Politics as Usual

In a letter to the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) has called for action to be taken against the Wolfe Tones, who played at this year’s Ardoyne Fleadh.

Allister’s letter, via the News Letter:

You will note that the band clearly lead the crowd in chanting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation. Given that a case is currently before the courts where a pastor has been accused of breaching the Communications Act for a sermon which was posted online in which he attacked Islam in comparatively mild language – there was certainly no suggestion in anything which he said that people should support terrorists who set out to kill Muslims – I write to inquire what action the PSNI intend to take against the Wolf Tones?”

Whether the purpose of this letter is to highlight the hypocrisy of the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland (PPS) in choosing to prosecute Pastor James McConnell for his politically incorrect sermon against Islam is unclear. By tempting criminal investigation, Allister nevertheless demonstrates the myopia afflicting too many Northern Irish politicians. Blinded by his own politics he is incapable of seeing the big picture, that in trying to silence the Wolfe Tones for their endorsement of the IRA he is actually arguing against McConnell’s right to use politically incorrect language during sermons.

In a democratic society that supposedly believes in freedom of speech, you don’t get to decide whose speech is worthy of prosecution and whose isn’t. Speech is either free, or it isn’t. That holds for the PPS. The same holds for Jim Allister and the TUV.

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