Friday, 5 June 2015

I could well be wrong again: my belief that OrangeFest - the fun jamboree organised for George Square by The Orange Lodge - ought to be allowed to happen is based on an argum
ent for freedom of speech. Not saying I agree with the Lodge's politics, mind, just that they have the right to articulate them.

The arguments against this event, however, are as concerned with the city council's active support for the event, including a reception for the LOL and picking up the tab for policing. It is a stark contrast to other events, say left-wing rallies, where the money spent by the council is on containment, rather than facilitation.

Yep, I against the council showing favour to the event. Not because I disagree with the politics necessarily, but on the grounds of fairness. 

But, according to The Scotsman, there is a groundswell of support for my position within anti-sectarian groups.

Dr Rosie, a leading figures on the Independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism, said many believed the Orange Order had "no culture, only hatred".

He added: "A tolerant society requires that we put up with things we don't like. And like it or not, the Orange Order belongs to Glasgow.

"Where laws are broken we should act, no matter who breaks them, but where they are not then we should not be in the business of prohibiting free speech and free expression."

I love how I say 'my position', as if I came up with it.

The Orange Order does have a specific reading of history that emphasises the importance of protestant activity within the UK. It appears to have an idea that God has protected the nation at various points from Catholicism. It stresses the culture of protestantism as a political force. They hold controversial marches that are seen to provoke anti-catholic sentiments.

It was implicated in some ugly behaviour after the referendum. 

It might be time that I explained why I am all for free speech.

1 comment :

  1. Hi, I found your post on tumblr and thought I'd offer my two cents...

    Firstly, I agree with you in regards to freedom of speech, I think that sensible thinking is required (I am quite aware to the shade of contradiction in my opinion). I believe a large portion of people today would agree that there are some 'schools of thought' that offer little or no value towards any intelligent discussion in today's society and that the inclusion of such issues, realistically should not be entertained.
    I offer Katie Hopkins' outrageous comments regarding asylum seekers as one such example? As much as I am disgusted by what she said, not to mention her lack of humanity she has within, I do believe she should be allowed to voice her opinions. Conversely, however, I don't think it's appropriate she should be given a national newspaper platform to spout such uninformed racist nonsense. I see your right to freedom of speech as neither, the right to be heard, nor a 'blanket' to justify sectarian hatred, bigoted taunting and incitement or any other form of baseless hatred or discrimination. Should we overlook the countless examples of intimidation with an irrefutable link to violence? [I believe a 12 year old girl was bottled in the face in Glasgow at last years July marching season]. We're all aware that old firm games were rigidly controlled through heavy policing, early kick off times, liquor laws and anti sectarian legislation amongst other things, for good reason, and rightly lessons were learned... I struggle to imagine who can think that a seven hour festival in the centre of the countries busiest city on a Saturday is a sensible idea??? I will concede I am not totally up to speed with the involvement of SLAB and GCC so I won't speculate further here.

    Lets now, assume that my opinion is 100% incorrect. As the above is simply my opinion, I may stand alone and may very well be 100% wrong... We've considered the rights of the Orangemen... Now, what about the rights of ordinary people? The rights of families to live their lives free from such disgusting behaviour, to live free of discrimination, fear and intimidation?
    If we champion 'true' freedom of speech, surely, the need to apply to government for permission to hold such events sits in opposition to such a value? I recall a documentary I saw on YouTube, 'Taking Liberties' that claimed in 2003(? I think), that when heading for an American military base, 3 coach loads of peaceful protestors, opposing to the invasion of Iraq were stopped, searched and harassed by police and denied their right, eventually being turned around and escorted away. Where were the calls to protect freedom of speech then? While detractors may insist that these are isolated and hypothetical examples, they still merit consideration and highlight the complexity of such a discussion, which should not be clouded further by any level of consideration of redundant and outdated thinking... If it is indeed an outreach and education project and is conducted as such with appropriate behaviour, I will welcome it and gladly eat my words, but I won't hold my breath!