Free speech just took a blow in the UK – sacrificed at the alter of political correctness.
This week, two leaders of the right-wing nationalist group, Britain First, were jailed at Folkstone Magistrates’ Court over alleged anti-Muslim hate crimes in connection to a gang-rape trial.
Paul Golding, 36, and Jayda Fransen, 31, we’re sentenced to 18 weeks and 36 weeks, respectively, for racially aggravated harassment. Golding received only one conviction, whereas Fransen was convicted on three counts.
The pair denied the seven counts total and three charges were dismissed by the magistrate, Judge Justin Barron.
The charges stem from the controversial duos distribution of anti-muslim leaflets and videos depicting the alleged harassment of people they, albeit incorrectly, believed were connected to a gang-rape trial.
The trial involved men of migrant backgrounds. Three Muslim men and a teenager were convicted.
No – this is not Sweden. This is the UK.
The incidents occurred in May of 2017 and the trial began in January.
In one of the incidents, Fransen, with Golding acting as her cameraman, banged on the windows of a shop and screamed “paedophile” and “foreigner” at the occupants of said building.
After this and the other cited instances the two Britain First leaders were involved in, the footage was then shared on the organizations social media sites, including their Facebook page.
Justice Barron told the court that the pair, as evidenced by their actions, were engaged in “… a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”
He also claimed that the two were using the case to garner controversy and to push their own political agenda by manipulating the facts of the trial to suit their ends.
Fransen told the court during sentencing that “This is a very sad day for British justice. Everything I did was for the children of this country and they are worth it.”
It is certainly not the first time a gang-rape has occurred in Britain or in Europe as a whole at the hands of a Muslim migrant, especially since the start of the refugee crisis resulting from the turmoil of the Syrian Civil War.
Understandably, many people in Britain and Europe are lashing out against what they view as a cultural invasion of their homelands, and therefore it makes perfect sense that “far-right” parties and organizations that emphasize nationalism and anti-immigration policies are on the rise. Whether you agree with the Britain First’s political agenda or the morality of Fransen and Golding’s tactics or not, a mature mind can easily discern that such behavior, hateful or not, does not come out of a vacuum.
There had to be a catalyst.
Take Hungary, for instance. Their Prime Minister has a proven track record of not backing down to the EU in regards to refugees.
Poland refuses to march in goose-step with EU directives coming out of Brussels.
Most recently, the Northern League – another anti-immigrant party – seized the reins of power in Italy.
There is a wave of populist anger and resentment – directed at perceived globalist, establishment types – sweeping across Europe.
It is not relegated to Britain.
And this populist revolt is manifesting itself at the voting booths across a troubled, beleaguered continent.
Wherever one stands on the issue of immigration and nationalist movements developing in Europe, as lovers of liberty and defenders of free speech, it is clearly evident that 36 and 18 week convictions are excessive.
If anything, these and similar convictions for hate crime violations will engage and embolden the disenfranchised people of Europe.
If anything, these convictions will make martyrs of Golding and Fransen and cement an image of Europe in the minds of voters as an Orwellian dystopia where thought-crimes are direct threats to the states agenda.
As the Britain First supporters leaving the courtroom after the sentencing of Golding and Fransen cried:
“No surrender. “