The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
9:01am on Tuesday, 18th January, 2005:
Germany has proposed extending its ban on Nazi symbols throughout the European Union. Oh great. The only way to stop Fascists is to act like them?
On the topic of the symbols themselves:
The furore came about because Prince Harry attended a fancy dress party dressed as a member of the Afrika Corps. How would disallowing fancy dress shops from including Afrika Corps uniforms in their stock have affected Prince Harry? Well, he'd have worn some other costume instead. Would this have made him any less unthinking or insensitive than he is? No. Would it have meant we wouldn't be aware how unthinking and insensitive he is? Yes. Banning Nazi regalia means we can't spot people who either self-identify with crazed power-mongers or who don't understand the issues.
Had the invitation of the fancy dress party that Prince Harry attended stated "come as the most horrible thing you can imagine", would that have made a difference? Well yes, because then he would be showing that he is aware of the dangers of this kind of thinking (although he still ought to have known his actions would have been interpreted as inflammatory). Interestingly, a letter in The Independent (from one David Burton) seemed to suggest that this was what he was told; another letter on the same page (from one Gail Coelho) says it was about (staggerlingly) "colonials and natives", though.
On the topic of EU law-making:
Why does a ban have to be EU-wide? Or, more specifically, why does the EU have a say in this? What business is it of the EU which countries have such a law and which don't? If it's a worthwhile law, individual countries can enact it themselves; if it's not, why should the EU make the decision for them? It's not like any country that enacts the law will be at a disadvantage with respect to those countries which don't enact it, so there's no "we all ahve to jump together on this one" about it. How come the EU gets to rule on this?
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