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Wilders’ Victory Signals Change in Britain

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As covered in the Wall Street Journal, a British court has reversed the decision of the Home Office to ban controversial Dutch libertarian politician and filmmaker Geert Wilders from entry to Great Britain.

Wilders was on the notorious list of “undesirables” issued by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, which also included US radio host Michael Savage and more than dozen radical muslim leaders. The controversy surrounding that list was partly responsible for Smith’s early resignation and it has recently been revealed that Wilders and Savage were added to the list as tokens solely to balance out the large number of muslim extremists who were included.

The ban against Wilders received international publicity in February when he was invited by Parliament to give a special screening of his anti-Islamic documentary Fitna and was turned back and refused entry to the country at Heathrow airport.

Wilders hired Arfan Khan, a British muslim lawyer, and spent about $16,000 on legal fees and ultimately won an appeal against the Home Office ruling from the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, which ruled that the Home Office was wrong in declaring Wilders to be a “genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.” Wilders plans to travel to Britain in the next few weeks to show his film.

American talker Michael Savage may benefit from this decision in his outstanding libel suit against former Home Secretary Smith over his inclusion on the same entry ban list which Wilders was on.

This reversal coming on the heels of multiple resignations and scandals in the government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, continues the political trend to the right which is expected to return the Tories to power this fall.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • zingzing

    ruvy: “So, sign off as Matthew – or Nathaniel – or Netanel – whichever is appropiate – and stop whining….”

    actually, it’s none of those. i guess god has many gifts. or something. and how was i whining? you stop whining.

  • Also, just for the record, Cannonshop in #3 has it exactly right. This is no sea-change in British politics, just the system working as it should.

    And isn’t it always such fun to watch how upset the government gets when the courts overrule them? 😀

  • Chris, you’re right that Britain might just have the national temperament to be able to pull off a switch to some form of PR. It works just fine in many countries – Germany and Spain, for example – but has been an utter or near disaster in others – Italy and Belgium come to mind.

    It’s already been done for the EU, Scottish and Welsh assembly and metropolitan authority elections – albeit those bodies have limited powers – and there’ve been no major problems I’ve heard about that wouldn’t have arisen anyway no matter what electoral system was used.

    PR systems often do seem to compel a spirit of compromise and inclusion, which is something we Brits are good at, IMHO. (PR would never work in the US, at least not at national level – politics here are simply too confrontational and acrimonious.)

    Whether it’ll ever happen for Westminster: highly unlikely in the short term, especially if the Tories win the election. And as long as there’s a danger of crazies like the BNP winning seats, that’s probably just as well!

  • I just think that it is time to try something new in UK politics and would like to see the introduction of some form of proportional representation.

    If we did it right, it could lead to a more inclusive form of politics, not the divisiveness we have now.

    If it is right to have all the stakeholders in an industry involved, it also makes sense that all political stakeholders should be involved in the management of the country.

  • my name means “god’s gift.”

    So, sign off as Matthew – or Nathaniel – or Netanel – whichever is appropiate – and stop whining….

  • My name means either “bright fame” or “huge knob”, depending on which authority you subscribe to.

  • zingzing

    “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of zingzing, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

  • zingzing

    also, “father of david, king of the jews.” i am disappointed. i am known only by my son. i will have daughters. and i will name them “david.” i will be as king henry, killing women until they bear me a daughter instead of constant sons.

  • zingzing

    heh. my name means “god’s gift.” bitches.

  • what a strange name, dave. i wonder what it means.

    Well, David means “beloved” in Hebrew. Presumably, therefore, Dave means “belo-“. Make of that what you will.

  • zingzing

    david davies?

    there’s a dave davies, but no david davies in the kinks, david nalle. dave. what a strange name, dave. i wonder what it means.

  • David Davies from the Kinks is a politician now?


  • Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have a fairly effective leader but still suffer from their perennial problem of simply not having enough critical mass.

    Being a Liberal Democrat supporter myself, Chris, I kind of like it that way. Besides: not enough critical mass to do what, exactly? The party has held steady at over 50 seats for the last few elections now. That’s a significant Commons presence, and the Lib Dems can and do have a major influence over which bills and motions pass, particularly the contentious ones which don’t divide the House along neat party lines.

    I like the fact that they act as a control on the worst excesses of Labour and the Tories – unlike in the 70s and 80s, when the old Liberals found themselves whittled down to a half-dozen or so seats. I don’t think it can be entirely a coincidence that this was the era of rampant trade unionism followed by the extreme monetarism of the Thatcher years.

  • I’m glad to see this ruling. Wilders may be a bit of a dinosaur but he’s far from being the worst the European far right has to offer. The notion that he was somehow a danger to the British public was absurd.

    Personally, I wouldn’t write Labour off just yet as far as the election goes, although I agree they passed their sell by date long ago. Based on polls, people were writing off Major’s Tories before the ’92 election as well – and they won. I do think Labour will lose, but it won’t be a landslide.

    I’m also not enamoured of the idea of Cameron as PM, though I don’t think he’d be a disaster either. I haven’t voted Conservative since 1987 – but I would seriously consider doing so if David Davies were the leader. As Chris said, though, there’s zero chance of that happening at the moment.

    Electoral constituency boundaries in Britain are determined by an independent commission based mainly on population but also on physical geography, transportation and other practical factors. There’s little of the blatant gerrymandering you see in American politics.

  • Dave,

    I really wouldn’t argue with Chris about this. Whether he really knows what he is talking about or not (he is citing history that any decent student of history knows), he lives there. You may have lived there for a bit, but he was born and raised in the UK and understands things about the country that would certainly escape me, and very likely escape you as well. On this subject, I would view him as an expert.

    Chris, might I suggest you look up the population of the boroughs today, and their representation in the Parliament of Westminster? Problems like “rotten boroughs” are caused by population movement, and I suggest to you that the population of England, at least, has moved about a bit since 1832. After almost 180 years, the problem might have returned in a different form.

    This is not something I can pretend to know about. But it might be susceptible to your research….

  • As I understand it from some past research I did on how the BNP was trying to win seats in Parliament, there’s still a problem with areas where the population has declined substantially continuing to have representation in Parliament even though they no longer have the population to justify the seat and with district lines having been drawn to the advantage of the ruling party, which has been Labour for quite a long time.

    And for the record, The Guardian which is certainly NOT conservative, has shown similar numbers in their polls.


  • The Daily Mall is another right wing newspaper.

    The rotten boroughs issue was eliminated by the Great Reform Act of 1832, so I don’t think your point has any relevance at all.

    Polls don’t translate into seats because people often don’t tell the truth to pollsters and also because people change their minds over time, particularly in Britain where party loyalty is at an all time low.

  • Chris, the Daily Mail gives Labour and Brown even worse numbers in their poll taken 2 days after the Daily Telegraph poll. They have Tories over Labour at 40% to 25% and have 50% of the population rating Brown as even worse than the abominable Neil Kinnock, though I have to wonder how many of those polled actually remember Kinnock.

    As for polls not translating into seats in Parliament, that’s the great British tradition of rotten Boroughs translated for the modern age. When it comes to gerrymandering Americans are still amateurs compared to the Brits.


  • There is zero possibility of the Tories ditching Cameron or Osborne unfortunately. I could almost vote for them myself if they did!

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in the Daily Telegraph, the owners of which are more likely to put their children into slavery than give the Labour Party anything.

    However, it is certainly the case that Brown has a credibility issue, but that was in no small part caused by the sly and possibly corrupt wheeling and dealing of Tony Blair, who should have left office long before he did. Brown was just left to deal with the consequences.

    When Labour came into power in 1997, it had a lead over the Tories of almost 250 MPs and in the most recent election in 2005 they had almost 160 more MPs; not even the most optimistic polls are showing the Tories as getting anything like that in the next election and if the current small signs of economic recovery grow stronger, which is obviously not impossible, anything could happen.

  • I have to admit I’m not a fan of Cameron. It will likely to be to the Tories advantage if the election is delayed so they can have time to find a better candidate.

    I do think you underestimate the dissatisfaction with Labour and with Brown, though. In the latest Daily Telegraph poll Brown has a negative rating of 71% which is as bad as Bush ever had over here, and Labour as a party was showing only 26% support to the Tories 39%. If those numbers persist into the election that would give the Tories a very strong position.


  • Whilst there is a trend away from the Labour Party, which has been in power for a long time now, there isn’t really a strong trend towards the Conservatives, who on current figures probably won’t have a significant majority after the next elections, which certainly won’t be this Autumn but in the Spring of 2010.

    None of the three main political parties present an attractive proposition for the forthcoming elections.

    Labour is tired, although most of its problems can be attributed to Tony Blair, whose rise and fall from favoured son to corrupt loser is a warning to President Obama.

    The two main Tories, party leader David Cameron and want to be Chancellor George Osborne, rightly make most people’s skin crawl.

    Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have a fairly effective leader but still suffer from their perennial problem of simply not having enough critical mass.

    Maybe it is time to consider if a system of proportional representation would revitalize British politics and offer a way to escape the jaded and predictable routines of first past the post party politics…

  • Cannonshop

    I don’t think it signals a whit of change, Dave. It’s just the process doing what the process is designed to do. Ruling, Appeal, policy changed…like it’s supposed to be changed, by following the rules.

  • Nice to see justice in England. Such a rare thing these days….

  • STM

    Nice to have an independent judiciary …