Protesters appear to have stopped Nick Griffin (BNP Leader) and David Irvine (holocaust denier) from taking part in a debate at The Oxford Union this evening. Whilst stopping people whose views you find offensive from speaking publicly may seem a just cause, there is a flipside. Both Mr. Griffin and Mr. Irvine are so off the scale in the offensiveness or sheer ridiculousness of their opinions that I'm inclined to believe you should let them speak. Only this way are people able to see their views questioned and ultimately denounced. Muscling them out of the public eye just means that they can justifiably claim that their right to free speech is being denied. Let them speak and let their views be confronted and I'm sure, as the title of this piece suggests, they will hang themselves. That is, ultimately, the point of free speech; a principle many of the protesters outside The Oxford Union are busily practising. I can't imagine The Oxford Union would have given them an easy ride as nobody would really expect this to be the natural habitat of their typical supporter.
It's a tough one isn't it. You worry that their views, if given a platform, will become popular or accepted but that does a disservice to the intelligence of the people they are speaking to. Sure these guys do have support, but it is small, poorly organised and generally speaking, extremely bad at expressing its views without frothing at the mouth.
Let them have a go at getting their views across. They won't succeed and next time fewer people will be so vexed by their presence until ultimately, they disappear up their own you know what.