We have been following the ban imposed on conservative radio host Michael Savage by England — barring him from entry into the country. England now appears to have reaffirmed the decision and accuses Savage of promising to retract some of his statements and failing to do so. While I strongly disagree with many of Savage’s statements, I view the ban as part of a disturbing trend limiting free speech in the West and particularly in England.
In the communication below, Treasury Solicitor Michael Atkins tells counsel for Savage that he previously assured the government that Savage would repudiate some of his comments on his website. It also says that Savage promised to appeal the earlier decision and failed to do so.
Savage was informed last July that the Cameron administration would continue the prior ban on his entry into the country unless he repudiated statements made on his broadcasts that were considered a threat to public security. The very notion of ideas being a threat to public safety is the hallmark of censorship and governmental abuse. While then–British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insisted that it is “important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here,” he omitted free speech.
The most recent letter is equally disturbing. It puts the burden on Savage to show that his ideas are not a threat to public security — a ridiculous burden when the only way to do so appears to be the repudiation of his beliefs and ideas. England has moved rapidly against free speech guarantees with comparably little protest. There does not even to be much of a national debate despite the fundamental shift on individual rights. We need to support those civil libertarians in England who are fighting this lonely battle — often on behalf of unpopular individuals like Savage.
Here is the letter: Savage letter