When, on Saturday afternoon, my son mentioned that a National Front protest had been driven out of Parliament grounds I was a bit puzzled. “Do you mean in London?”, I asked.
But it turns out the event in question was here in Wellington. I wasn’t aware we had a National Front in New Zealand. They even have a website (which I am not linking to).
From various media accounts (Newshub, Stuff, Herald, Radio NZ), it seems that the National Front had, some weeks ago, sought and obtained permission to hold a rally in the grounds of Parliament on Saturday. So far, so unsurprising, All sort of groups hold rallies there. Understandably enough, as it is our Parliament. Some of those groups you agree with, some you disagree with, some are pretty odious, and some rallies you might even be tempted to join in (I never have).
But from the other side of the political spectrum – far to the other side – there was a group who didn’t just dislike the National Front, deplore their views, disagree with them about almost everything, but thought it was wrong that such people should even be able to hold a rally and express their views. And so out went a call to stop them. Not just to hold a parallel rally, in the hope (perhaps) of attracting more attendees than the National Front. No, the plan was to
We will stop their mobilisation
12-1pm: Blockade/stop the National Front
And, sure enough, they did. (And they got a lot more people along than the National Front did.) As the Dominion-Post story puts it
“Hundreds of anti-racism protestors chased National Front members from the grounds of Parliament on Saturday.
But this wasn’t just any group of thugs. This was a rally addressed by two MPs from a party that is now part of the New Zealand government: Marama Davidson and Golriz Ghahraman of the Green Party. There is no hint that these MPs stood in front of the rally and urged restraint, reminding the rally participants that we live in a free land, in a democracy, where the freedom to speak one’s mind, to protest – perhaps especially in the grounds of Parliament – is intrinsic to our liberty. Or to point out that freedom of speech – liberty – means something only if it applies to those with whom one disagrees, perhaps very strongly. The views might be odious, but the freedoms (should) matter a lot. But apparently not to these two MPs, both of whose Twitter feeds suggest they were proud to have been involved in this small scale thuggery.
And small scale apparently it was. At least according to the Dom-Post account, only about half a dozen National Front people turned up to their rally. Others were apparently “in the pub down the road”. Hard to imagine six of them would have got any media coverage at all, except perhaps a small, slightly derisive, note somewhere, without the efforts of the Green Party MPs and their fellow protestors.
About six National Front members made their way towards Parliament in pairs, at intervals. However, each time they did not make it to the gate because the rally of protestors moved them towards Wellington’s railway station [not exactly just over the road].
….. A few scuffles started but police intervened, surrounding the National Front members to escort them away.
This is our democracy?
Fortunately it was all on a very small scale, but it was disturbingly reminiscent of scenes in the US (and the UK) which have become increasingly violent. Out of curiosity, I tried to find out whether the Antifa (“anti-fascist action”) group(s) had come to New Zealand. There were a couple of Facebook pages, one of which was pretty vile indeed. I hope it isn’t representative of anyone much.
But it does leave questions for (a) the two Green MPs, (b) James Shaw, minister of the Crown and Green Party leader, and (c) the Prime Minister. Is the freedom to protest – without fear of a bigger group of thugs breaking up the protest – something they believe in? Does it apply even to groups you disagree with strongly, or only to those who support comfortable causes? And does the Prime Minister regard the involvement of members of Parliament, from a party whose votes she relies on to govern, in such disruptive rallies as acceptable conduct? In the grounds of Parliament no less? As a reminder, there is no merit in defending the right to speak or to protest of those ones happens to agree with, or whose views one is simply indifferent to. It only means something if you stand up for, and respect, the rights of those you strongly disagree with, perhaps even deplore.
These are, after all, MPs who should know better. Davidson herself participates in protests in support of overseas terrorist organisation. I count that as pretty despicable, but it is her right (at least in New Zealand). Ghahraman is apparently a “human rights lawyer”. I don’t put much stock by the New Zealand Bill of Rights myself, but it is an act of the New Zealand Parliament of which Ghahraman is now a member. It states, quite simply,
16 Freedom of peaceful assembly
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
Without being disrupted by thugs. Without being escorted off the premises by the Police (for their own protection?) And no matter how odious their views. Our system is supposed to work by airing and debating differences, and then respecting the rights of each others to hold, and express, differing views. The National Front is not a particularly sympathetic organisation, but in the famous words of the German pastor, Martin Niemoller, regretting, after the war, his own failure to take a stand earlier.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Who will Marama Davidson and Golriz Ghahraman, and their supporters, be coming for next?
As it is, Saturday’s affair looks like a win for the National Front and a loss for our democracy, aided – indeed egged on – by members of Parliament. That’s sad on both counts.
ADDENDUM: (Wednesday 1 Nov)
I’m hesitant about adding this material, but I had an unsolicited email out of the blue from someone who describes himself as chair of the National Front. These were the relevant comments.
However I would like to point out something that the media will not report even though they were informed.
The Flag Day attempt at 11:30 was a fake attempt to confuse the anti-White mob
Our actual event went ahead as planned a few hours later, once the mob had been satiated with a fake victory.
And perhaps more interestingly
We received our permit to assemble at Parliament around September 3.
We forwarded our intentions to the NZ Police as we do every year.
We contacted the Green Party before the date of the event to let them know we were receiving violent threats from the group that was going to be fronted by their MP’s.
We asked the Greens to please withdraw from the event.
If those latter comments are a correct description of what went on, they would appear to strengthen the argument that the Green MPs and the Green Party leader owe the public an explanation about their part in this.
If there is any further comment from any of them, I will link to it here.