That’s what Owen Jones seems to be calling for here, censorship of the entire national conversation. Essentially, people he doesn’t like shouldn’t get on the TV or radio. And we already know that Twitter and Facebook are being urged to ban all “extremism,” the definition of which is stuff people don’t like.
What a gloriously liberal order they’re trying to build, eh?
“But all ideas must be freely debated!” goes the glib liberal response. So let this be put bluntly. The far right is not a legitimate political perspective. Bigotry is not a legitimate political perspective. These are irrational forms of hatred that categorise certain human beings as inferior and as dangerous based on their race or religious creed. By providing the far right with a platform, you instantly provide them with legitimacy and respectability. Their hatred simply becomes just another political belief, like whether we should nationalise the railways or cut taxes on the rich. They become “that bloke off the telly”.
To define what is a “legitimate” political belief is indeed to censor. Various places have tried it too. Varied fascist states said that anything other than national control of the economy was not a legitimate belief. And banned, poured castor oil down the throats of, those who advocated otherwise. Various other states, at about the same time, insisted that anything other than proletarian control of the economy – led by the revolutionary vanguard – was an illegitimate belief and shot anyone who disagreed.
Note that this is nothing at all about the beliefs themselves, it’s about the existence of that pre-filter. That determination of what is legitimate or not.
I’m not exactly noted for my support of the British National Party – neither their socialist economics nor their Nordic race ludicrosity appeal – but Nick Griffin did have a point about northern girls being gang raped, didn’t he?
It’s not though just that Owen Jones wishes to ban from the airwaves things and subjects and people he doesn’t like. The real reason is implicit here:
The British media are not going to defeat the far right. They will continue to give a platform to them and legitimise their leading figures. The press, in particular, will keep feeding them by spreading hatred and lies about Muslims, migrants and refugees. The far right will not be debated out of existence. It will be defeated, not by the media’s clever bastards, but by a left that offers hope and combats racism and bigotry without apology.
That Corbynite free lollipops for everyone promise is in direct competition for the support of exactly those same people that “far right” is chasing with stories of Heimat. The white British working class, exactly the group in play as an electoral base at present.
Owen Jones just wants to ban the competition. How liberal of him, eh?