Today the English Defence League came to Exeter. The good people of Exeter, who outnumbered those of the EDL, held a rally themselves, but it had been decided not to confront the EDL directly. At the rally it was stressed that the EDL had the right to protest, and the right to free speech, but I don’t think I agree.

In On Liberty John Stuart Mill writes that:

“That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

So no freedom is absolute, because it is constrained by the necessity to prevent harm to others. In my view, allowing fascists such as the EDL to freely organise will lead to harm to minority members of the community. It was for this reason that I decided to stand before the EDL march, though as I was on my own, I followed police direction to get out of the way once EDL stewards had pushed me back a few times.

Next time it would be far better to overcome my natural reticence and get organised with like-minded people, so that a more determined attempt to prevent the EDL from organising can be made.

There are still ten bananas remaining, but with luck the baking moratorium will be lifted soon.


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