Brexit: Good News for Revisionists?

Published: 2016-08-10

By now everyone knows that the British people voted to exit the European Union, which is the most complex commercial and political entity ever created in modern history.

The results in the polls were close between the opposing sides. Leavers saw the European Union as an unfair deal and considered the EU’s problems an addition to their own problems, a real burden many Brits did not want to take on. Some of this same group of British voters also thought of this deal with the EU as a way of surrendering their sovereignty to Brussels where the European Parliament sits and makes decisions for 28 countries in almost every aspect of their citizens’ lives. In sum this was looked at by many Brits as an agreement that brought no benefits to their country and was taking tax money to solve EU problems as well as some immigration issues that have arisen in the last few years

These British were the 51.9% who voted to exit to EU versus the 48.1 % who valued and wanted this economic and political arrangement to continue, for what we know now is that this 48.1% was composed mostly of young British citizens who looked at the E.U. as the opportunity to, for example, participate in the biggest job market there is, made up of 28 of the largest and most developed economies in the world.

So we know the outcome of the referendum but we do not know what will happen next. Some speculate that there will be another referendum to reverse the exit vote and thus the imminent exit of the British from the EU. So this is not a done deal yet.

But out of all this speculation we can say that revisionists might be benefited by Britain’s exit of the EU. How is that? Well among the possibilities, these are all hypothetical, and I will use an example from 2008 when German-born Australian citizen Fredrick Toben was arrested as he passed through Heathrow by British police acting under an EU arrest warrant issued by the German authorities. 

Here the British had to fulfill their obligation to their German partners because the EU is also a series of  legislative agreements that members have to fulfill, but the Brits are not so happy when it comes to restraining Free Speech, and here, to illustrate this point better, is an excerpt from an article published at  the British  Daily Mail  written by a Jewish author back in 2008  with regard the arrest of Frederick Toben:

As a Jew, I am acutely alive to the vicious potential of denying the Nazis' attempted extermination of the world's Jews. Such lies are used to whip up hatred against the Jewish people by effectively accusing them of fabricating claims of genocide. There is no question that this not only denies the historical evidence of Hitler's 'Final Solution', but also subjects Jews round the world to further hatred and persecution. Holocaust-denial is, indeed, a modern form of Jew-hatred. 

But, through gritted teeth, I have to say that I am totally against the extradition of this man and appalled at the political and legal developments that have brought these moves about. 

There are two fundamental issues at stake here. First is the threat to the principle of freedom of speech. Second is the erosion of Britain's power to uphold its own historic commitment to that principle. 

Freedom of speech is a bedrock of our society. Sure, it's not absolute; but we limit it only in the most rare of circumstances where it poses a direct threat to individuals, such as inciting or encouraging people to violence. 

For similar reasons, we also outlaw incitement to racial hatred. But we draw a distinction, for example, between inciting hatred of people for what they inescapably are, which we rightly treat as a crime, and inciting hatred of their views, which we see as part of the cut and thrust of a liberal democratic society.

This is a sentiment that is shared I would say by the majority of the British people, free speech, free inquiry, a value they are not willing to let go and if they have less political pressure, that is, with their possible exit from the EU, England could be the safe place in Europe to continue free inquiry into the Holocaust openly. This is of course a big hypothetical “If”.


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Author(s): Roberto Hernández
Title: Brexit: Good News for Revisionists?
Published: 2016-08-10
First posted on CODOH: Aug. 10, 2016, 8:45 p.m.
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