Hate speech and prejudice take a beating as Parliament’s Petitions Committee schedules 18 January for a debate on a proposed Donald Trump UK ban for hate speech. An unprecedented 580,000 people have signed an online petition started by Aberdeen Voice contributor Suzanne Kelly.
At 10,000 signatures the government made a response which can be found on the petition website.
Kelly welcomed the strongly-worded response, and replied to it as follows:
“I welcome the Government’s affirmation that it rejects attempts to create division, and that coming to the UK is a privilege which can be denied to those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values.
“Much has happened since the petition was lodged on 28 November. When Trump came out with the astonishing statement in early December that Muslims should be barred from entering the US, it justified the need for this petition. At the time of writing, 567,000 people are asking for the ban.
“Freedom of any kind comes with responsibility; this includes free speech. Freedom of speech is not the freedom to engage in hate. Words can wound and can be a rallying cry to violence. If anyone doubts that speech can cause harm, reflect on how many physical fights start with verbal provocation, and how much harm is caused by verbal bullying in schools and in domestic situations.
“The reality of hate speech’s ability to incite violent acts is why the UK’s laws have stopped some 80 individuals from entering the UK to date. Trump has never, as far as I know, apologised for any of his verbal attacks.
“I am not someone known for wanting to ban one thing or another. Over the years I have fought to stop books and artwork being banned. However, there is a saying- ‘your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins’. In other words, freedom is not freedom to cause harm to others, and from the facts I personally conclude Donald Trump’s words are demonstrably causing harm. I do not see how the government can do other but ban his future entry.
“An educated person may laugh off Trump’s diatribes, and wonder why any action is needed. Unfortunately not everyone who hears prejudicial, hate-inciting speech stops to question or analyse what they hear.
“Our government believes hate speech is illegal, witness the many who have been barred UK entry. Most of these banned people were hardly household names, so how much more weight might hate speech carry when it comes from someone who is a television personality, and would-be US president?
“Trump has money, celebrity and influence. We know that people listen to celebrities; our advertising industry spends millions of pounds on sponsorship because of it. Donald Trump’s fame is helping to spread his hate-filled rhetoric.
“If the UK government needs evidence that Donald Trump’s hate speech can encourage violence, sadly this can be provided.
“The New York Times and other media have documented the surge in violence in America directed at Muslims since the tragic ISIS / fundamentalist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino  – and since some high-profile politicians have used these incidents as fuel for hate speech which can escalate problems. Some respected academics are greatly concerned by this trend .
“There are cases which link Donald Trump’s influence directly to violence. Californian William Celli attempted to make a pipe bomb with the intention of attacking Muslims. Celli is a huge Trump supporter. Celli said he would ‘Follow Trump to the end of the world.’ The end of the world might well be where they wish to take us. But I for one am not intending to follow them there.
“As I said, my petition predates Donald Trump’s remarks about Muslims; here is the story of a man I had in mind when lodging it: A homeless Hispanic man was attacked in Boston by men who openly say that they were inspired by the words of Donald J Trump. They beat the man with metal poles. They broke his nose. “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” is what one of the accused said to the police.
“There is no further proof required that hate speech carries consequences and that Donald Trump’s hate speech has directly caused violence.
“George Osborne made a statement to the effect we will not ban Donald Trump. I think the decision is not his alone, and his premature words call for comment. Osborne may feel that “The best way to defeat nonsense like this is to engage in robust and democratic debate, and to make it clear his views are not welcome.” – but that is little comfort to victims of Trump’s hate speech.
“I doubt anyone willing to hit another person with a metal pole because they are homeless and Hispanic is open to persuasion by ‘robust and democratic debate’. Perhaps Mr Osborne wants to change the laws on hate speech that saw the previous bans; but at this point in time, banning Mr Trump is the government’s clear responsibility.
“It will take more than a few harsh paragraphs from the UK’s Prime Minister to send the right message. We need to ban Donald Trump from bringing his violence-inspiring vitriol here.
“Donald Trump is also widely – chillingly – promoting the idea of killing people whose relatives are involved in terrorism. His own words testify why he should be banned from the UK: “…with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.” He did not say they need to be arrested and tried by a recognised court; he said ‘you’ have to ‘take out their families’. It is remarkable a would-be president has such little knowledge and/or respect for international law and conventions.
“Does his statement sound like an incitement to murder? I believe there are those for whom this message could well have violent repercussions. I note that have not heard Trump call for ‘taking out’ the family of Celli, the would-be terrorist pipe bomber who intended to target Muslims. What kind of message shall the UK send back to Trump for his rallying cry for executions?
“If Mr Trump had said he wanted to ban anyone with links to militant violent organisations including ISIS, then that would have been a fairy reasonable statement. But he placed every single Muslim into a group which he says needs to be barred from US entry and monitored. He is perhaps the highest-profile promoter of Islamophobia there is in the entire world.
“As a brief aside, anyone who preaches hate and violence, whatever their reason or religion, is an enemy of the stability which the world desperately needs now. There are serious global issues that require international cooperation, understanding and attention; we cannot allow anyone, even Mr Trump, to fan the flames of hatred. I hope his supporters will think again.
“In 2007 there were between 2 to 7 million Muslims citizens or residents of the United States. What the United Kingdom does with regard to my petition is not just about one man, Donald Trump; it will be sending a message to Trump’s targets, his opponents and his supporters.
“I do hope the UK government will consider all of the repercussions of Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim statements, as well as all of the sexist, racist, and nationalistic remarks he continues to make. The United Kingdom has in this petition an opportunity to say that anyone, even a billionaire, cannot mock people with disabilities, cannot disrespect women or label all Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists and call for them to be walled into Mexico, and still be welcome here.
“Many people will be watching this debate closely. Those who oppose banning Trump will need to explain their decision – not to me – but to 567,000 United Kingdom citizens. Banning Trump may well make us more secure; it would also send a message that there is not one law for the powerful, and another for the poor.
“In opening this petition I ran the risk of being ridiculed, but I have found that half a million people feel as I do. Groups have organised events and other petitions to show support for people being persecuted because of their faith. It is reassuring to see people from different backgrounds coming together to denounce hate speech.
“I am well aware how many problems and how much hatred exists around the world. I am also aware that within living memory an accomplished speaker’s words took the entire world to war and millions died as a result. No one thought that man would get into power. Donald Trump wants to be arguably the most powerful man in the world. If there is a chance that Trump could get into power, then the trajectory of his hate speech and its stated aims cannot be laughed off or dismissed as simple ‘free speech’.
“If the UK government is serious about its stated aims, then this is arguably the strongest, most clear-cut case for banning it has ever had before it. Please side with the half a million strong who make this request as a small step towards a more tolerant and peaceful United Kingdom – and a less hate-filled world.
“I thank the Petitions Committee; the administrators of the petition, the Home Office and the Government for considering this petition; I do not see how this request, made by so many, backed by fact and precedent, can do anything except succeed.”
- Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Well done Suzanne, and I sincerely hope thos will not be a “fixed” debate with a decision already made to ignore over half a million people
STOP PRESS – This evening the Trump organisation threatened to pull its investment out of Scotland if The Donald were to be banned UK entry. Here’s what I say to that – Suzanne
Donald Trump is a man that knows the cost of everything – well, a hugely inflated cost of everything – and the value of nothing. Let’s look at what he’s actually chosen to do today. He’s threatening Scotland once again as he did over the offshore windfarms that if he is barred from entering the UK, he’ll pull out of his Scottish Golf courses. The irony of a man who wants to ban Muslims from entering the US throwing a temper tantrum over being similarly banned himself is apparent to everyone except the tycoon himself.
Perhaps a man who is actually suitable presidential material might have done things differently – and instead of issuing hollow economic threats would have profusely apologised for painting all Muslims as terrorists who need to be monitored and kept out of America. As to the value of these investments, we were promised thousands of permanent jobs (although I believe many would be cleaning toilets and bedrooms). We were promised millions flowing into our economy every year. What is the reality? A man who’s stopped our experimental offshore wind farm programme thereby costing thousands of jobs and who has cost untold sums in fighting his court appeals, which finally failed. The course at Menie is thought to have lost £2 million last year. Jobs? Other than hiring Sarah Malone, wife of Aberdeen Journals Ltd’s Damian Bates, what permanent, desirable jobs have been created? How do the jobs created weigh against the jobs in the energy sector his appeals are costing? How does his investment compare to the cleaner energy we might be enjoying? For me, even if half of his figures stacked up – there is no amount of money that for me will ever undue the environmental damage at Menie. If our electors value money more than the rights of Muslims – and everyone else he has denigrated, then we may need new electors. Some might consider this to be blackmail on his part – and as such there’s more than a little deja vu along with it. Pull his investments? I should think he’s got no choice: who on earth will be playing at a Trump course now?
What a pointless petition.This has nothing to do with what D T said in his speech ref a ban on -immigration until they know whats going on in the U S.
I think this lassie S K has a deeper issue with D T.
By jumping on the sensitive subject of ……..religion or culture call it what you will.
Setting a petition to ban someone for their views, after all it’s just one mans opinion. Could the same be directed at you S K ? Could the people that disagree with your point of view get you shipped out to a let say for argument sake, the warmer climes of Middle Eastern country as it seems your views obviously very strong and you will certainly not be bothered by D T.
Trump is not, in the context in which he said these despicable things ‘just a man’. He is asking to become one of the most powerful politicians in the world.
To get there, he is trading upon his record as a ‘successful businessman’. Our knowledge of him here is not of him as such. He has proven himself time and time again as a bully and braggart.
I wouldn’t let him run a tea shop , let alone a country.
Anything we can do to highlight this specimens enormities is a good deed – both fir the Menie residents and the good people of the USA.
On another point.
If I was being (wrongly petitioned) banned from a country that I had invested money etc… I would be a Mug not to withdrew my investment and put it elsewhere.
For you to accuse me of a temper tantrum is plain stupid.
I think you are the one to have the hissie fit.
Lets say you had a house with beautiful furniture and you where told to leave the house as you were no longer a desirable resident, for whatever reason.
Would you leave your beautiful furniture in this house etc ….? Of course you wouldn’t.
So if D T wants to take his money he has every right to.
For you to try and score out of this by dressing it up as a tantrum. What does this make you.
He does not have to apologies to anyone for what he said in my opinion…. Get it ” my opinion”.
Andy from Central Scotland
Why should SK be banned from her home? DT is not a UK resident he is an egotistcal man who thinks wealth can buy him the right to spew hate speeches.
if DT wants to leave his Scotland investments, then fine. If the Menie Golf Course is truly a world-class course, then someone will buy it, and leave the overblown housing plans to moulder. If it’s not, then the dunes will reclaim it, as they rightfully should. The whole place was probably just a tax write-off for him anyway, seeing how little investment he made as compared to what he promised. As for world-famous, historic Turnberry, do you honestly think there’s NO OTHER billionaire in the whole world who wouldn’t buy Turnberry? Someone who’d buy it and remove the ‘Trump’ from ‘Trump Turnberry’ and turn it back into a prestigious establishment again. Trump’s got his name on far too many buildings and enterprises in this world. Scotland can survive being a Trump-free zone!
I do hope Andy g that you are never subject to such hate speech where you fear for the lives of your family and yourself because someone doesn’t like your skin colour, race or religion. I for one signed to ban DT as he is not the kind of man I want walking the streets of our country. I personally would love a world were such awful crimes don’t exist but unfortunately they do, having a man on a podium saying what he wants to do scares the life out of me. I commend Suzanne for all that she has done its about time someone stood up too DT and over 580 000 folk can’t all be deluded!
Lara Brown – Aberdeenshire
Someone has to stand up to the radicals Laura, look at the problems in Germany over new year and the mass slaughters in Paris last year, the left wing look the other way view isn’t going to make the problem go away, I’d suggest it has helped spread the problem.
Good on Mr Trump for not bowing to terrorists, unfettered immigration as allowed by Merkel is only making the problem more widespread, that Trump doesn’t want that happening to his own Country should be applauded.
What a ridiculous suggestion to ban Mr Trump the right to travel, reeks of personal agendas and no surprise to see who started the petition.
It really is ironic, Mr Trump suggested barring unknown Muslims from coming to the States and it is met by a response suggesting we do the same to him coming to our Country, can’t you see how illogical that is??
The authors hatred of Mr Trump is nothing more than a dummy spitting exercise imo, she was defeated over Menie and can’t move on from it.
If your belief that DT “hate” speech causes violence and for that he should be banned, then certainly you should be looking at any and all Imam’s who spew “hate” and, in essence, push their followers to the ISIS fight. You must admit that those imam’s speaking about challenging government policy’s in the name of Islamn can be construed by some as a call to become militant by joining ISIS. You can see the effect the Imam’s speech’s have. Surely you are smart enough to see that… With you acting as the speech police,judge and jury when it comes to identifying “hate” speech, I am sure dissident voices will be silenced and there will be no more Paris or Belgium tragedies.
Ms. Kelly complains about Trump, yet it is the UK that is being overrun with the Sharia loving hoards. I think Ms.Kelly is wrong headed liberal that just loves finding another reason to hate the US.
In America, we have a very good rule, which is that one may say whatever one wishes, so
long as one’s words do not create a “clear & present” danger of violence or serious injury,
as when one falsely cries “fire!” in a crowded theater. In all other cases, Thomas Jefferson’s
dictum applies: that the proper corrective of vile or irresponsible speech is the antiseptic
effect of sunlight & fresh air. In other words, a thorough ventilation. AS to whether being in
HM realm is a privilege or not, my cousins in Cros Mhic Lionnáin might venture an opinion, to
which I would defer.
PS. A tip of the hat to Suzanne Kelly, a good Manx name!
Greetings from America: In regards to Donald Trump and your petition to ban him from the United Kingdom. First of all let me say I think you may be confused, you claimed that Muslims are a “race” on The O’Reilly factor. A race of what? We currently have our own immigration issues and a government that chooses to enforce the laws they agree with. Trump called for a moratorium on Muslim immigration because we dont need or want the rape culture that now prevails in Germany and until we can properly “vet” these people, Its a good idea.
I recently discovered that DT’s mother comes from Tunga on the Isle of Leodhas & SK is
treating him as if he were a wee wee German lairdie. Shame, I say!
Pardon this descent into silliness, but I just remembered someone’s having mentioned the
name Mac Crocodile, at some point in the past. Just for the fun of it I’d like to know if any
reader can identify the said person and/or the context wherein his name occurs. Aficionados
of a certain type should know the answer. To give a clue- the name is somehow related to
the Scottish or Irish name: MacGuffin or McGuffin.
Bit late, but I got his last night from a friend in Seattle
I have a pretty good idea whose woods these are, believe me.
And let me tell you something, my people say he’s a complete nobody.
This guy lives in the village. So what if he sees me stopping here?
I dare him to sue me! I dare him!
And by the way, this snow is pathetic.
These are by far, the least downy flakes ever!
I hear they had to import them from Canada.
I don’t know. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t. We’re looking into it.
My horse – he’s the most incredible horse, seriously,
I have the greatest, the classiest horses –
My horse doesn’t even know what the hell we’re doing here.
The horses love me though. They do.
They’re always shaking their bells at me, it’s very loving.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Let me tell you something, these woods are an embarrassment.
They’re not dark. They’re not deep. They’re nothing. They’re for losers.
And I cannot wait to sue this guy.
I cannot wait to sue this guy.
Don’t know who wrote it, but it might cheer folk up a bit
cheered me up – Suzanne Kelly – excellent