Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Saturday Miscellany: SWP, Free Speech & Camel Fighting


SWP: defending the indefensible 

There is an oft used expression that "any publicity is good publicity", except of course it isn't as the Socialist Workers Party have found out recently to their cost. As we all know their "reputation" such as it was anyway, has been dragged through the mud as everyone outside their cult as well as a large chunk of their own members were appalled at the way the "Professor" and his "Lynch Mob" have handled allegations of a rape inside their organisation.

Any "normal" organisation would sit down and seriously consider the way they operate and even perhaps accept some "humble pies" given the circumstances, but no, not in the case of the SWP. A surprising "defence" of how they handled the rape allegations appeared in the Guardian Comment is free section on Thursday March 21st where "Central Committee" member Julie Sherry attempts to defend the indefensible.

She claims that the "matter was investigated and reported as openly as possible". Trouble is no one actually believes that. The committee that "investigated" the matter consisted of 7 people who all knew "comrade delta" and included his (then) "partner! No court in the land would have allowed such a biased "jury" (and I use that word very sparingly in these circumstances) to deliberate on the case in hand.

I have covered the on going scandal in some depth on this blog as have others elsewhere, but you may be interested to read Richard (Lenin) Seymour's reply in CIF the following day here.

The SWP has now had a "minor" split with the formation of the International Socialist Network and the quitting of four of it's student groups. We are told more to come.  The SWP is not only no longer the largest organisation on the British far-left, but it hasn't been for some time with barely a thousand members. The ISN are holding their inaugural meeting next month.

This story is going to run a bit longer it would seem.

Free Speech under threat

Last week the consequences of the Leevson Report for freedom not only for the press, but also for bloggers became disturbingly clear. This has not been the only attack on freedom of speech and opinion as the Times reports today. The decision of the High Court to uphold Boris Johnson's ban on a Christian advert on London buses that said: " Not Gay! Ex-Gay, post gay and proud. Get over it!".

Whilst lots of progressive minded people might welcome this outcome, it actually came with a wee bit of a sting in it's tail. The Times reports that "Mrs Justice Lang said that the ban on the Christian advert was lawful, but that in allowing the the Stonewall poster (Some people are Gay, Get over it) TfL had fallen below the standards to be expected of a responsible public body".

Whist being refused a Judicial Review, the judge has allowed leave to appeal since the issue involved the question of free speech.

In a democracy we all have to accept that free speech comes with a price. Someone, somewhere is going to offend somebody somewhere else. That is something we are all going to have to learn to live with if freedom of speech is to survive.

A Just Fatwa

Wherever there are animals and human beings there are always those who seem to wallow in animal cruelty. The Times reports that a group of Clerics have decided that animal fighting (including dogs, camels and birds) are haram or forbidden.

I freely admit that I hadn't heard of camel fighting, but since readers of this blog know I oppose all blood sports this is one fatwa I welcome.

Don't forget that there is an organisation in this country that campaigns against blood sports (which despite bans continue "in secret"). The League Against Cruel Sports

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