‘Freedom of speech’

Padraig Reidy of the New Humanist has a go at Denis Fernando, Socialist Action, Respect, the Muslim Association of Britain and Eamonn McCann – all in one short Tribune piece. Needless to say, they’re all guilty of “selling out political ideals to religion”. By which, of course, he means “Islam”.


Who said what to who? The ultra Left stands exposed in its true colours

From Tribune, 7 April 2006

By Padraig Reidy

AS SO often happens in life, it was the beer that got me thinking. Having taken shelter in a cavernous Wetherspoons after the “Rally for Free Expression” in Trafalgar Square, I had a look around at my fellow patrons, most of whom had stood and listened to speakers with me.

They all seemed like very nice people. The place was buzzing with camaraderie (and yes, I do know it’s odd to think of a central London chain pub as “buzzing”, but it was).

This came as a little bit of relief. As someone who believes every single word he reads on the Internet, I was in two minds about whether to go on the rally. Apparently, it was being organised by the British National Party. Or it was being attended by the BNP. Or it was being attended by no one. Or it was being attended by no one but the BNP. Or Peter Tatchell had joined the BNP. I can’t remember quite which.

As it turned out, none of these rumours, the majority of which came from various Leftists, such as Socialist Action’s Denis Fernando, was true. But their hysterical reaction to something as seemingly unobjectionable as a rally in support of free expression revealed something quite distasteful.

You can sort of understand Respect’s position, when taken on its own perverse logic. This is a party that emphatically endorsed the Government’s Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill. Why? Because the Muslim Association of Britain wanted it and, at present, the MAB pulls its strings.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, various hard-Leftists have pulled support from Anthony McIntyre’s online journal, The Blanket.

Why? Because McIntyre has pledged his support to the manifesto “Together Facing the New Totalitarianism” a document signed by the likes of Salman Rushdie, Irshad Manji and Maryarn Namazie which states: “We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all”.

McIntyre has decided to post profiles of each of the 12 signatories, along with the 12 infamous Jyllands-Posten cartoons.

The caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed clearly proved too much even for committed atheist Eamonn McCann, who wrote to the Daily Ireland (a Daily Mail clone) saying McIntyre’s decision was “just the latest confirmation that it has instead been transformed into the cyberdarling of an establishment now set on permanent war footing” and somehow making a connection between publishing cartoons and the war in Iraq (all part of a war on Muslims, it would seem).

Considering that McCann has, in the past, been happy to write for the deeply conservative (and Unionist) Belfast Telegraph and flesh-filled red-top the Sunday World, it seems odd that it’s taken him this long to start caring about religious sensitivities.

Blanket co-editor Carrie Twomey says she has actually been threatened with legal action by various contributors demanding that she remove all their articles from the website.

This is all quite amusing, in the way that only Left-wing spats can be. But at core, it shows a depressing intellectual lack in the minds of some Marxists. It’s another sad episode in the rush to gain political influence by selling out political ideals to religion.

Padraig Reidy is deputy editor of the New Humanist