The Day of Freedom Was Not a Far Right Rally Reply

By Andrew Doyle

Spiked Online

f you want to know why the left keeps losing, look no further than the fallout from last Sunday’s ‘Day for Freedom’ march in London. The event was publicised as a protest against the ongoing erosion of free speech in the UK, most notably through the increasingly draconian application of hate-speech laws. The man behind the march was Tommy Robinson, former leader of the EDL, who took umbrage at being permanently banned from Twitter for his incendiary remarks about Islam. Before long, a number of prominent right-wing activists offered their support, and even without mainstream media coverage the attendance figures were in the thousands.

How is it that the principle of free speech, the bedrock of any democratic society, has been claimed by the right?  Inevitably, right-wing media outlets such as Breitbart have declared the ‘Day for Freedom’ to be their victory. To an extent, they have a point. In recent years, the left has not only failed to defend freedom of expression, but has been actively hostile to it. Moreover, prominent left-wing voices have continually sought to broaden the scope of terms such as ‘far right’ and ‘alt-right’ to incorporate as many of their ideological opponents as possible. I can think of no strategy less likely to persuade and more likely to engender widespread resentment.

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