Thursday, 27 December 2012

The petition to deport Piers Morgan is little short of a 'fatwa'

There is something distasteful about the way Piers Morgan is being treated both in the USA and in the UK over his vociferous position on gun control. Democracy is in a parlous state when it becomes predicated on the concept that you are only welcome to contribute if you agree. America is surely bigger than this. Wanting to deport someone because they are a threat to security or a danger to others, or that they have committed a crime, is one thing; seeking to deport them because they hold views within the mainstream is repugnant.

We might argue that it is foolish, or culturally and politically unwise, for Piers Morgan to engage in such a contentious issue as gun control in such a full-blooded way, particularly as such an issue is so divisive. But he has been doing nothing he has not been doing on other issues in his TV chat show. He is an opinionated man. I have no doubt he courts controversy. But I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of his views on gun control. There should be no 'no go' areas in political debate other than those that might incite hatred or prejudice. 

Piers Morgan divides opinion, here and in the USA. He is not my favourite personality.  I doubt that the petition to have him deported is representative of public opinion in the USA, although it is gathering momentum. It now has over 81,000 signatures at the time of writing. But such a petition has hallmarks of a 'fatwa' against an individual person. In a civilized society, individuals should not be hounded in this way. It is a hateful petition. 

Nor is it that America or Americans don't interfere with the politics of other countries. America makes its opinions known. Many of the leading politicians and pundits will often rail against policies adopted elsewhere in the world. They will sometimes bomb other countries; a rather more intense interference than Mr Morgan's words. It will often do so to 'protect' the free world. But in a 'free world' people are entitled to engage in debate. TV presenters are at the front line of that freedom, and that includes Piers Morgan, warts and all. 


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