply go with the herd.

Remember, the establishment is smart and will use any excuse as an opportunity to ban groups and organisations. Any legislation designed to silence ‘extremists’ will simply be the thin end of the wedge. In the past the establishment has picked on ‘unpopular’ groups – in the recent past it was the British National Party or Religious (but non-violent) fundamentalists – and demonised them. If the ‘unpopular’ group is not banned outright, the establishment will try to make it near nigh impossible for it to organise. It will be subject to numerous restrictions and smear jobs. ‘Counter gangs’ could also be used to fight it on the streets.

To reiterate, when making any informed decision subjects relating to freedom, we must always examine the cold hard facts, figures and evidence. In addition, we should not let our emotions get the better of us. As we noted earlier, we should not abandon our ancient rights and merely surrender to ‘political expediency, media pressure, the need to be ‘popular’ or simply go with the herd.’

As a pressure group, Free Speech is not interested in being ‘popular’ – we’re only interested in being right. And it is right and proper to both support free speech and assembly and the concept of Civil and Religious liberties for all.

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From The Liberty Wall – National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate (5) – Is It Racist To Want NHS Nurses To Speak English?

NATIONAL LIBERAL TRADE UNIONISTS – NLTU – are deeply unhappy at the current state of the National Health Service. The NHS faces many challenges: the threat of privitisation, low wages and morale, outdated equipment and a unhealthy reliance (in terms of a form of self-sufficiency) on foreign workers.

In futures articles the NLTU hopes to examine all of these problems. However, we want to kick off by looking at the role of foreign NHS healtcare workers, not least because the subject was recently aired by a NHS psychiatrist, Dr. Max Pemberton. His article – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4392300/DR-MAX-Not-racist-want-NHS-nurses-speak-English.html – appeared in early April.


The NLTU found Dr. Pemberton’s article very thought-provoking, especially his brief mention of the EU. One of the reasons why the NLTU supported Brexit was that the policy of allowing the ‘free movement of capital and labour’ between EU member states means that big business can chase – and exploit – the lowest wages across Europe. At the same time British workers have seen with their own eyes the massive influx of Eastern European workers. Understandably they want to improve their lives – but the result of their movement has placed enormous strains upon local services. With this in mind, we found it hard to believe that other Trade Unionists who supported the Remain campaign were effectively supporting the rape of Eastern Europe.

If you have any comments specifically realting to Dr. Pemberton’s article – or the NHS in general – please leave them on the NLTU Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/277840098977231/ once you see this article appear.


It goes without saying that there are no official links between Dr. Pemberton, the Daily Mail or the NLTU.

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It’s not racist to want NHS nurses to speak English

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The National Health Service needs to be saved. But is it healthy to be so reliant on foreign workers? Have your say.

What rot! Having control of our borders will mean that we are able to choose who can come in.

We will, therefore, be able to allow into this country those from the EU who have skills that we need, just as we currently do for those coming from outside the EU.

In fact, just over 25 per cent of the NHS medical workforce is from outside the EU — countries such as India — compared with the 10 per cent from the EU.

But why is the UK so reliant on staff from overseas in the first place? What happened?

Britain was once at the forefront of the development of biomedicine. We are head and shoulders above other nations in our contribution towards medical science. From penicillin to DNA, our discoveries have changed the course of history.

So why can’t we organise ourselves well enough to train sufficient doctors and nurses to keep the NHS afloat?

The current situation in which the NHS needs to recruit staff from all over the world, while celebrated by some of the liberal elite as evidence of how ‘inclusive’ and ‘tolerant’ we are as a nation, makes me profoundly uncomfortable.

Why is it celebrated that we effectively steal the best medical staff from impoverished, struggling countries? Why is it that we have to import staff — who may not fully understand the language, culture or practices of our country — as a matter of routine?

A House of Lords committee has now waded into the issue, saying that the NHS is ‘too reliant’ on foreign staff and blamed successive governments for failing to plan. It argues that our reliance on foreign workers is the biggest threat to the NHS.

I completely agree. I’ve seen this myself in psychiatry. In some areas of the country, nearly half of posts are unfilled simply because there aren’t the staff for them. This means trusts increasingly have to recruit from abroad.

Things are so dire that they will employ people who, frankly, I wouldn’t trust to look after my goldfish. One former colleague told me she had struggled to get work in her own country, so came here because she knew she’d walk into a job.

But if she was not deemed good enough for a job in her own country, why is she considered good enough in ours?

In one hospital where I worked, they recruited health care assistants (HCAs) from outside the EU. The interview was conducted in local dialect by a local recruiter, and one of the HCAs arrived not being able to speak a word of English. Not a word. I had to teach her how to say ‘Good Morning’ to the patients.

How could she be expected to take blood pressure readings, record the results and then tell me if there was a problem? How could she reassure anxious patients if she could not even speak to them?

Recently, a wholly unhelpful sensitivity has sprung up around talking about this, yet it has to be said: many of these recruits struggle with English, have limited written communication skills and are from different cultures with different attitudes and beliefs. Why is it considered racist to be concerned that patients can’t understand the nurse trying to explain something to them?

While we’re wasting money left, right and centre in the NHS on managers and paper-pushers who contribute absolutely nothing to the welfare of patients, why can’t the money be channelled into training adequate numbers of staff to meet our needs?

We rely on more overseas health staff than any other European country. What an embarrassment.

Rather than giving ourselves a self-satisfied pat on the back that we employ staff from all over the world, we should acknowledge that the reason we do this is because of our own ineptitude at workforce planning and hang our heads in shame.

• CHECK out our previous NLTU debates here:

National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate 1 – How Can we Achieve Our Main Aims? http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-national-liberal-trade-unionists-debate-1-how-can-we-achieve-our-main-aims

National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate 2 – What Should Be Re-Nationalised? http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-national-liberal-trade-unionists-debate-2-%e2%80%93-what-should-be-re-nationalised

National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate 3 – Bob Crow: What Is His Legacy? http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-national-liberal-trade-unionists-%e2%80%93-bob-crow-what-is-his-legacy

National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate 4 – How Should Trade Unionists View The EU? (06/05/14) http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-national-liberal-trade-unionists-debate-4-%e2%80%93-how-should-trade-unionists-view-the-eu


• CHECK OUT issue 1 of Liberal Worker - the voice of National Liberal Trade Unionists. To get hold of your FREE pdf copy simply request it by e-mailing natliberal@aol.com Also look out for more information about issue 2 in due course.

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Defend It – Words Of Wisdom – Baruch Spinoza

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From The Liberty Wall – Nations without States – Syria’s ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ (Part One)
WHATEVER the reasons behind the armed conflict in Syria, there’s no doubt that the war between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and his many ememies – in particular those associated with Islamic State – has become increasingly bloody. Indeed, hardly a week goes by without some form of atrocity being reported.

But is every atrocity being evenly investigated and reported to the same degree? And are all the innocent victims – in particular defenceless children – receiving the same attention? Or is there some perverse ‘hierarchy of suffering’ at work in Syria?

Robert Fisk is one man who appears to think that there is some form of ‘hierarchy of suffering’. Fisk is the multi-award winning Middle East correspondent of The Independent, based in Beirut. A veteran and highly eperienced reporter, Fisk has lived in the Arab world for more than 40 years, ‘covering Lebanon, five Israeli invasions, the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Algerian civil war, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and the 2011 Arab revolutions’
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The article reproduced below first appeared in The Independent of 17th April http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-suicide-attack-refugee-buses-trump-only-cares-sunni-children-a7687066.html However, Nations without States has taken the decision to to reproduce it in two sections – as it’s felt that this is the best way to stimulate debate concerning the situation in Syria.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Robert Fisk, The Independent or Nations without States.

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If Trump cares so much about Syrian babies, why is he not condemning the rebels who slaughtered children?

US President Trump doesn’t seem to care when some Syrian children are killed. Nearly 100 children were recently killed but they don’t count as their parents supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Robert Fisk (right) seems to believe that there’s some form of a ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ in Syria. Is he correct?

Dozens of children were killed in Syria this weekend but where is the US president’s lament on how ‘beautiful’ they are, let alone action? Where are the denunciations by the EU and the UK? The West must react with equal outrage when it is Shias that are the victims of terrorism. Or do we just not care?


It was the Mother of all Hypocrisy. Some dead Syrian babies matter, I guess. Other dead Syrian babies don’t matter. One mass murder in Syria two weeks ago killed children and babies and stirred our leaders to righteous indignation. But the slaughter in Syria this weekend (1) killed even more children and babies – yet brought forth nothing but silence from those who claim to guard our moral values. Now why should this be?

When a gas attack in Syria killed more than 70 civilians on 4 April, including babies and children, Donald Trump ordered a missile attack on Syria. America applauded. So did its media. So did much of the world. Trump called Bashar al-Assad “evil” and “an animal”. The EU condemned the Syrian regime. Downing Street called the gas attack “barbaric”. Almost every western leader demanded that Assad should be overthrown.

Yet after this weekend’s suicide bombing of a convoy of civilian refugees outside Aleppo killed 126 Syrians, more than 80 of them children, the White House said nothing. Even though the death toll was far greater, Trump didn’t even Tweet his grief. The US navy launched not even a symbolic bullet towards Syria. The EU went all coy and refused to say a single word. All talk of “barbarism” from Downing Street was smothered.

Do they feel no sense of shame? What callousness. What disgrace. How outrageous that our compassion should dry up the moment we realised that this latest massacre of the innocents wasn’t quite worth the same amount of tears and fury that the early massacre had produced. It fact it wasn’t worth a single tear. For the 126 Syrians – almost all of them civilians – who have just been killed outside Aleppo, were Shia Muslims being evacuated from two government-held (ie Bashar-held) villages in the north of Syria. And their killer was obviously from al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) or one of the Sunni “rebel” groups we in the West have armed – or quite possibly from Isis itself – and thus didn’t qualify for our sorrow.

The UN, clip-clopping on to the stage-boards as usual, did speak out. The latest attack was “a new horror”. And Pope Francis called it “ignoble” and prayed for “beloved and martyred Syria”. And having been brought up by a pretty anti-Catholic dad, I said what I often say when I think the Pontiff has got it right, especially Francis: Good old Pope! Why, even the virtually non-existent anti-Assad “Free Syrian Army” condemned the attack as “terrorist”.

But that was it. And I recalled all those maudlin stories about how Ivanka Trump, as a mother, had been especially moved (2) by the videotape from Khan Shaykoun, the site of the chemical attack on 4 April, and had urged her father to do something about it. And then it was Federica Mogherini, the EU’s ‘High Representative” for foreign affairs and security policy, who described the attack as “awful” – but insisted that she spoke “first of all as a mother”. Quite right, too. But what happened to all her maternal feelings – and those of Ivanka – when the pictures came in from northern Syria this weekend of exploded babies and children packaged up in black plastic bags? Silence.

(1) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-bomb-attack-children-dead-civilians-swap-bashar-al-assad-a7686241.html

(2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/ivanka-trump-donald-bomb-air-strikes-sir-kim-darroch-syria-chemical-attack-sarin-idlib-province-a7674951.html
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