The Vox party in Spain is a beacon of hope for those who don't want to see the country ripped apart. It recently shocked the political establishment by winning 12 seats in Andalusia. It's also polling around 10 percent for this month's parliamentary vote, an election that could well determine whether Spain remains one country.
So it's nothing short of shocking that over the protests of a television network, Vox was recently banned from a major debate via a court order.
Spain's election board blocked on Tuesday the far-right Vox party from participating in the only confirmed debate between leading contenders for the April 28 election...
Atresmedia said it would comply - though it did not agree.
"Atresmedia maintains that a debate between five candidates is of the greatest journalistic value and most relevance for voters," the network said in a statement after the ruling.
Vox reacted defiantly, tweeting that separatist parties had swayed the decision. "It's clear who calls the shots still in Spain: the separatists. Until April 28. Because a great victory for #LongLiveSpain will see those parties who wish to destroy our co-existence, constitution and homeland banned."
[Spain pulls far right Vox party from pre-election debate, by Sam Edwards, Reuters, April 16, 2019]
Obviously, this makes a mockery of democracy. Yet rather than condemning the decision, British journalists and politicans are wondering whether they can do the same thing.
We can learn from this in the UK. The usual response of the far right to criticism of their actions or policies is that to deny them a platform is to deny them free speech.
However, with free speech comes responsibility – responsibility that Ukip and the Brexit Party willfully ignore with what they say and who they surround themselves with.
Ukip and the Brexit party are registered political parties. Nigel Farage has his own show on LBC and writes for the Daily Telegraph. Gerard Batten is interviewed regularly on prime time political shows. Those media establishments who pay them are doing so, knowing full well that they are giving a platform to people who have between them incited violence against MPs, made light of comments about rape towards female MPs and whipped up hate against the Islamic community.
Spain knows full well the horrific consequences of facism under Franco. They have done the right thing by preventing a dangerous far right party from getting a seat at election debates. It’s time we followed their lead.
[Spain has banned the far-right Vox party from a TV debate. Why don't we do the same to Ukip and Nigel Farage?, by Chris Key, Independent, April 17, 2019]
This column was approvingly promoted by Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato.
Journalists and establishment politicans increasingly define "democracy" as simply "implementing the policies we like." We now have a situation where when a referendum goes the "wrong" way, it is simply ignored, as is happening with Brexit. We have a situation where if the media doesn't like a popular candidate, the rules are simply ignored, as happened to Faith Goldy. And we have even had situations where certain political parties are outright banned.
At a certain point, governments that base their legitimacy on the "consent of the people" and act this way have to be considered no more legitimate than the governments of the Eastern Bloc, which also had pseduo-elections and claimed to be "democratic." Indeed, people under those governments were more free than people today [The Liberalism That Isn't, by Costin Alamariu, Daily Caller, September 7, 2017]. Let's hear no more flowery rhetoric about the supposed "freedom" of the West. The Free World is dead and those who claim to act as the "defenders of democracy" are its murderers.