In the week a UK national newspaper publishes, with very little fuss, a cartoon including the figure of a revered religious figure wearing high heels, an invited parliamentarian from a remarkably liberal country is turned back because he wanted to show a film (which was shown anyway) and meet UK Parliamentarians (whom he had met a couple of weeks ago in London anyway).
Has the world gone mad?
And to top it all, the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman, Chris Huhne (for it is he) supports the ban on the invited parliamentarian.
Hello? Have I slipped down a rabbit hole and arrived in Wonderland? Is that Chris Huhne I see wearing a top hat with price ticket still in it? Is that David Miliband dressed up as Alice?
Oh, and by the way, to add to this lunacy, said film has now been seen by millions because of all the publicity, compared to the 30 people who would have watched it with Mr Wilders in a quiet sanctum of the House of Lords, if he had been allowed in.
What a surprise! How long have we known that if something is banned, sales or viewings or listens to it soar exponentially? Ask Judge Dread. He made a career out of being banned by Radio 1 in the sixties and seventies. Ask Roy "Chubby" Brown also.
The thing which really, really sticks in my craw about this ban, and Huhne’s support of it, is that this Wilders fellow is now surrounded by an interesting mystical glow in the eyes of many who are open to such ideology. They prick up their ears and think "Oh – he’s got something interesting to say, otherwise they wouldn’t have banned him". And they go straight to his tawdry video.
It’s a crying shame that this mystical glow scenario has happened rather than having that idiot’s big balloon burst by the acuity of democratic debate.
Update: Keeping up with my tradition of shooting first and then asking questions afterwards, I have now watched the Wilders film, it's counterpart about the Bible and Chris Huhne's defence of the ban on Today. Where I think Chris Huhne has got this completely and disastrously wrong is when he says, crucially, that he thinks that the Wilders video incites violence. It absolutely does not incite violence. It shows a heck of a lot of people inciting violence themselves, but it does not incite violence against those people or Muslims or anyone else. It is perfectly ridiculous to say that it incites violence against Muslims.