Heresy or carrying a torch for Wightman

Doubtless the next week will be full of commemorative events regarding the Titanic sinking. However for those interested in free speech and free expression then April 11th- the day that I write- has significance. For today is the 400th anniversary of the last person to be burnt at the stake on the charge of heresy and he was a Staffordshire man. Edward Wightman went to the stake on the 11th April 1612 at Lichfield. He was a businessman and local Baptist minister in Burton. He also had business interests in Uttoxeter and Cheadle. Continue reading

Should the principle of free speech be extended to Geert Wilders.

By Tony Walley,

Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders

A man who is facing charges in his native country of inciting racial hatred has overturned a ban on preventing him from entering Great Britain. A decision taken by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Geert Wilders had been invited into the House of Lords by a Ukip peer to show his controversial film Fitna.

The film criticises the Koran as a facist book and shows extreme Muslim clerics preaching. Wilders describes this film as “a call to shake off the creeping tyranny of Islamization.”

Talking to BBC Radio 5 live’s Victoria Derbyshire this moring he said he was invited to the House of Lords by Lord Pearson to organise the showing of his film at a later date.

“It’s a short visit, not to show Fitna or have a debate, we will have that later,” he said.

He said he wanted to come to the UK to debate the issue with people who both agreed and disagreed with him.

“I believe it was a good day yesterday for the freedom of speech. I believe the decision of the UK government was political, it was not based on law,” he said.

“Never – and I have been to many countries and had this debate – has anything violent happened. And I’m a democratic politician and I only use democratic means like speeches. This is the way it works in civil society.

Our government are making a concerted effort to rid us of the Muslim Cleric’s who preach hatred on our streets.  What can be gained by allowing a man who likened the Koran to Hitlers Mein Kampf, a platform to spread his views?

Should this ban have been overturned?

Over to you…