Monday, November 26, 2007
My son is walking the streets of Oxford with hundreds of other students who are protesting against the Oxford Union’s decision to allow Holocaust revisionist David Irving and Nick Griffin (leader of the BNP) to address students tonight. Unlike most of his friends, who are protesting against the decision, my son thinks they should be allowed to speak. It is a difficult position to maintain. He is nominally a member of the Jewish Society who have written an impassioned letter on behalf of their members, one which probably reflects the views of most of them, but not my son, who thinks that there is a frenzy being whipped up which is preventing people from thinking. Me, I don’t know what to think about it, or I change my mind hourly. I think there are intelligent and moral reasons why they should not be given space to put their views, that these things can't be separated from the real world and made to look as though it's all ok and legit, even though the subject is Free Speech. On the other hand, I regret the fact that the people who might have spoken against them have withdrawn – that an opportunity may have been missed. And what with one thing and another – death threats to students from neo nazis – I am hoping that things don’t turn nasty.