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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Day for Freedom: reclaiming the right to free speech

The Day for Freedom, in London on 6th May, was a showcase of characters I have followed and featured in my articles: for example, Milo and Sargon of Akkad. So I didn't want to miss it. Sadly, this invigorating and necessary event was either ignored by the mainstream media, or described by the contemptuous Guardian as a 'far-right rally'. Certainly there were elements associated with right-wing views, but the broad brush of 'political correctness' and laws against 'hate crime' is tarring us all. Opinions that would have been run-of-the-mill in the 20th century are prohibited in the 21st. Censorship is indeed progressive.

On a scorcher of a day, when many would have headed to the coast, four thousand gathered to defend their right to say what they think. Demographically, the majority was white British, with a mix of age and social class, from beer-barrelled blokes to young middle-class women in summer dresses. The good-natured crowd did not seem ideologically purist: perhaps they could best be described as anti-establishment populists, with enthusiastic cheers roused by mentions of Brexit. I saw numerous 'Make Americs Great Again' caps.

Many of the gathering had marched from Speaker's Corner, where the shift in our culture is most blatantly revealed. While you enjoy your weekends at home, this world-famous British institution has been hijacked by fundamentalist Muslims, who have turned it into an outdoor place of worship. Despite this contravention of the Royal Parks' code, anyone criticising it is threatened with arrest. See the videos online: police officers acting as guards of this pulpit of radical Islam.

Compere was Raheem Kassam of Breitbart London, who was one of the Brexiteers in that photograph with Donald Trump in his gold-plated lift lobby after the presidential election. Raheem wanted to spread the love: to a contrarian bearing an EU flag, the riot police, and even the masked Antifa counter-demonstrators further along Whitehall. The latter may be the real peddlers of hate, but we should love them too, because we love free speech, right?

A succession of speakers urged a fight-back against state censorship and its causes. UKIP leader Gerard Batten spoke of the absurd Crown Prosecution Service's guidelines stating that any utterance, irrespective of its legality, may be classed as a hate crime if it causes someone offence. Communist regimes used such repression to prevent people from speaking the truth about the dreadful failures of the system, and cultural Marxists have taken this further, siding with authoritarian Islam. Anne-Marie Waters, leader of the new For Britain party, contrasted the phrase often heard in her childhood 'It's a free country', with today's 'You can't say that'.

Then it was the libertarian's turn. A highlight was Count Dunkula (real name Marcus Meakin), the Scottish YouTuber who was convicted of hate crime for a prank with his girlfriend's pug, which he trained to give a Sieg Heil salute. The prosecutors spent two years seeking evidence of his racism, but having found none, managed to secure his conviction on the basis of interpreting what he was thinking at the time. 'Where's the Nazi flags?' asked Sargon of Akka (a.k.a Carl Benjamin), who is now labelled as 'right-wing' because he opposes identity politics. The establishment won't leave you alone, he said, because 'your personal life is their political project'. One of the billed speakers couldn't be there in person. Lauren Southern has been banned from the UK for her offensiveness to Islam, but she appeared on a large screen, with the volume raised – yards from Downing Street. That was good theatre.

The most outrageous stint was by Milo. Camp, crude and recklessly carefree in who his jokes offended, he refuted allegations of anti-Semitism by saying he's glad that the Jews run everything. Jesting apart, his speech had plenty of serious messages. 'White privilege' is a tool of the establishment to keep the plebs down. Ask the working-class victims of rape gangs in northern towns about their privileged status in life.

Finally, the star of the show. Hundreds chanted his name. Tommy Robinson is no sophisticated orator, but he connects with those who feel neglected, exploited and criminalised by the political class. Twitter closed his account after complaints about his strident anti-Islam tweets, while Hezbollah and Hamas still have theirs, as do violent far-Left agitators. People have been arrested for merely stating the truth about the Koran. Facts, indeed, are now hateful.

Then came a poignant moment, when mothers of the schoolboys (Josh, Harry and George) killed in an apparently hit-and-run incident last year in west London were invited to the stage. Bearing a union jack with the slogan 'justice for our boys', they thanked Robinson for his help. As the driver was given a stiff prison sentence, I wondered what Robinson meant when he accused the authorities of a cover-up – he alerted the crowd to his forthcoming expose.Conspiracy was an underlying theme of the afternoon.

When Tommy Robinson took a side-swipe at the media, he reminded me of someone. An uncouth, blustering figure from outside of politics, who confronted the American establishment, and incredibly became president of the USA. Whisper it: beneath the radar of the BBC is the beginning of a patriotic revival. As the national anthem was sung to close proceedings, it seemed that the silenced want their country back.

On returning home I searched for reports of the event, but found nothing in the Mail, Sun, Telegraph or BBC. It was left to slurs by the Guardian and Buzzfeed. Turning my attention to football, I watched the scenes from several grounds on the last day of the season. Exuberant pitch invasions on the final whistle at Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers. Bossy but futile commands on the tannoy to get off the pitch. Through thick and thin, these fans loyally support their club, and now it was their moment in the sun. Once they break free from their chains, people can get quite a taste for liberty...

More from the author on Twitter @CraeNiall

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