Daily Archives: February 13, 2009

Gideon Rachman

There is a row in Britain about the decision to ban Geert Wilders, a Dutch MP, from entering the country because of his anti-Islamic views. David Miliband, the foreign secretary, cited the old saw about their being no freedom to shout fire in a crowded theatre to justify the ban. In other words, Wilders’s views, (he thinks, amongst other things that the Koran justifies terrorism and should be banned), are a danger to the public order.

I think the ban is a mistake and so, I discovered this morning, do 80% of the pundits polled by the Politics Home web-site. ( I quite often participate in their polls, but missed that one.) The easy reason for opposing the Wilders ban is that it gives a populist and a demagogue far more publicity than he would otherwise have got. But the real reason is simpler and more important – free speech.