The strange party that is Respect put a motion to Bradford Council calling for the English Defence League (EDL) to be banned. For sure they used a posh word - 'proscribed' - but what they wanted was them banned because they hold some unpleasant and rather racist views. Apparently this makes them terrorists (I understand that Respect are loony lefties and probably believe in collective guilt but this was an argument I just didn't get) so we can ban them under our rather egregious terrorism laws.
The Conservative Group considered this and decided that we would respond with a simple statement of principle:
"Council affirms its support for free speech"
We took the view that this would remind people of how democracy is important and that free speech is central to democracy. Put simply, without free speech democracy is a sham. We also pointed out that banning things - OK, 'proscribing' - is a great way to get publicity (Cllr Glen Miller our group leader managed to get 'Life of Brian', Robin Thicke and 'Spycatcher' into his speech).
Affirming our support for free speech would allow the police and others to manage (or overmanage as sometimes happens) the risks of disorder and to deal with crimes such as inciting violence. The last thing we needed was a headline saying 'Council calls for EDL to be banned'.
However, we lost the vote - Bradford's Labour Councillors chose to oppose free speech so their own mealy-mouthed piece of fence sitting got passed!
I had to smile! I always knew socialists didn't believe in free speech. And now I have it confirmed!