Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Anti-Labour website hears (but not heeds) electoral watchdog's warning

The new year has barely begun and the Electoral Commission is already flexing its new Government-given muscles, warning website creator Andy Moore that if he doesn't heed their warning over his attack website Don't Vote Labour that "he is not complying" with provisions of the Electoral Finance Act, then trouble will be a-coming his way.

Moore correctly says that the Commission's demand that he include his name and address on the site "is a breach of freedom of speech," and at this stage he has no plans to knuckle under.  Good on him, I say.

But there are others who are less supportive of free speech.  Martin Bradbury for instance, who says "you want to be an attack dog for the right, you gotta be registered" -- which to translate from oaf-ese means "Register with the government in order to criticise the Government." Brilliant!  Or: "Disagree with me, and I will defend to to the death the necessity for you to be muzzled."  With 'allies' like that, free speech hardly needs enemies.

Perhaps protagonists here should be reminded again of some of life's verities. That, as Salman Rushdie points out, without the freedom to offend, then freedom of expression ceases to exist.   And those still left defending the Electoral Finance Act might like to be reminded of the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said that "it is error alone that needs the support of government.  Truth can stand by itself."

Free speech is a precious and delicate flower.  As Saudi blogger Fouad al-Fahran has discovered in being arrested for violating Shari'ah laws on free speech (“everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah”) it is a flower all too easily pruned.

5 comments:

  1. “everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah”....

    Bloody fucking hell! substitute the word 'Shari'ah' with the word 'government' and that describes EXACTLY what this country has become!

    For a heady enhanced flavour, try 'Electoral Finance Act'. Or 'Treaty Of Waitangi'. Or 'Climate Change'. Or 'Sustainability'. Roll these around your mouth and see how they taste, New Zealand.

    Be afaid. Be very afraid. The Sahri'ah has come to every town near you.

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  2. You're on to it, Dave. Little wonder the response of the Clark Government to Fouad al-Fahran's incarceration has been so tepid.

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  3. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. - Evelyn Beatrice Hall

    I disapprove of what you say, and you must register your name & address if you want to say it. - Labour government

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  4. It's not so bad, geez it's not like we're living in Stalinist Russia. So to criticise the government and suggest ousting them means you have to attach your name and address to it. It's not like the government can use the information to harass you, or direct the IRD to do a random audit on you, or add you to a centralised list of dissenters or...

    And it only applies if you say "vote for party x" or "dont vote for party x". Or if you could be reasonably construed as saying "vote for party x" or "dont vote for party x". Or if you say "vote for parties of type x" or "dont vote for parties of type x". Or if you could be reasonably construed as saying "vote for parties of type x" or "dont vote for parties of type x".

    Honestly, what's the kerfuffle? And even if it is a restriction on free speech we need it because anyone utilising that type of free speech is a right wing baby eater, with sinister, rich prick motives. It's okay to restrict their free speech as no good would come of it anyway!

    (The above is written in dripping, venomous, sarcastic tones that are not always apparent in text form)

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  5. This is just shocking!

    Hopefully the 'Don't Vote Labour' chaps have some balls and dare the Electoral Commission to take action...(I can suggest a good QC salivating at the thought of serving the Prime Minister with a witness summons, and he already has prepared his destructive and devastating cross examination once he gets her in Court)...to make a stand against this Socialist evil.

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