2nd Update: Since I wrote this post last night, Lionheart has reacted more or less appropriately to the situation. See his post here. Clearly he is still mistaking LGF's post stating reservations about the BNP with a personal attack on himself. While I hope that Lionheart will further mull this over, the apology he has issued is, for me, enough to satisfy me at the moment - at least in light of what I believe at the moment to be the reality of the relationship between Lionheart and the BNP, as discussed below. Thus, for my part and as I perceive the facts now, I will, and I urge all people who care about freedom of speech and the assault we face from radical Islam, give Lionheart full support in every possible way. I still see him as a lone voice in a critical situation that concerns all of us, though perhaps in need of better skills in discrimination.
Several days ago, I blogged about the plight of Lionheart, a British blogger under threat of imprisonment in the UK for criticizing Islam. You can see the post here. Between LGF, Pajamas Media, Dr. Sanity and numerous other sites, the post ended up getting several thousand hits. Because of my role in publicizing the situation, I need to weigh in on some very intemperate remarks made by Lionheart since then.
As mentioned, LGF picked up my post linked above and ran the following:
In an absolute travesty of justice, a British blogger who uses the name Lionheart is apparently going to be prosecuted for “stirring up racial hatred”—in other words, for railing against Islam: . . .
There is a good reason why America’s founders strictly limited the government’s power to regulate speech. Modern Britain is an object lesson in the Orwellian consequences of failing to do so, and the inevitable abuse of power that results.
UPDATE at 1/7/08 10:43:47 am:
Konservo notes that Lionheart is a supporter of the neo-fascist British National Party, which leads me to state clearly that by posting about the case, I am not supporting what Lionheart says on his blog—just his right to say it.
LGF does not wish to be associated with or seen as supporting organizations or people who espouse a racist / neo-facist ideology. I am not going to get into the nuances of the blog war between LGF and other sites. I am vaguely aware of what is happening, I don't know the nuances and to be completely honest, I don't care. Agree with it or not, LGF espouses a principled position that needs to be accorded full respect. Further, irrespective of whether Lionheart associated with the BNP, LGF offered full support for his right of free speech.
In a subsequent blog post of which I have just become aware, Lionheart made the following statement in response:
Little Green Footballs you are a traitor, nothing less than the equivalent of a Second World War Nazi collaborator who would have been shot because of his treason - I am sure there are many who would have obliged!
Read the post here. That response shows a degree of immaturity and venom with which I do not wish to be associated.
Since this is playing out on blogs, I must respond here in kind with my two cents. It appears from the comments in LGF that Lionheart has supported the BNP in the past merely because, as he saw it, that was the only political party that was willing to take a stand against the growth of radical Islam in Britain. And that appears to be an accurate reading of the political situation in Britain. In the Telegraph, Britain's conservative newspaper, an editorial the other day explicitly made the point that all three major political parties in Britain are courting the Muslim vote and refusing to criticize Islam in the UK. Lionheart, to his credit, has actively supported Israel and people of all races and nationalities. His support for the BNP appears to be on the sole ground of their stand against the growth of radical Islam in the UK. Lionheart appears a brave person in an ever dire situation.
The way for this to be handled was by way of simple explanation, either by e-mail to LGF asking LGF for an opportunity to explain the situation or an even tempered blog post by Lionheart explaining the situation. This is a situation that cried - and cries - for reasoned response, not histrionics.
Unless and until Lionheart acts publicly to withdraw his remarks and correct this situation, I will no longer support him in any way with the exception that I will support his right of free speech. We all make mistakes and do things that, in the light of day, we wish we could retract. I do hope that Lionheart realizes that he has severely mishandled this situation. Should he choose to respond in a measured way to resolve this situation, I am prepared to again offer him my full support in all of his very worthy and brave endeavors.