Friday, July 11, 2008

EU approved despots

At a time when serious crime, particularly murder by stabbing, is wreaking havoc all over Britain it seems a little odd to me that the trial getting more coverage than most is that of Max Mosley and his unseemly acts with prostitutes.

Apparently, the thing that really matters is not the sadomasochistic nature of the orgy, but the fact there were "Nazi" references. This strikes me as a little curious for a couple of reasons.

First of all, why does the use of Nazi regalia or references suddenly make this a matter of "public" interest. I think visiting prostitutes is disgusting - and visiting prostitutes to have them abuse you utterly perverse, but Mosley is not a public figure in the sense of, say, a politician who visits gay prostitutes to be abused and degraded.

He works for a private organisation and is paid by them - not out of the public purse. From what I understand he has not done anything illegal (though some might argue it should be), he is not a public figure (high profile - yes, public - no) and according to the liberal orthodoxy - which I don't subscribe to, by the way - what you do in private is your own concern.

The other thing that strikes me as curious is the hypocritical fuss made over Nazi symbolism.

Now don't get me wrong - I am no Nazi sympathiser. Nazism was an abhorrent ideology which the world, rightly, went to war to crush.

But so was communism.

Communism was (still is), in my opinion, at least as bad as Nazism - probably far worse. Yet for some reason no one is concerned about Communist symbolism. German law forbids the use of Nazi symbols and the Hungarian government also banned the swastika in 1994 - along with the red star and hammer and sickle of Communism.

But now the European Court of Human Rights has intervened and ruled that .....

Hungary's ban on the use of the red star a symbol of Communism is a violation of the right to freedom of expression, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.

The Court ruling was unanimous. The judges declared that when freedom of expression is exercised as political speech, limitations are justified only if there is a "clear, pressing and specific social need".

Fair enough - but why then is the German law banning use of Nazi symbols allowed. There is no possibility that Germany is going to go down the path of National Socialism again, so there is no "clear, pressing and specific social need" to ban it.

Maybe it's because the swastika still stirs up some bad memories? Nope - the court said that wasn't important.

The court acknowledged that the "well-known mass violations of human rights committed under Communism had discredited the red star and that the display of such a symbol might create uneasiness among past victims and their relatives".

However, the statement continued, Hungary has proved to be a stable democracy almost two decades since the transition to pluralism, and there is no evidence that a restoration of a Communist dictatorship is a realistic possibility. Uneasiness alone, however understandable, cannot restrict the freedom of opinion, the Court said.

Perhaps Max might consider using Russian speaking prostitutes next time adorned with Communist regalia and wearing Che Guevara tee shirts.


JuliaM said...

"Fair enough - but why then is the German law banning use of Nazi symbols allowed."

Has it been challenged yet...? Might this ruling not give a precedent to challenge it?

This might open up a bit of a can of worms!

Julien said...

Just for correctness: The European Court of Human Rights is not a court of the European Union but an independent court belonging to the pan-European international organisation called "Council of Europe" ( with 47 member states from all over the European continent (including, inter alia, Turkey and Russia).

Stan said...

Yeah, I know Julien - but it makes a better post title than "ECHR approved despots"