EDL ban is illiberal

I am not a fan of demonstrations. To me they smack of that group at a public meeting who shout loudly and then claim they represent the feeling of the meeting.

I am especially not a fan of the EDL. Not in my name etc. Bunch of idiots.

But…

The right to demonstrate is part of our political process, and is especially important for groups who consider themselves marginalised. Whether if the left or right.

As a Liberal I have a special regard for JS Mill and the harm principle in particular. Mill asserts “one very simple principle” that “the only purpose for which power can be exercised […] is to prevent harm to others.”

The EDL should be allowed to be obnoxious short of harm, just like those who wish to counter-march should be allowed to.

Not withstanding complications offence is not a harm. I am offended by the views of the EDL, but I am confident that argument and education will win. The major parties have taken on the BNP and beaten them. It is the absence of argument that they thrived in: either neglect or now by being prohibited.

This ban will strengthen the EDL.

Update: fixed typos!

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Filed under LibDems, philosophy, politics, Tories

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