Banned in Britain

This past weekend, the United Kingdom showed every American why we should be proud to have thrown off their rule.

First, the British Home Office took the incredible step of banning American conservative activist Brittany Pettibone, who was detained along with her partner Martin Sellner at Heathrow Airport. What had Pettibone and Sellner done to merit such treatment? They were slated to deliver a speech on the subject of “threats to free speech in the modern world.” The speech itself was slated to take place at the famed “Speaker’s Corner,” a little part of Hyde Park that Parliament had set aside to permit unlimited free speech all the way back in 1872. And if the idea of only being able to speak your mind in a tiny park corner upsets you already, well, prepare to be shocked, because that’s just one side effect of living in a country without a First Amendment.

The reason British authorities offered for banning Sellner and Pettibone’s is that they were alleged to be “spreading racism,” presumably because one of the threats to free speech in the U.K. is an aggressive and violent Muslim population determined to silence all criticisms of their religion.

And yes, apparently the Muslim religion now counts as a race, because the British government is making policy decisions that only the human resources department at Google could love. Also cited is the fact that both intended to interview the U.K. anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson, again, because apparently criticizing a religion equals racism now.

But wait, there’s more! Not satisfied with acting like a bunch of spoiled Oxbridge brats determined to “no platform” those nasty foreigners, British authorities then took the step of detaining and banning the Canadian conservative activist Lauren Southern from the country on Sunday, holding her and interrogating her in a detention facility for six hours before sending her to France. Fortunately, I happen to be friends with Southern, and so got a window into the experience from her.

Southern’s offense is that in late February, on another pre-ban visit to the U.K., she handed out fliers in London alleging that “Allah is a gay God.” She wanted to illustrate the absurdity and hypocrisy of similar articles that had been run about Jesus Christ being gay by showing how people would react if the name of the God being accused of homosexuality were switched. In short, Southern had distributed the “Allah is gay” fliers not to mock Islam, per se, but instead to mock liberal publications like Vice. That’s right: She was banned for mocking Islam in a segment that wasn’t even intended to mock Islam.

It gets weirder from there. During her interrogation, Southern apparently was questioned about being Christian, and how she felt about running over Muslims with a car. I pause to note at this point that Southern has not once endorsed violence against any religious group, of any kind, nor has she ever so much as mentioned people being run over with cars. This question appeared from nowhere. What’s more, she was detained under a law that is supposed to prevent terrorists from entering the United Kingdom, because apparently a slight blonde girl who does man-on-the-street interviews is now the equivalent of a terrorist in Old Blighty.

Now, one could easily point out that this sort of disgraceful behavior has been happening in the U.K. for some time. For example, one might reasonably mention the banning of American bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer in 2013 (an act carried out under the orders of then-Home Secretary Theresa May) as precedent for this. Indeed, given that May is a ghastly authoritarian on matters relating to free speech, period, a pessimistic observer might consider this par for the course.

A few things stick out about these particular bans, however. Consider that Pettibone’s ban notice lists her intent to interview Tommy Robinson, head of the English Defence League, as an offense. In other words, Pettibone was banned not so much for what she might say, but because she might amplify the message of a British citizen. For the British government to be so committed to suppressing the speech of one of its own people is surely extraordinary in its own right. Further, the other offenses listed all relate to Pettibone’s partner, Sellner, rather than to Pettibone herself. In other words, British authorities couldn’t come up with a reason to ban Pettibone, because there isn’t one, so they instead resorted to banning her by association.

Second, even by dismally low British standards, the grounds for banning Southern are absurd. I pause to note at this point that Southern is well regarded in American conservative media circles for her journalistic work on the plight of South African farmers, and has been featured on avowedly anti-alt-Right platforms such as Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and “Louder with Crowder.” Further, she has disavowed any connection to the alt-Right herself, which she has referred to as “stillborn.” As such, there is no reason to believe that the leaflets she previously distributed were anything but a part of the satirical stunt she describes, meant to illustrate the double standard applied by liberals in the case of Christianity versus Islam.

Say what you like about these kinds of tactics, but they have been a part of conservative apologia for Christianity for years, and should pass muster even in the sanitized environs of the U.K. For a figure as mainstream as Lauren Southern is to be lumped in with racists and interrogated about running over Muslims with cars is the kind of humorless nonsense that is indistinguishable from actual malice.

Which leads, inexorably, to a simple conclusion: if illustrating a generic conservative talking point is now grounds to be banned from Great Britain, then no right-of-center figure across the pond is safe. Indeed, President Trump is probably only permitted in the country by virtue of the high office he holds. For the country that gave us classical liberalism, this is a spectacularly ugly fall from grace, and a worse indictment of the so-called “conservatism” of Theresa May than even her toothless approach to Brexit.

Britain can and must do better, and America can and must expect better from its allies than to act as the very embodiment of the kind of illiberalism that should never characterize any part of the Anglosphere. Alas, when it comes to Great Britain, it appears that the call is coming from inside the house.

Photo credit: Louis Quail/in Pictures via Getty Images

About Mytheos Holt

Mytheos Holt is a senior contributor to American Greatness and a senior fellow at the Institute for Liberty. He has held positions at the R Street Institute, Mair Strategies, The Blaze, and National Review. He also worked as a speechwriter for U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, and reviews video games at Gamesided. He hails originally from Big Sur, California, but currently resides in New York City. Yes, Mytheos is his real name.

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67 responses to “Banned in Britain”

  1. The light is fading in the UK, and it is more apparent than ever they have surrendered without a fight.

  2. Britain is a conquered country. What Germany could not do with force of arms, the left has done with subversion.

    • Britain wasn’t conquered, it has rotted from within. The choking creepers of leftism would never have thrived if the soil wasn’t so fertile; state schooling, healthcare and broadcasting – all of which a politician must support if they want votes. Don’t sneer at Britain, but see it as a warning: the road to Hell is paved with ballot papers.

      • No argument from me. This sort of thing is why my oath, taken in 1975, referred to enemies “foreign and domestic“.

      • You should heed the saying that it’s better to do nothing and let people think that you’re ignorant than to post and confirm it.

  3. Given their propensity to ban free speech, the US needs to add Britain to the terrorist watch list of countries and stop allowing brits into our country. We should also suspend all military and intelligence ties with them as they are no different than Iran, Syra and Lebanon.

  4. The light is fading in the UK, and it is more apparent than ever they have surrendered without a fight.

  5. “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”

    Sir Edward Grey was more prescient than he probably realized.

      • Rubbish, garbage, trash, baloney, BS, and malarkey. You obviously have no idea of the nature of hate speech. Comes with the “conservative” syndrome.

      • To leftists, hate speech is any speech that they disagree with. They also classify it as “violence”. There is a reason why leftism is called a mental disease.

  6. Prove positive of how stopping free speech by calling it hate speech will enable gov’t to stop any kind of speech they dislike by just labeling it hate speech

    • They sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. The pottage in this case being socialized healthcare and all of the other “free” handouts from the State.
      Take care of us cradle to grave, they say, and in return you can have our rights and freedoms.

  7. Now contrast this with British indifference with over 400 ISIS veterans living within their borders.

  8. Seems to me that if Brits had really wanted to live under a fascist regime, they’d have surrendered to the Germans in 1940 and been done with it.

    • The country that hosted Karl Marx had their very own national socialist leader. Many (most?) Brit’s ♥ socialism in one form or another—they’re oh-so-sophisticated that way:

      The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years’ time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white- collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting. This last type is surprisingly common in Socialist parties of every shade; it has perhaps been taken over en bloc from the old Liberal Party. In addition to this there is the horrible–the really disquieting–prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. One day this summer I was riding through Letchworth when the bus stopped and two dreadful-looking old men got on to it. They were both about sixty, both very short, pink, and chubby, and both hatless. One of them was obscenely bald, the other had long grey hair bobbed in the Lloyd George style. They were dressed in pistachio-coloured shirts and khaki shorts into which their huge bottoms were crammed so tightly that you could study every dimple. Their appearance created a mild stir of horror on top of the bus. The man next to me, a commercial traveller I should say, glanced at me, at them, and back again at me, and murmured ‘Socialists’, as who should say, ‘Red Indians’. He was probably right—the Independent Liberal Party were holding their summer school at Letchworth.
      George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)

      • Assets and family mostly here. But going in May for a month Have you been there?

  9. Wow, Europe is a lost cause. I wonder how many years before they are an Islamic stronghold.

    • Have you ever been to Europe? Have you ever left your State? I sense you are a hopelessly provincial rube.

      • Too bad there are no forms of communication to relay information from other countries, no way of hearing from anyone who lives in those countries. If only there was an international network of some kind, tying together computer systems from all over the globe, imagine what that would do.

      • Going to the movies is not real life. Some hillbillies used to think reading and looking at pictures was the same as getting out of their Ozark shanties. Seems you might feel that way.

      • Movies? If you read “movies” in my post, it explains a lot about your perception of the world, as well as your inability to grasp sarcasm. English is your second language?

      • Maybe you’ll do better next time you try. Finding someone who can help you with your reading comprehension would help, and a native English speaker can help you understand sarcasm.

  10. Parliament is supreme In Britain ever since their civil war, and MP leaders serve as the executive branch blurring government accountablity. To make matters worse there is no constitution to limit government to basic principles, only custom and previous laws. If their government wants to control what is spoken they simply make it unlawful. We Americans have a limiting document with a 1st amendment.

  11. Even if Southern were a rabid racist and anti-Semite, who cares? The UK has hundreds of Muslim “leaders” who are exactly that. And almost all of them are foreign born.

    May and the rest of the conservative establishment in the UK are beginning to realize they are on “the wrong side of history”. They are being replaced and are trying to “curry” favor with their new masters.

  12. I read a bunch of her writings and watched several of her “reports”. If I were Britain I would not lets this venomous and hate-filled person into my country either.

  13. Maybe next time Trump enters the UK, he should have Lauren Southern in his entourage.

    • Better yet appoint her to a high position in our embassy.

      • What evil has she done to be exiled so? :)

    • Racial insults are unacceptable in ALL civilized countries. They are not free speech.

  14. Here in America, we, as well as all of the Western nations and other civilized nations around the world better start permanently banning all Mohammedans from their countries, except for limited touring. Mass deportations of all Mohammedans to their native countries must also be implemented. Once Mohammedans get a foothold in any country, they start changing the laws and the culture, then they subjugate and dominate, and that is the 1400 years history of Islam. Go to the CSPII Website listed below and watch Dr. Bill Warner’s videos, as well as the other excellent Websites on
    the list about Islam and its nasty history of beheadings and other atrocities upon non-believers and believers alike. Dr. Bill Warner is a scientist, researcher, data analyst, and founder and director of Center for the Study of Political Islam International (CSPII) and is the world’s foremost authority on Islam and its 1400 years history of domination and subjugation. Many European nations are under siege and being overwhelmed by the Mohammedan invasion, and America is not far behind. Britain is even now banning any criticism of Islam and its insane ideology of butchery, slavery, pedophilia, and murder. Every person in every Western and civilized nation should view these videos and be forewarned what’s in store for them if they don’t take immediate action now. The truth will set you free, and, in this case, it just might save your life and limbs and that of your loved ones. People of the Western world wake up and take that PC gag out of your mouths and speak out and act NOW before it’s too late!
    http://www.clarionproject.o…Excellent explanation of Civilization Jihad Excellent videos & arguments Excellent
    http://creepingsharia.wordp… Excellent video on how they use PC and host nation laws (read First Amendment & Freedom of Religion, etc.) to infiltrate and influence politics, culture, and academia
    Britain bans any criticism of Mohammedanism
    Founding Fathers on Islam Part I:
    Founding Fathers on Islam Part II:… A bit of Bible prophesy on Gog Magog relative
    to Islam, Israel,Turkey, Iran, Libya, and Sudan…..very interesting.… More interesting Gog Magog stuff… Same bit of Bible prophesy on Gog Magog
    relative to Islam, Israel,Turkey, Iran, Libya, and Sudan but with additional
    info on Turkey’s history to present times…..very interesting.